As the spread of COVID-19 slows, more governments are easing restrictions, which means that you may be back in the corporate training room interacting face-to-face (F2F) with learners.
However, just because physical spaces open up again doesn’t mean F2F instructor-led training will return to normal. COVID-19 remains a threat, so you will need to modify your classroom in order to make sure your learners are safe and comfortable.
Here’s what you should consider in a new light as you return to classroom training:
COVID-19 will probably have the greatest impact on your logistics. Even though business is returning to normal, you still have an obligation to provide a safe work environment for employees. That means building safety measures into your training class.
Room Set Up
You’ll want to evaluate your room set up so that learners can keep six feet away from each other wherever possible. Consider assigning seats, removing chairs, or setting up physical barriers that will create safe bubbles for each learner.
Similarly, you’ll want to encourage participants to follow best practices for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Work with your office manager to provide masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, or other essential items that will help everyone keep from spreading germs.
Keep in mind that participants may need more time during breaks. For example, restrooms may be limited as part of a safety measure, or there may be a reduced number of people allowed in the kitchen at any time. Consider building in more time for breaks to make sure participants can take advantage of the time you give them.
Accommodate Remote Learners
It’s likely that you’ll have a small minority of learners who still choose to stay home. Be sure to have a plan for how to set up the video call, how to make sure they can hear you, and how to include them in the activities. (For more on that, watch our free webinar: Bridging the Gap Between Virtual and Classroom Training)
Once you’ve reconsidered your logistics, there are likely a number of changes that you’ll want to tell your participants about. Make sure you take the time to orient learners with the room, with social distancing policies, and with your expectations of how they should keep themselves and each other safe.
One tried-and-true method of engaging learners is to set them up with group activities. In the new F2F learning environment, keep in mind that your participants shouldn’t be getting too close to each other. Retool your group work so they can still engage with each other – without putting anybody at risk.
The Impact of Face Masks
One small factor to prepare for: it will be harder than ever to know what your learners are thinking! When everyone is wearing face masks, you can’t rely on your own facial expressions or those of your participants to communicate. It’s worth taking a look at your learning plan to make sure that won’t impact any of your activities.
While COVID-19 has been pervasive, everyone has had a different experience with it. Some of your participants may have lost friends or family to the disease. Others may have been impacted economically. A few may have been spared anything other than daily news stories about it.
Keep in mind that each participant will bring their own attitudes about the pandemic into the classroom. As facilitator, you’ll want to monitor your own tone as well as that of all participants to make sure no one is marginalized. On top of that, make sure you are able to accommodate high-risk participants who may need increased social distancing measures.
After months of social distancing, face-to-face training will feel like a party. There’s no reason it shouldn’t, but take the time to re-evaluate your plans to make sure you create an environment that is safe and comfortable.