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There Was Little Selection About Going To Digital Coaching

How VILT helped an online learning company overcome challenges

In the eBook, Continuous Improvement for Virtual Training In Today’s Business Climate, four global L&D thought leaders share how the COVID-19 crisis has affected their training
Strategies in 2020 and what they predict for the future of education in 2021 and beyond. This is the second VILT case study in our series, provided by Jo Cook, Director of Lightbulb Moment.

The COVID-19 crisis has affected all types of businesses in a variety of ways. At the Lightbulb Moment, our job is to develop the skills of teams of people to design and deliver working live online learning. So our work was already virtual and remote. As the volume of work increased and we needed to be able to serve client needs that were different from our longer courses, it was the change in the world our clients lived in that impressed us most.

eBook release

Continuous improvement for virtual training in today’s business climate

Learn how the COVID crisis affected training strategies and what you can do to prepare your L&D approach for the new normal.

Dealing with the COVID crisis

So many companies had to react very quickly to being banned and unable to do their normal personal training. Some organizations had important training courses planned that needed to continue regardless of the changes in the pandemic. Some were high schools or colleges that needed continuous teaching for their students. In the corporate world, workforce development and the needs of people with COVID-19 have not gone away – they may have changed and, in many cases, increased. So many individuals, teams, and organizations had to get online quickly than they’d never considered doing it before. Some only had days or hours to do this and only hours to update their staff. Most of the organizations we’ve helped have gone from almost 100% face-to-face to 100% live online in less time than they ever thought possible!

Challenges … and overcoming them through virtual training

Our “Train the Virtual Trainer” programs can only last a few hours. However, to develop and embed the skills more deeply, we typically run 12 hours of live online sessions over several weeks with various resources in between. In the early stages of COVID-19, Spring and Summer 2020, companies didn’t have the time – let alone this budget – to develop the skills needed for their moderators and trainers. We had to adapt by developing some much shorter one-on-one sessions that focused closely on what would help them most at the time. We emphasized that this is not a complete training experience, but it is enough to get people going.

The clients we supported had different problems – some had to move their currently scheduled face-to-face sessions to a live online platform. others had new training initiatives that had to be carried out differently than they were used to. Since writing sessions for webinars or the virtual classroom relies on understanding our learning craft in a different way, the way they were created had to be different. We offer a free, live online learning tool template that allows users to interact with a variety of platform tools every few minutes. This is very different from the way many people work in person.

Find the right training solution

We found that some customers had concerns about the effectiveness of switching to VILT, but this was mitigated by the need to provide the teaching or training they need. As a company offering trainers training on how to work online, we found that it was much more about changing people’s hearts and minds than thinking that this was a bad alternative and that it was actually a potential one great alternative is long term solution!

The return on investment of the VILT experience versus face-to-face was not the primary concern we heard from our clients, also because there was no other option to go to VILT. In some cases, if this change didn’t happen, companies collapsed so there was no question about it or not. We found that when it came to the results of training their trainers, customers asked two main aspects: Your own customers should be satisfied with the virtual training offer. and so that the coaches are confident in what they are doing. For the most part, this is the beginning of a conversation we have when debating the right training solution for a team of people. So it’s interesting that it was even more focused on that in the first half of 2020.

Reflections on the future

Unfortunately, I am not sure where we will be after the pandemic. As I write this in the UK in December 2020, we have the worst stats yet. Is this the last or just the beginning of more? When is a country and the world “post-pandemic”? For at least part of 2021, we will still be grappling with a pandemic world of restricted travel and contact with others. And if this leads to greater social contact with others, what should happen for business and learning?

What I hope is what some people call a “hybrid” workplace where people come back to the office, but there is more remote work where it is appropriate and right to do so. I hope that the flexibility and trust of organizations and their employees will help make this really work now. that people have seen that they use and can rely on technology to overcome and bring people together; and that they are investing really well in the right technology and the skills required to use it.

The human connection

At Lightbulb Moment, we were already a remote company focused on live online delivery. In a way, that hasn’t changed for us this year. However, the experiences and needs of our customers and their customers have changed significantly. With our training and resources, we want to show more than ever how good virtual classrooms can be for connecting with other people and for achieving learning that goes far beyond mere facts and basic skills. After all, we train people in the very human and challenging skills of connecting with another person and helping them learn. This is not a simple face-to-face skill, let alone overcoming the perceived barriers of technology and distance.

We focus much less on the technology and more on that inter- and intrapersonal connection and how you can still read a room and feed on the energy of a live online group of people. If L&D in companies hasn’t changed because we responded to the pandemic, we’re all better off getting different jobs!

What learners and facilitators think of our approach

In our courses and in the feedback that follows, we hear mostly positive comments about the work to enable learning in live online classrooms. This is a response to the behavior we are modeling. The comments go fast and didn’t even look at their emails to really get into the details in our six-seat class and understand the digital body language to read people who can. ‘t see and so much more.

People tell us that their experience was “very warm and open, making me very comfortable sharing my views,” that “it was an inclusive, friendly and safe environment to learn,” and someone added that they were “inspired to have something” a go. The point here is that we create the right learning conditions online for our participants so that they can see, hear, feel and adapt to what is then right for their participants. They tell us that it takes time to learn and adapt, but also that they make changes after just one session with us.

Conclusions on the VILT case study

Our feedback shows time and time again that people are much safer working in virtual classrooms, which means sessions will get better and everyone’s approach will keep improving over time. In short, it can be done and it can be done well!

Download the Continuous Improvement for Virtual Training in Today’s Business Climate ebook to discover Jo’s best practices to continuously evolve your people development strategy.

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