The United States went into lockdown mode as it responded to COVID-19 back around St. Patrick’s Day of last year. It’s been almost a year since the world of learning and development has gone almost exclusively to virtual design and delivery, and there’s really no end in sight.
Are you still able to come up with original virtual training activities to keep people engaged?
Perhaps I’ve been quarantined too long and have run out of “good” shows to watch, but when I recently stumbled across Married At First Sight (Season 9) on Netflix, I couldn’t resist.
As I began to watch it, I noticed something. I found myself rooting for certain people on the show. I wasn’t rooting against anyone on the show, but I definitely found myself rooting for a few of the people more than others. As I reflected on this more, I wondered if there was a lesson for us in the world of instructional design.
If you have been in training for more than a few years, it is likely you are familiar with the Ken Blanchard Companies. The Ken Blanchard Companies have more than 40 years of in-person training experience and are a power-house of instructor-led training. Like many other companies, this group of individuals is looking forward to a more agile approach to training development as our world shifts to new approaches to training.
In episode 31 of the Train Like You Listen podcast, we sit down with Britney Cole, Associate Vice President, Solution Architecture and Innovation Strategy at The Ken Blanchard Companies, to talk about how this company planned a new approach to training development even before the pandemic hit, knowing that things can change drastically from the start of a project to the end of one, or as an evergreen training needs to fit a new modality. Britney takes some time to discuss how she and her team used their puzzle pieces to fit various modalities and how the companies look forward to new processes based on what they have learned in recent months.
Last weekend I had a chance to visit several wineries in Walla Walla, WA. A lot of people wondered why I was going to wineries if I don’t drink. Honestly, if I have an opportunity to sit outside on a gorgeous day, surrounded by beautiful scenery and amazing views while having fun conversations and learning about things I knew nothing about, then count me in.
As we sat in the final winery we were visiting over the weekend, I began to reflect on the experience and realized there might be some lessons to take away that can be applied to virtual training design.
In a post last week, I asked a series of questions to get a better idea of the effort that you’ve needed to apply as you bring training programs to a completely virtual/online environment. If you didn’t have a chance to respond, I invite you to check out the survey questions and add your own responses here.
I promised to share results, and after a week’s worth of data collection, there are some interesting findings, including the fact that one virtual meeting platform is being used FAR MORE than any other, and there is definitely more in-person training that is still happening than I would have hypothesized. Here is the way the survey results have come in to date:
In this COVID era, I bet a lot of you might be looking for an answer to this question. The truth is, we are, too.
So, in an effort to get to the bottom of this, we decided to allocate today’s Train Like A Champion post to a series of multiple choice poll questions to learn more about the burden you’re shouldering when moving from in-person to virtual training programs. If you have five minutes or so, we’d love your thoughts on the following questions.
Virtual training delivery has always been tricky, but since COVID-19 basically eliminated business travel, just about everyone has made a push to convert existing training programs to virtual.
Sometimes converting programs to virtual can be fairly simple, but usually, the best results come from keeping your learning objectives the same, but starting from scratch when it comes to activities. Virtual training programs and in-person programs are simply two different experiences, and retrofitting in-person programs to fit into virtual delivery may have been appropriate when we were desperately looking for quick ways to continue offering professional development, it’s certainly not the best long-term solution.
Here in the United States, our Spring of COVID-19 has turned into the Summer of COVID-19, and soon, we’ll have the Autumn of COVID-19. It doesn’t appear that we’ll be coming together to deliver in-person training or in-person conference sessions any time soon. So how can organizations best help their presenters convert their programs from in-person to virtual delivery?
Retrofitting your existing programs to try to do the same thing, just in a virtual environment is tempting. Keep in mind, however, that virtual delivery offers opportunities for which in-person instruction doesn’t allow… and there are some things you can do in-person that you just can’t do online. Below, you’ll find a lesson plan that we’ve created for a 90-minute session that you can use to help educate your staff, co-workers or clients on ways to think through the conversion from in-person to online instruction.
Nobody knows what the world will look like in a few weeks, months, or years. One thing is for sure, there is a drastic increase in virtual tools to facilitate meetings, and we need to be successful working with them. This time has shown many of us that virtual meetings may well be a way of working for many more of us than we ever anticipated. Now that we have the tools to do it, we somewhat expect our colleagues and coworkers to intuitively know how to create engaging experiences with these tools. Has that been your experience?
Back in 2020, we talked to Lauren Wescott and Tim Waxenfelter about how they are leading a team to release an advanced version of Soapbox to create engaging virtual training in just a few minutes. The Endurance Learning team talks about how we moved from a tool that prioritized the instructor-led experience to a virtual experience, some lessons we learned, and what to expect from Soapbox going forward.
Tune in this week, and every week to learn more about what other professionals are doing to push our industry forward!
Are you tired of being 100% virtual yet? A lot of people are. And that’s ok.
Unfortunately, it also makes our jobs in the world of instructional design and training a bit more difficult. Virtual Meeting Fatigue and Virtual Training Fatigue are real. So what’s an instructional designer to do?