Are Online Conferences Worthwhile?

Last week I attended the Adobe MAX conference. I have wanted to attend this conference for years, but it is fairly expensive as conferences go. I am not a true graphic designer, so I have never been able to justify the cost. This year, Adobe offered this conference, free of charge, to anyone, anywhere in the world! The caveat obviously being that it was delivered 100% online. While I had some reservations about this format, I am elated to say that I got a lot out of this conference. Let’s take a look at what Adobe did right to make this online conference successful.

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Taking on the Unexpected

Many of us are being asked to do things that we don’t normally do. Maybe it is working from home while the dog barks at the mailman or coaching children through school while taking online meetings. If you are in the L&D space, you’ve probably been asked to convert a classroom session to in-person delivery, deliver a session via an online platform, or support others in your organization to deliver sessions online.

If you are like me, the request to help others have come in more frequently. Even RFP’s are asking that we build in coaching on their chosen tool to get the presenters comfortable with a session they’ll have to deliver. It’s a great idea! And it takes time. To help us address this hurdle we’ve started building guides for trainers that speak directly to the challenges of using these tools and maintaining what we know to be best practices for adult learning. The latest guide is the Trainer’s Guide to Microsoft Teams.

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Stop Stressing About Virtual Training Activities

The United States went into lockdown mode as it responded to COVID-19 back around St. Patrick’s Day of this year. It’s been about 6 months 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?

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Are there instructional design lessons to be learned from Married At First Sight?

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.

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How do I show up to Virtual Training?

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.

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Virtual Training Design Lessons from a Weekend of Wine Tasting

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.

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Survey Results: The Burden of Going All Virtual

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:

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What is the burden of going from in-person to virtual?

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.

In return, we’ll share the results in an upcoming post!

Which is generally easier:

Approximately how long does it take you to convert one hour of training from in-person to virtual?

Approximately how long does it take you to develop activities/lesson plan/slides for a 1-hour virtual session from scratch?

Which virtual delivery platform do you use most often?

Are you generally happy with the platform you use most often?

During this COVID-19 era, what percent of your live training is being delivered virtually?

Which virtual feature do you use most often for engagement and interaction?

How do you feel about designing and delivering virtual training?

How do you feel about the effectiveness of live, virtual training?

Are there some questions I haven’t asked through these poll questions that could offer additional insights into the burden you’ve faced going from in-person to virtual? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section.