Burrito’s and learning (part 2)on 24 November 2020 for Tech Professionals
In our previous ‘Burrito’s and learning’ blog, we discussed some of the basic tips that we’ve picked up in our switch to online training. In case you missed it, you can check it out here. We’ll continue with some of that prep work in this blog and dive into a practical example.
Testing the waters
So, while exploring the basics and getting familiar with the tools was extremely helpful, I was curious to find how other L&D professionals managed these days. Knowing we had some more research to do in finetuning our online training and workshops and how to tackle those in this ‘special’ year, I jumped at the opportunity to attend Pluralsight Live, a tech conference hosted by – plot twist – Pluralsight. I picked up some great tips there as well, from amazing people working at some of the biggest companies out there. Here are my main takeaways.
Strike a balance between business needs and individual needs.
We all have great tracks in place to teach our learners what is tried and true to flourish in a professional context. Core skills, as was echoed across all panels, remain to be the foundation to build on. Yet, allow your employees a way to show you what they need. At Exellys, we believe this to be key, which is why we provide our consultants with our proprietary Smart training and coaching programs that teach core skills and a training budget to fulfill their personal learning needs, often technical in nature.
By the way, if you’re curious about our training programs, you can find a lot more information right here. Or just reach out to me for a chat!
Trust is key
Give your learners the freedom to use digital platforms for learning and allow them the time to do so. Trust they will get the work done, even if they spend an hour or two brushing up on some skills. Platforms like Pluralsight, Udemy, Coursera, etc. are great to offer bite-sized learning, that learners can consume at their own pace. Wherever that may fit in their work from home schedule.
These platforms are also generally really user friendly and really motivate the learner to keep honing their skills. Pluralsight for example employs gamification mechanics to great effect, in order to boost engagement. Aside from learning, I’ve seen our consultants make the leap to sharing some of their knowledge as well, so check out this AI course an Exellyst has built on Udemy.
I also listed more of these platforms in another blogpost on free or discounted online learning. While some of the promotions may no longer be active, it’s still great to check out if you want a picture of the online learning landscape.
Treat it like an IT project
Perfection is the enemy of progress, especially nowadays. Get the learning out there to your learners, ask for feedback and reiterate. Treat your training like an IT project: set a start point, work in sprints and celebrate progress!
Just in theory?
Now this is all great but surely an online training is baseline inferior, right? Well I tend to disagree. The tools I talked about earlier already existed to aid in mimicking a classroom setting, and these days we have definitely been forced to explore them more. Do they cover all the bases? No, of course not, not everything can be captured in a virtual space. Body language being an example, to name one. Time to start cooking on all four burners and talk about execution.
Let’s jump into an unlikely example of a training that worked out great with online facilitation. That training was Visual Storytelling. Essentially it teaches you the drawing techniques to visually support your storytelling. And I’ve already seen it put to great use by some of the participants.
Smile to the cameras
So how did that work? First and foremost, we selected a great partner for the journey, Bizzuals. The setup they had for this training was excellent: a face cam, a cam on the teacher’s flipchart and a bird’s eye view camera on what he was drawing on his desk. All these different visuals, just inches away from your face. Moral of the story: select great partners to work that make use of all the tools that are on offer.
It’s a killer for the attention span of any participant to have to watch someone fumble about with Zoom for 15 minutes. (Even though we’ve all been there.)
There was also a great physical component to it, all the participants received a package containing a set of markers beforehand so they could follow along with the trainer. This was to be expected due to the nature of the training, but in general being able to physically engage into an online training is often overlooked. It made everyone excited to participate and hold up their drawings in front of their camera to show off what they made.
Another great example of this was an icebreaker performed by Lennert Decuypere, trainer for Board of Innovation. After a break, he instructed the participants to grab three objects, as fast as possible. ‘Get me something round, something blue and something yellow! Go!’ And just like that, everyone’s awake and engaged again.
The new normal
I don’t believe personally we will fully make the switch to online after the pandemic settles (if it ever does). Yet, I do look at online training with a new set of eyes. It’s not just a backup plan or second-best scenario. It has great merit to mix in with your regularly scheduled classroom training, and personally I’m excited to see how technology will push this delivery method to new heights in the future.
That all leads me back to the title of this blogpost. We’ve done our work in the kitchen and the results have been there for us. I’ll leave you with this last analogy for your online training and workshops in a Covid-19 world to wrap it up (this was the last pun, I promise): Much like a burrito – keep it fresh, keep it spicy and use a healthy mix of ingredients.
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