In today’s COVID-19 environment, learning professionals are being asked to quickly transform Instructor Led Training (ILT) to Virtual-Instructor Led Training (V-ILT). The good news is that most Instructional Designers have the transformation skills needed, and companies have the technologies needed, to support V-ILT. The challenge is the volume of work and the speed at which it must be accomplished.
The CARA Group has identified Five Best Practices to help accelerate the transformation process.
1 – Align with Business Strategy
Start with defining a set of criteria to ensure that the work is aligned with the business strategy to separate the “wants” from the “needs”. Once the true needs are determined, create a prioritized Action Plan. Communicate the results back to the Program Sponsors to manage their expectations. If a program was not prioritized, perhaps the respective Program Sponsor can conduct a simple web-meeting or webinar as an alternative.
2 – Manage Scope
Using the prioritized Action Plan, review the program with the Program Sponsor and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Explain the difference between ILT, V-ILT and a Webinar (a webinar requires no activities). Determine whether this will be a simple transformation with no content or learning objective changes or a complex conversion with some content and/or learning objective changes, which will take more time and effort. Agree on a protocol for managing scope, as there is a strong tendency for SMEs to want to change or update content during the conversion process.
3 – Optimize the Learner Experience: Rich Interactive Training Anytime, Anywhere
Before jumping into the actual transformation work, it is important to educate the Program Sponsor and the SMEs on the power of V-ILT technologies and how they can be used to create effective learning experiences.
V-ILT, designed correctly, offers many of the same learner experiences as traditional ILT. Instructors can present mini-lectures, facilitate activities and discussions. Participants can work individually and in small groups, raise their hand to ask questions and use resource material.
Video projection of both the Instructor and Participants help keep the Participants engaged and accountable, creating “virtual eye contact,” allowing everyone to read facial expressions and body language. Video also brings a personal element to the program, as the members share and view each other’s virtual work environment.
Content and activity designs can leverage screen-sharing, whiteboards, polling, chat, small group breakouts, games and quizzes. Many V-ILT systems also allow the Instructor to gauge individual and overall group attentiveness at any point with a visual attention indicator.
Instructional Designers work with the SME’s create a design to ensure that the learners remain engaged during class and help them retain the knowledge and skills afterward.
4 – Deploying V-ILT: Practical Matters
Deploying V-ILT requires different types of logistical planning than traditional ILT. Instructor and Participant job-aids are very helpful in guiding them in the use of these unique tools.
Instructors need to be comfortable and proficient delivering the V-ILT version of the program. Train-the-Trainer programs should include the business reason for converting from ILT to V-ILT, an overview of the new program, a system test, how to use the system features, how to trouble-shoot and an opportunity to practice. On the day of the program, the Instructor should login to the system 15-30 minutes prior to ensure that everything is ready to go. Someone from the learning team should be assigned to support the Instructor during the V-ILT with classroom management, at least for the first few sessions. Participant login issues, late arrivals and technical issues can really distract and rattle a new V-ILT Instructor.
Participants should be required to do a system test a few days prior to the program. Engage the IT department to support this activity so that they will be ready to quickly answer participant questions. In addition, Participants should find a quiet, dedicated space and login 15 minutes prior to the start of the V-ILT to ensure they are ready for class.
When scheduling multi-hour programs, plan 30-60 minute breaks for both the Instructors and Participants to allow them to attend to both business and personal matters. Note that Instructors often have follow-up participant questions after the end of the formal session and then need to get ready for the next program.
5 – Include a Change Management Strategy and Plan
Managing leaders’, Instructors’ and learners’ expectations is essential for successful transformation to V-ILT. Resistance may show up in limited registrations, no-shows and other non-productive behaviors. A well-executed Change Management strategy can proactively avoid these types of issues. A key element is a robust communication plan for everyone involved, describing the business case for change, the new V-ILT programs, who is impacted, expectations, timelines and contact information. In addition, the strategy should include a plan to measure and report adoption on a routine basis.
Please connect with us if you could use help with transforming ILT to V-ILT or simply want to talk about your current situation as you ponder next steps. We’re here to help!
To help you implement or expand your remote working programs, The CARA Group has created this quick microlearning to help your virtual teams become exceptionally productive! These best practices come from our years of experience helping global companies transform their workforce. We hope you like it and share it with others who find it useful.
Author: Margie Meacham
Follow Margie on Twitter: @margiemeacham
Predicting the future can be difficult. But one of two things is very likely:
- your current job will look very different, or
- your current job will not exist
The Korn-Ferry ‘Future of Work’ report suggests by 2030 there will be a talent deficit of 85.2 million workers. But here’s the challenge: According to another report authored by the Institute For The Future (IFTF) and a panel of 20 tech, business and academic experts from around the world, 85 per cent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet.
There’s a term for the workforce talent challenge ahead of us – VUCA:
How do you prepare for a future that is VUCA? The human species has faced many disruptive periods before and, so far, we’ve managed to adapt, thanks to the neuroplasticity of our brains. So, a good place to begin is with the human brain and how it learns.
Looking at the future
While still in its infancy today, by 2030 we can expect the science of learning, founded on cognitive neuroscience and many other disciplines, to be more advanced and more targeted, giving us a new set of tools to inspire and inform the workforce of the future. Scientists are already working on new ways to maximize the power of the brain to change behavior, learn new skills, form new connections and envision new ideas. Some of the new tools you may be using in 2030 include:
- Implants that form a direct brain-to-computer interface, allowing near real-time access to digital information just by thinking about it
- Ingestible “knowledge pills” that alter brain chemistry to accelerate processing or deliver specific information, such as process steps or languages
- Optogenetic devices that can turn neurons on or off by shining different frequencies of light onto the brain
- Widespread practice of meditation and mindfulness that helps people handle stress, make decisions, and work together in harmony much better than today
- “Coworkers” who are artificial intelligences (AIs) working side-by-side with humans
Learning to perform, again and again and again
Challenges for the future will include faster technology transformation, working with more people from diverse cultures and regular revolutions in ways of working. This means we’re going to have to learn more, faster and to repeat the process more often.
Fortunately, your brain is plastic and is a learning machine, but not everyone knows how to access that ability. Many learning activities are still firmly rooted in the days of medieval monks; forcing people to sit quietly in classrooms, or stare at screens until they eyes glaze over. This passive approach is simply not the most effective. It wastes valuable time and energy – commodities we simply don’t have if we’re going to survive our next period of disruption.
To make learning more aligned with how the brain works, there’s an increased focus on self-directed learning, like the way all of us use social media to find information we need outside of work. But how do you find “the good stuff?” And when you’ve got it what do you do with it? Building a personal playlist of funny cat videos doesn’t seem to translate well to the modern work environment.
Or does it?
The answer to this question is, “It depends.” Learning for the long-term requires a few key behaviors, such as:
- Activity that involves the body as well as the mind
- Mental effort to understand and apply the information
- Repetition spaced out over a period of time (days, weeks, months)
- Recall information in context
- Reflection that links information to personal experience
- Adequate sleep to allow the brain to rest
As Learning and Development leaders, we need to be aware of all the tools available through science, breaking out of our own patterns and moving into new practices that may make us uncomfortable.
If you want to help your learners prepare for the uncertain future ahead, you must first teach them the fundamentals of learning itself.
That is the one skill that will never go out of style.
Are you harnessing the real power of video in the right way?
Listen to Jackie Zahn, learning consultant for CARA, discuss how making your videos interactive will make your learning and customer engagement soar.
If you were handed the option for more control over a situation, would you take it? Most people would. And that’s the power of interactive videos.
So what is interactive video? It’s about leaning forward and participating versus leaning back and watching. It’s about pausing a video and introducing learner interactions, or requiring learners to make decisions and witness the results of their decisions. Interactive video is about creating personalized learning experiences that keep learners engaged and connected to the content, all the way to the end, because with each choice they make, they are becoming more and more invested.
The forms interactive video can take are limitless. From clickable menus, periodic check-ins, hotspots, and choices and consequences, you’re capturing the learner’s attention, and getting them to care about the decisions they’re making! A common theme is that interactive video helps to create that “buy-in” user experience, where participation is a must or else the video won’t proceed.
Did you know, the marketing world is already using interactive video to tailor content for different audiences and they’re seeing higher engagement, longer dwell times and better returns on investment? It’s true. And, compared to non-interactive video that can suffer high viewing drop-off rates in the first few minutes, marketers are seeing completion rates of 90 percent and above. And they’re seeing multiple views per unique visitor and repeat views for the same video. Why? Because viewers often like to explore all the branches in an interactive video, just to see the results if they made a different choice. Imagine having learners engage with your content at that level! In the training world, a well-structured course can encourage learners to continue their learning experience (through downloads, follow-up activities, and targeted recommendations.)
Still not convinced? Let’s talk data. Imagine having insight into how learners respond to different types of interactions? A well-designed course can ensure every choice is tracked and logged back to an LMS and Training Managers can use this data to identify the areas which need improvement and where learners may be struggling to apply concepts.
In conclusion, passive is out, experiential and participatory are in. By adding choices and interactivity to your videos, you invite your learners to lean forward and participate. The act of participation deepens engagement, enhances learning, and accelerates behavior change. It also generates data. With every click of a button, you gain useful insights about your learners.
Lasting learning happens when people are engaged in experiences which shift mental and behavior models. Interactive video represents an exciting, evolving new format that can connect directly with learners on an emotional level, and engage them in their own growth and development.
If you were handed the option for more control over a situation, would you take it? Most training managers would.
A well-crafted and rigorously executed organizational learning strategy can ensure that your learning and development organization supports the business in achieving the strategic goals set forth by senior leaders. Without a clear strategy, learning and development organizations tend to lose focus and effectiveness.
The top 10 elements of an organizational learning strategy provide a framework for creating and executing a strategy within an organization, a function or a department.
1 – Alignment to Business Strategy
How will the learning strategy support achieving the goals of the business? For example, how will it help grow sales by 10% in x market or reduce time to market for a product or service?
2 – Well-Defined Scope
What parts of the business does the learning strategy cover? How will out-of-scope requests be addressed? For example, if the North American Sales organization is included, but Asia is not, define how Asia will be covered.
3 – Governance Model
What process will be used to set priorities? For example, a governance team that represents major stakeholders will own the overall strategy, set decision criteria and meet on a set schedule to evaluate activities.
4 – KPIs
How will results be measured, reported and monitored? For example, speed to competency or the number of “ready now” managers. Make sure to have executive buy-in on your learning metrics!
5 – Funding Model
How will program development and delivery costs be funded? For example, program development and management are funded centrally, and program delivery is funded by the business through an internal tuition program.
6 – Alignment with other Talent Management Work Streams
What other talent work streams are in place or being planned? For example, how is learning connected with onboarding, performance management and succession planning?
7 – Learning Organization Capabilities
What are the roles required to support the learning strategy? For example, if the current staff has significant subject matter and teaching expertise, but very limited instructional design experience, you may need to change the makeup of the team to execute the strategy.
8 – Learning Systems
What learning system capabilities are needed to support the learning strategy? How will employees access learning, register for events, and track their progress? What reporting will you need? For example, can the current system provide reports that support your KPIs? Can it deliver micro-learning?
9 – Innovation, Methods and Tools
What innovative methods and tools will be used to create deliverables and manage processes? For example, defining when Artificial Intelligence is appropriate, standardizing on agile or design thinking methods, or even selecting a common development software such as Articulate.
10 – Marketing and Branding
How will the business know about programs? What branding standards will be applied? For example, will learning have its own brand that aligns with the business standards? What other methods (such as town hall and department meetings) can be used to “advertise” learning?
Finally, how will you align with business leadership on your strategy? Getting early buy in is so important for the learning leader. Even better is to be a part of the business strategy development so that you closely align your Learning Strategy from the start!