Two years ago, hardly anyone had heard of Zoom. As trainers, we were familiar with Webex, Adobe Connect, and other Webinar delivery platforms. But COVID-19 changed it all. Overnight, Zoom became the killer app. It is fairly easy to use, allows for video breakout rooms, etc. When we couldn’t train face-to-face, virtual training became the answer.
But is it a good answer? The answer to that question is: It depends.
HOW DO LEARNERS LEARN BEST?
Bad classroom training is still bad training—likewise, bad virtual training is still bad training. To me, good training takes into account how the people we are teaching learn best. But often in our design, we do not even think of that. Instead, it is all about content delivery.
I helped to validate a learning instrument called the Personal Learning Insights Profile. I’ve used it with 75,000 people from 25 countries. It has three scales:
1. Are you a specific learner or a general learner? With the people I’ve profiled, this is about 50/50. So whether classroom or virtual delivery, I’m going to develop activities that are very specific, but give people choices. This appeals to both the specific and general learners. So I do not provide one problem to solve, I provide four and ask them to choose one. I develop three case studies and ask them to choose one of them. This puts both types of learners in their comfort zone and opens them up to learning.
2. Are you a practical learner or an informative learner? Again, the profiles show about a 50/50 split. So I make sure that 80 percent of the information we deliver—whether virtual or face-to-face—is practical, but I provide lots of resources for the informative learner to explore on their own.
3. Are you a participative learner or a reflective learner? Here there is a big skew—more than 75 percent profile as preferring to learn with others rather than learning on their own. So the most successful training is one that allows participants to interact with peers. In a classroom setting, I put people into groups of five, but in the virtual mode, I prefer setting groups of three. The virtual setting takes time to get used to, and the cues we get when face-to-face across a table aren’t as obvious in the virtual space.
The more we engage learners, regardless of the delivery mode, the more learning and transfer will take place. E-mail me at Bob@CTTNewsletters.com with the subject line: Training Mag Article and give me some feedback on this article and I’ll send you a list of 62 alternatives to lecture.
Until next time—add value and make a difference.