Recently I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in upskilling experienced trainers on how to facilitate virtual classrooms. As part of the project I was also tasked with the job of updating the faciitator and learner guides. What became aparent very early in the piece is that the methods a trainer uses to engage learners in a face to face classroom are not all that different in the online environment. In fact, in some cases, it’s even better virtually, particularly when it comes to system training.
Let me give you an example (I’m thinking a few of you may be quite skeptical right now). I’ve flipped the class around and had the participants read the content and practice the use of a system in advance of coming to class. When we get to class (virtual that is), I run a quick quiz to test knowledge and a poll to see how well the learners went in their pre-class activity. I then start a discussion around a particular part of the system to engage the learners and delve deeper into the content in context of the workplace. As an activity I may then ask one of the participants to role play the customer and ask for a volunteer to share their screen with the group and type into the system. The group can call out, chat or raise their hand if the participant needs help to navigate to a certain part of the screen. We can then go into breakout rooms and each participant can practice using similar role plays.
See how this type of training has minimised the amount of “lecturing” that goes on in a traditional classroom and engages all learners into the process by learning through action and reflection. Yes, this could be facilitated just the same in a classroom but the participants would have to go into the office and a room with computers and a classroom workspace would need to be arranged. It would also be more difficult to view and share each others screen than what it is in a virtual classroom.
Based on the amount of experience we’ve had in the virtual space I’ve created a simple document that provides you with the virtual equivalent of classroom based activities – for example, In a classroom I would do this….. The equivalent in a virtual classroom is this….. I use GoToTraining so the screenshots and instructions are in relation to that system.