About this L&D Roundtable: Trailblazing the Virtual Transformation of Learning
Now that the dust is settling, we’ve asked L&D leaders what specific tactics they’ve employed in 2020 to achieve outstanding results through the virtual transformation of learning. The transformation of Instructor-Led Training into a blended learning approach with virtual delivery must benefit the learners, the program outcomes and the business as a whole.
- How one leader shifted 100% of their office-based workforce to remote effectiveness with 93% compliance
- How another mobilized 200 new hires on the first Monday after shut-in and retained 98% of them
- How another increased staff participation by 75% with VILT that focused on empathy around the learning experience for the facilitators and the participants
- And how another enhanced learning effectiveness by better managing the production of VILT trainings, and creating a new role within the organization, taking the tech burden off the trainer during the virtual transformation of learning
Our panelists will also discuss:
- How to build programs, courses, and modalities that make learning more effective
- How to redesign courses for better outcomes, engagement, measurement, and knowledge transfer
- Which questions will help you sift through the information overload
- How to manage existing learning technologies AND the addition of new tools to boost outcomes in a budget-friendly manner
- Ralph Romero, U.S. Xpress, VP Talent Management
- Celeste Bonds, Baylor, Scott & White Health, Manager of Learning and Development
- Mark Haapala, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Director for Organizational and Professional Development within the Office of Human Resources
- Lea Anne Nelson, Cox Communications, Learning Operations Manager
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(See the Q&A preview below)
Questions & Answers
Q: How do you determine how long virtual sessions should be?
A: [Lea Anne] We are working on that now, but can tell you it is not a “one size fits all” formula. Mission-critical things for the business like safety or production, or sales are top of mind and building the best learner experience while achieving KPIs is the focus. Complexity of the material, level of interaction, even the effectiveness of the platform or equipment like webcam, instructor/participant lighting, and microphone all play into the Learner experience. If it’s possible to “chunk” lessons into 2-hour segments that helps … but sometimes this is not possible. Creating opportunities to interact with the learning and each other, and we’re finding giving people the option to turn off their camera as needed gives the learner some control of the experience … just getting a break from “being on” helps Learner fatigue.
Q: What platforms are used to facilitate effective virtual training and how do you effectively have small groups/breakout sessions within those virtual environments?
A 1: [Mark] We’re using Zoom and I think we’re leveraging the breakout sessions pretty effectively. If you already know who’s coming, you can break people out ahead of time base on whatever criteria you choose. However, you can also do it more “in the moment” if it is something that comes up as part of the class. I would say that for the most part, it’s working well, just be mindful of how many people you’re putting in a breakout room. For example, if you’re sticking more than 10 people in there, it’s not going to be very effective and you might as well just have the whole group but you don’t want to put too few people in the breakout rooms either.
A 2: [Ralph] For us, the majority of our ILT, we’ve transitioned them to E-Learning, but if we’re doing some VILT, we’re using Microsoft Teams now. We used to learn with Zoom, our enterprise decided to go with Microsoft Teams, it’s working out really well but we had to do a lot of training on the frontend just to be sure that our staff was comfortable doing it because the transition to working virtually was very big, and Teams weren’t leveraged a lot because of that reason.
Q: One of our challenges is to take classroom instructors and teach them to train others virtually, which is a very different skill set. Most have very little instructional experience to begin with, and may have only been in that position for only 2 to 3 years. Does anyone have similar experience with this challenge, or can offer potential solutions for rapidly training instructors to deliver effective virtual training?
A: [Celeste] We have landed on a model where we have one facilitator that delivers all the content for our orientation and then we have multiple people supporting the session instead of having different facilitators doing different sessions and then the onboarding team trying to manage all the different invites, trying to make sure all the right people show up. We’ve landed on one facilitator to do that, she’s very skilled and experienced in a virtual environment. However, some of our other facilitators were not initially and so as we began to work through those things, we found that a support person was critical in helping manage the chat and a lot of the interactions, the questions that arise. For us, we just shored up the team that was delivering the content.
Q: How do you know the training you delivered had the impact you wanted?
A 1: [Celeste] For us, one of our biggest indicators was that our satisfaction scores remained the same. That really surprised us because we did a lot of benchmarking when we developed our orientation a couple of years about and determined that in-person ILT, the face to face contact was going to be very important. However, we found that technology has evolved so much that people are able to engage and be interactive virtually just as well as in-person. In fact, many are more uninhibited in a virtual environment than in-person.
A 2: [Lea Anne] I agree with what Celeste said. The technology has gotten a lot better and people are more open. For us, we did have great satisfaction scores with both ILT and VILT, but the follow-up data was the biggest indicator for us to see how things are transferring from the classroom to the virtual experience. We’re keeping an eye on that, there have been some great things but also somethings that we need to fix. I would encourage you to see with your learners how everything is going once in a while.