If you were to judge virtual instructor-led training by its benefits alone, you might think that this learning modality plays a perfect learning game. In baseball, we’d say that’s a game where a pitcher allows no hits, and no walks.
Just take a look at the list of benefits offered by virtual instructor-led training (vILT):
- An instructor who’s a real, live person
- Learner interaction in synchronous time
- Similar structure to a classroom (whiteboard, asking questions, discussions)
- Often shorter sessions than ILT
- Live instruction for people dispersed across geographies
In effect, vILT offers many of the benefits of in-person training, and overcomes some of the limitations of that more traditional modality. Added to this, vILT provides so many possible ways for participants to interact, it’s easy to see why many consider this the perfect learning modality. From live conversation to chat, polling, digital slides, streaming media, file sharing and breakout rooms, vILT is highly interactive.
Despite these tremendous benefits, vILT has its limitations too. For example:
- vILT can make it difficult for facilitators to read group dynamics
- Some participants feel unmotivated to speak up
- Attention span for learners tends to be shorter than for ILT
- Learners rarely feel the true benefits of group learning, or any sense of cohesiveness
- Technology can become a barrier to learning.
So, armed with this balanced view, the next question you may be asking yourself is: Should I try vILT for my next learning initiative?
The answer may be an easier pitch than you think.
vILT has so many benefits, that you shouldn’t allow its limitations to deter you from making use of it. Here are some of the key factors and best practices for success when using vILT:
- Plan for
- Arrange a pre-session conversation among learners and their managers, so learners can hit the ground running
- Organize post-session conversations
- Keep it engaging:
- Encourage virtual learners to interact at least every three minutes
- Use compelling visuals
- Limit group size
- Devote appropriate
time and resources:
- Pay attention to scheduling, technology set-up and communications
- Minimize technology issues
- Allow 2-7 days between component vILT sessions in a series
Keep the big picture in view when thinking about and implementing vILT: play up what’s great, plan well for potential challenges, and let vILT pitch a perfect learning game for your team!
Sharon Daniels is CEO of AchieveGlobal in Tampa, Florida