This past week, Linda Berke of Taylor Performance Solutions joined us for a 1-hour webinar on Converting Classroom Leadership Training to Instructor-Led Virtual Training.
Linda shared her tried and true tips for tackling the daunting task of converting your classroom training into virtual sessions, including:
- Why it is important to differentiate between meetings, webinars, and training
- How to do a needs analysis for virtual leadership training
- The 6 steps Taylor Performance Solutions recommends for converting leadership training
- A case study of how they converted leadership training for a client
Since we were limited to an hour, Linda wasn’t able to answer all the questions we received live during the session. So for everyone who was on the call (and everyone who wasn’t), here are Linda’s answers:
Do you have any estimates on how long it takes to convert classroom training to online training (ie maybe an hour of classroom training will take 2 hours to convert the materials/brainstorm/get things prepared for the associated virtual training)?
Varies by topic, program and how the original classroom program was designed. Sometimes, our content slides have been very easy to convert, and we just need to figure our how to revise the activities to achieve the same success virtually. Other times our flow also needs to change because of the needs of the virtual learners. For us we estimate between 1 and 3 hours of time for each hour of classroom training we need to convert.
It appears that most content is related to live learning experiences, yet you reference modules. Can you please clarify?
We often need to break down our classroom learning experience into 2 or 4 hour sessions to meet the scheduling needs of our clients. We use the term module to refer to different sections of continuous training that are part of one program.
How do you balance wanting to have an interactive virtual training but at the same time being required to record it for future use?
This is always an interesting challenge. We have not had our leadership, sales or customer service training recorded for future use because of the nature of the conversations and practice sessions. People definitely get quiet when they know it is being recorded. If our client wants to make the content available after the session, we can turn our content slides into a video.
This webinar is primarily aimed at management training. I’m in charge of customer and rep training. Just listening so far I can easily use this concepts in the environment I deal with. Experiences with other target population?
We have converted leadership, negotiation skills, presentation skills, customer service and sales training into virtual learning experiences for a variety of target audiences. Yes, the concepts are the same. I would still recommend the six step process.
How do you manage some learners in the classroom and other learners joining you virtually? We only have a couple offsite managers. Could this apply to presenting to them at the same time as on-site group training? How can you best conduct an environment where the bulk of attendees are live in the classroom and a few are remote?
We actually recommend two sessions – one in the classroom and one virtual. If the client’s budget or time frame does not allow, we add a facilitator who is responsible for communicating directly with the virtual learners. Additionally, if there are hands-on physical activities, we would still revise it for the virtual learners to make sure they benefit as well. Or, if you have video conferencing ability then this will work. What becomes important is to make sure your off-site managers have all materials that you will be handing out in advance.
On the virtual conversions – how did you effectively achieve interaction between the attendees when they weren’t in the same office?
We build in activities where they need to talk with each other or with the facilitator. Since we limit our classes to 10 people usually, this is pretty easy to do.
How do you pull someone into a conversation if they aren’t comfortable talking?
We use similar techniques as in the classroom. Make it a comfortable environment. Set ground rules in the beginning. We design the program so participants become more comfortable engaging as the session progresses.
How do you administer an exam with virtual classroom?
Online exams can be administered during the training by sending links to the participants and having them stay in the session until they complete the exam and you see they completed it. Or it can be sent out as an online exam after the training.
We have problems with customers walking in while our associates are watching virtual training. The customer must come first so many times, the associate misses half the class. Not sure how to get around this.
If this is not an instructor led program, then I would recommend that the program is designed to support a lot of “stop and go”. On the other hand, if this is an instructor led virtual learning session, then the associates need to be in a private area. Also, if you have the ability to schedule in short bursts, I would recommend that too, so you have coverage.
When i’ve assigned prework, it hasn’t been very successful… people wind up being too busy to do it (or need more hand holding around it) How do you assign effective prework that everyone will do? How do you express the importance of prework for a virtual class when your company pushes back because “people don’t do it”
Keep it short and simple and give them the benefits/value of completing it. Make it fun…make it a pre-requisite.
Can you elaborate on visualization regarding the learning session? Are you meaning more animation? Graphs?
We mean visualizing how it will work…talk it through with your team…look at what can go right and what can go wrong…imagine being the learners and what they will see.
How do you design a virtual global program for different cultures? We have found that different cultures respond differently to a virtual session. How do you effectively handle language barriers/challenges?
We actually have one we are starting next week with people from countries we have not worked with yet. The Connect part of the Six Step process will be critical. We will meet with them virtually first to see how they respond, how they communicate and how much they share and then design the program accordingly.
What are examples of interactive activity and or games commonly used to engage the learners?
Similar to what you would use in the classroom, almost all activities and games can be converted to a virtual environment.
Is there a virtual class software (Adobe Connect, Saba, GoToTraining and the likes) that you recommend for VILT on Leadership Development? Or are they all equally suited?
They all work really well and it depends on your budget, needs and internal technical requirements.
What VILT tool do you use or recommend that supports breakout rooms, chat, whiteboard, drawing, etc?
I usually recommend checking out all the tools and finding one that fits with your budget and learning needs. They all work very similar. We have had to switch our tools because of large roll outs for global companies because of the tool they use. For example, if we use Ring Central, clients who already have WebEx installed on their systems have not been able to get on to our system easily. So, we have had to switch back to WebEx. There have been times when we had more than one tool and use according to client needs. If you are an internal trainer, I would recommend checking with your IT department to see which one is best supported.
Technical issues seem to be one of our biggest problems. Especially connection issues (people not being able to see the screen, their connection is in and out, etc.) What suggestions do you have for this?
When you meet with the learners in advance to assess needs and identify their goals, use the tool you will use during the training. Identify who will be your “Help Desk” during the training. Have a second facilitator who is responsible for helping people through the technical issues. When sending out pre-training notifications, try to provide answers to potential technical issues. Even if they do not read it in advance, if they have technical issues, you can direct them where to go. Make decisions ahead of time if for some reason your system goes down. Can you still run the program via phone or will you need to reschedule? Also, most tools have apps for smart phones/tablets and we have had participants join this way and use their cell data when their regular internet connection is not working. Obviously, this is their choice and depends on if the client has unlimited data.
Do you systematically do dry runs, what if there is no interactivity from the participants?
We always do dry runs. We nicely force interactivity when we are designing the program. There will always people who do not participate no matter how well you design the program. Plan for this and figure out another way to ensure they are learning.
If people are remote how would they work together in breakout rooms?
That is the cool thing about the tools. It doesn’t matter where they are – you can assign people to the breakouts and they can converse with each other.
Do you think Virtual Training is as effective for technical or systems training in comparison to leadership training?
If you can get everyone comfortable with sharing their screens during the training, then if designed well, virtual can be as effective as classroom. I would recommend small groups as well, maybe a max of 4.
What applications are compatible with universities already using virtual platforms?
I would check with your IT department.
What is the best way to market Virtual Instructor-Led Training to get attendees signed up?
We use similar methods as for getting attendees to sign up for classroom training. Focus on how it will help them do their jobs better and the value they will get by attending.
What is typical cost for VILT?
The cost varies and is based on a lot of factors such as length of program, classroom content being converted or not, number of sessions needed.
How do you confirm if the learners are engaged with your training or are busy with something else during the training?
Some tools let you see when learners have minimized the window. If yours doesn’t, build in frequent check points.
What is a “workbook”?
We use this term to refer to what the participants receive during the training to complete activities. It is also a reference guide and job aid for after the training. See how Mimeo helps distribute workbooks in this video.