Imagine you are attending a classroom training (not that distant away though the pandemic is in place for a year), the learning experience would be affected by a series of elements below:
Positioning and body gesture: ever get instantly alerted when the trainer walks closer to you? Trainer standing next to the participants to stop destructive behaviour subtly? Moreover, they are well-trained to entertaining the audience by different body movement. In the virtual training, these elements are missing.
Facilitation tools: for participants better understanding a sophisticated concept, metaphor or story will be articulated; visually facilitation tools would be adopted, such as Lego, boardgame, specially designed cards and etc. Now, some of the mentioned tools are available digitally. However, the experience sometimes works contradictory to normal human behaviour in a virtual training, such as staring at the tiny little screen for sense-making a macro view of a landscape/ system.
Senses of experiences: when you come into the classroom, everything leaves hooks (Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath) into your mind, for retrieval in the later stage, including how you are firstly greeted in the reception area; how spacious the room is; the floral smell and coffee cane sugar flavour flourishing in the room; the classmates who casually shares the laughters and tears in driving digital transformation, the neatly stapled with simplistic design of the handout and cue cards, etc. In the virtual training, how can you prepare all the stuff just within the 11 inches iPad screen.
How can we compensate the loss of those crucial elements for the seek of knowledge transfer? The silver bullet is simply boosting your energy level to the utmost level, less focusing on the tech stuff. Few key practical tips:
- A session within 40min (perfectly align with the maximum duration preset in the free zoom account): have you ever switched on the hyper energy mode to the utmost? If not, I can ensure that you would be totally exhausted after 1 hour. To secure you have the mental energy in your reservoir, I will recommend not to plan your session over 1 hour. Remember that leaving yourself buffer is wise.
- Vitalist your hand and face: as mentioned above, you are no longer able to walk closer to the audience nor walking around the breakout room (how?). The alternative way to leave hooks to participants’ mind, your hand gesture and facial expression matters. Therefore, if you are going to share your screen by iPad, please remember zoom will then put off your video camera. It can ruin the training effectiveness.
- Entertainment by switching delivery mode: in normal classroom, a session with single mode of delivery may last long for 20min, such as changing from lecture (slide reading mode to group exercise or vice versa. In the virtual training, please shorten the mode to 10min. Otherwise the audience will lose track of the content you have planned for weeks to months. The modes you can pick are: ppt reading, poll, video, chat box exercise, miro or other collaboration tools, breakout room discussion.
COVID-19 does a tremendous changes to the people development industry, from classroom training to online training or even self-paced learning, from static job role to agile project, from hierarchy to marketplace. Just end this article by the quote by Charles Darwin: 'It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change'.”