Lockdowns over the past 18 months transformed working lives for most; lines between workplaces and homes blurred and Zoom became a verb. As we start to unlock, employers are developing hybrid work models to keep their workforces well, supported and motivated. We all have remote/hybrid meetings down pat, but where do we go with training?
Having discussed this with HR and L&D professionals, it’s clear that for additional environmental, budgetary and common-sense reasons, the consensus is hybrid too. Hybrid training uses virtual training (and self-study) where possible, and face-to-face training selectively, for instance graduate induction or leadership training would include at least some face-to-face training, but increasingly now needs to be successfully blended with virtual components.
We still have a way to go to build on our initial forays into virtual training. We now know we can do it (because we had to!), but how do we do it well? How do we move from surviving to thriving? Creating the right experience is one of many challenges, others that spring to mind are:
Having run LiveTime Learning as a remote workplace for our team for the past 11 years and specialising in virtual classroom training for the same period, I’ve developed some ideas about how these questions can be answered successfully.
To avoid ‘the lecture’, two key things are key
First, assume less involvement, but make it count. Concentrate interactions on specific problems to solve, based on the content, not simplistic involvement like ‘asking for comments’ in the chat.
Second, ensure the specialists delivering the content know that it lives or dies with them, so they have to make time to rehearse well and hone their delivery.
For varied or sophisticated content, break it up.
This is not just about mixing self-study with learning – though the modular approach blended with self-study is always a winner. It is much more about getting people into teams (usually in breakouts) to work on sophisticated challenges that test their wits, build close relationships and facilitate learning from each other.
And for major global rollouts of complex content?
Perfection is the enemy of success here! Complex, technical content usually needs updating, (including the translations) so the training has to accommodate this. Aim for the optimum balance of interaction and future-proofing. Design it to run on different platforms and in a way that updates can be integrated efficiently and easily. Choose more generic sections for exercises where possible and invest in a really sound train the trainer programme.