Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Making the Shift to Digital Coaching

As difficult as disruptions are, times of disruption can also trigger innovations. These periods force us to change what we have always done. According to author Charles Duhigg in his book Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, innovation can arise from disruption and tension “if we are ready to embrace this desperation and upheaval and try to recognize our old ideas in a new way. “

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may feel disturbed and plunged into a world of virtually all virtual things. If you’re new to virtual classrooms, you likely have a lot of questions. To make this transition easier, there are a few principles to keep in mind when making the move to virtual training.

Principle # 1: Look for ways to improve the design

The saying “a fish doesn’t know it’s in the water until it’s stranded” reminds us that a person’s lens changes dramatically when their perspective changes. Let’s apply this to virtual training. When we move content from in-person training to virtual delivery, we may find weaknesses in the original learning design. This modality shift offers a new lens that shows opportunities for improvement. For example, in a new wrapper, you may find that your personal training has used a didactic teaching method too often. In the virtual environment, you can instead experiment with more inductive methods, such as B. Present learner challenges to be solved in your live online classroom. More inductive methods can also reduce learners’ multitasking or task switching by actively involving them in the learning process. Look for ways to improve your teaching design as you move content into the virtual classroom.

Principle # 2: Realize that it is not an apple-to-apple exchange

It is a common mistake to believe that an exact replica of a six-hour personal training session can be converted into a six-hour virtual training session. While this may be tempting, it is not a best practice for a number of reasons. Personal training is not an equivalent exchange with a virtual classroom, as the media are completely different. Do you remember when a radio announcer first appeared on television? Initially, radio stations read scripts and spoke into a microphone as usual, but with a camera in front of them. As they began to experiment more with television, they saw its far greater potential. Virtual lessons are different from face-to-face training in that they require even more interaction with participants, remove technical barriers, confirm participants’ comments, frequent visual movements, more visual elements (the opposite of static slides), extra pauses and shorter periods of time online because everyone is looking at screens, participant prompts, frequent teacher feedback, and more.

Principle No. 3: Make use of the creative and relevant use of platform tools

One way to involve virtual learners is to take advantage of the many tools that platforms share. However, be careful not to use them in order to use them. Instead, the exercises should be content-wise, thought-provoking, relevant to the topic and creatively achieve the learning objectives. Some common tools are the chat queue, Q / A pod, collaborative whiteboard, polling, randomizer tool, breakout rooms for smaller group work and discussions, and raising virtual hands so attendees can unmute and join live Can participate in discussions. Chat is the most popular and is available on all modern platforms such as Adobe Connect, WebEx, Zoom, GoToTraining, and Blackboard Collaborate. Breakout rooms have definitely improved over the years too, and in Zoom, for example, breakout attendees can stay in front of the camera. Turning on the teacher’s webcam is also useful for welcoming learners, explaining exercises, leading discussions, and other strategic activities so that learners can read the teacher’s non-verbal cues and facial expressions. Using annotation tools such as highlighting, circling, and pointing the arrow, learners also know where to focus attention on projected teaching materials.

Principle 4: Use a blended learning approach

A blended learning approach often works best with virtual teaching. This means that the lessons not only offer live online lessons through a virtual platform, but are also combined with pre- and post-work learning activities. For example, before and / or after the virtual session, learners may need to complete an eLearning tutorial, listen to a podcast, complete an assignment, review an infographic, read an article, answer reflection questions, complete pages from a workbook, and view a related LinkedIn learning course or read a blog. This frees up class time for higher levels of learning such as analysis, discussion, application, sample review, and assessment. This approach prepares the learner in advance and includes spatial repetitions throughout. This is the “flipped” virtual classroom model.

Principle No. 5: Pair of instructors with technical manufacturers

To reduce the stress of managing the logistical and technical parts of the virtual platform, it is recommended that an instructor and a technical manufacturer be associated throughout the training. The producer’s role is to book the session and manage the technical aspects of the platform. By adding this supportive role, the trainer can focus on the content and do what they do best – teach. For example, tech producers can manage technical issues, greet attendees, set up netiquette (things to watch out for online), offer a short platform tour, introduce the moderator, moderate the chat, ask on-site questions, close the session, and so on .

In the early 2000s, I taught a handful of attendees at a conference in Orlando, Florida about the promise of virtual teaching in the field of learning. I had carefully coordinated with a colleague in Wisconsin to join the virtual platform in the Orlando time zone and demonstrate his skills to a live audience. My colleague was successfully connected to Placeware as a platform via audio and her limited webcam. We had no way of knowing that nearly two decades later, multiple virtual training platforms would exist for a world desperate to stay connected.

In this time of uncertainty, one thing is certain. Virtual training will continue to evolve and is here to stay. Even in the post-pandemic and post-COVID vaccination era, we know we can teach effectively across time, space and distance. By incorporating some of these principles and experimenting with them, you can continue to innovate and find out what works best for your virtual learners. After all, it’s times like these when being virtual isn’t just an option, it’s a necessity.

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