For over 25 years I have designed, developed and delivered courses, workshops and short learning sessions to help people build their skills, increase their knowledge and change their behaviours. I have mastered the skills and techniques for making these engaging, stretching and enjoyable to participate in as well as effective in achieving the desired business results .
At the heart of these interventions has always been an approach that makes participant and student-centred learning interactive. In our designs, PowerPoint is redundant except for very specific situations.
Many of my peers are adamant that online training will never and can never replace the power of an interactive workshop.
Until COVID-19 that is.
Now the tables have turned.
Based on many conversations with corporate L&D leaders and HR managers, it's clear that corporate education and training will never return to the in-person classroom we've all been used to at the same level.
The genie is out of the bottle.
Those leading L&D and training functions now realise that they can deliver training faster, more effectively and less expensively online. With online learning, they eliminate the risk of COVID-19 infections too. And employees prefer it.
Online training and coaching programs have been around for a long time.
Until the pandemic the progress toward online classes and digital learning was a steady but sloooooow progress.
Everyone was making some progress but for most, it has been very slow.
Now, of course, we have all had to shift online to stay in touch. We've all become used to having calls with family and friends over apps like Zoom, Skype, Messenger, WhatsApp or BlueJeans.
The pandemic forced us all to embrace technology to be present with others. Something that individuals and businesses large and small have been putting off for too long.
Now there's no excuse.
And in an era of uncertainty and constant change, learning online means everyone can bring their workforce up to speed regardless of location, quickly and at huge savings.
Where does this leave the corporate trainers and freelance trainers that are often used to supplement training resources?
It's time to upskill and shift themselves online. It means quickly pivoting those skills that have been used so powerfully over the years for classroom-based (and other venues) training and using them for designing and delivering sessions online.
If you're a trainer, coach or facilitator that needs to do this, you will find it's not without its challenges.
There are several issues to overcome.
Presenting and facilitating in a classroom is very different to doing it online. First, if it's a live session running through an app like Zoom, you can't control what's going on the participant's end of the call. Unlike a classroom event where you can see everything that's going on, online you are largely blind.
Secondly, your presence in a classroom can make a huge impact on the learning experience as you can energise the group or calm things down with the way you operate within the confines of the venue. You can read the mood of the group, tune into the subtleties of body language and make judgments when to change the pace of activities, to explore tangential subjects or to go deeper.
Online this becomes much more difficult. The use of your voice becomes an even more significant factor as it's now your primary tool for engaging your audience.
There's the technology to master so that you can skillfully facilitate your live online sessions, maintains audience engagement and participation and achieve the results your initiative is aimed at delivering.
Course design has to be rethought. Gone are the interactive, engaging, activities involving the use of games and challenges. For example, building towers out of spaghetti, or moving across the floor as a team wrapped in cling film (one of our favourites). The online environment doesn't allow physical activities, touching, feeling and experimenting with props.
So we need to rethink how we achieve the same learning outcome but in a virtual classroom. This demands a whole new level of creativity from trainers and course designers.
There’s a separate skill set for designing and delivering engaging, effective instructions in a virtual classroom. Trainers need to quickly upskill or be left behind.
By developing new skills trainers can now pursue wider opportunities. Firstly in the new environment of corporate training that is shifting online. Secondly by using those same skills to develop their own portfolio of online courses either as a side gig or with the aim of running a fulltime business generating income from the exploding market of online courses.
Platforms such as Kajabi make the second opportunity incredibly accessible and achievable.
I write more about how we made this shift to 100% online delivery in our blog post called "Our Experience of Going From Face to Face Training to Online Delivery and How We Did It".
If you are a consultant, subject expert, coach or trainer looking to shift your expertise online whether fulltime or to here against future pandemics and spikes then why not try out Kajabi for 28 days free trial? You can get that offer here.
After all, the genie is out of the bottle and it;s never going back.
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