Experimenting In The Virtual World

07/28/2020 2:05 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

“What do you do to ensure your participants and your stakeholders that virtual training doesn't have to be "less than" classroom training?”  

We were addressing a challenge many organizations are facing today: creating meaningful, impactful, engaging training in an environment notorious for being anything but.  The field is filled with “talking head” webinars.  Six months into the substitution of virtual meetings for all other meetings, employees are fighting “Zoom fatigue.”  The consensus among all our Virtual Happy Hour participants is that organizations have accepted the need for virtual training in order for them to continue, and we’re all working with methods for ensuring that training sticks.

One method stuck out to me.

“We’re experimenting with multiple speakers,” shared Tom Partridge.  Taking inspiration from podcasts, he spoke about how people regularly listen to hour-long conversations between two or three people about a wide variety of topics, frequently binging episodes like one might binge a Netflix series.

“So, I won’t say we’re scripting this out, but we’re trying to pre-plan points.  We’re trying to make it into a conversation that evolves.”  This way, it would come across as though the facilitators are discovering ideas while they’re talking about them.

Leading a conversation was key. “Our larger trainings are more conversation than content,” added Nancy Ingram.   Subject matter experts would provide some information, but the remainder of the learning came from the experiences the participants shared.  

An ambitious project, to be sure.  

“It’s always in the planning,” Vern Vihlene advised.  He went on to share his experience with Dreamworks.  “They map out their movies on the walls throughout the building, and they plan the movie’s highs, and the lows.”    We need to do that for training as well, he concluded.

An opportunity for talent developers to explore ways to enhance the virtual training experience, ATD-OC’s Virtual Happy Hour can be either an informal sharing of the many thoughts and ideas of our participants, or a sandbox in which our facilitators try new interactions in the meeting platform, and discuss how these activities can be applied in the “real world.”  

What about you?  In what ways are you experimenting with the virtual training platform?

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