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"The Hunter Who Chases Two Rabbits Catches Neither"

Posted by Lori Dearman
Lori Dearman
Lori Dearman has not set their biography yet
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on Saturday, 01 January 2011
in Virtual Junction

I first heard these wise words while working at Samsung in South Korea, and I find myself repeating them quite often these days. It is not only difficult but oftentimes risky to chase two rabbits at the same time. Ok… perhaps I should stop speaking in proverb and let you in on the specifics of what I am referring to.

As I work with more and more clients who are dabbling in the area of Virtual Instructor-Led training (vILT), I can see that the tendency is to start with a hybrid approach. By hybrid I mean that they continue to run their instructor-led classroom version and then plug in the virtual piece to expand enrollments and reduce the need for an additional instructor. From the fiscal perspective, I certainly understand where they are coming from as we are all looking very closely at the bottom line these days. From the pedagogical approach however, this practice puts their brand at risk, which if unchecked, can have an even bigger negative impact on the bottom line and one that is much more costly to reverse.

Is your organization heading down this path in favor of a better bottom line? Here are a few points that might help tip the scales in the opposite direction:

Tags: Online, Training
Posted by Lori Dearman
Lori Dearman
Lori Dearman has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Monday, 31 May 2010
in Training

One of the challenges that I’ve faced in delivering vILT (Virtual Instructor-Led Training) is in combining the live online experience with use of extensive or sophisticated supplemental materials. Some online training tools allow you to upload materials and make them available before, during or after a training in the form of a word document or PDF.  For brief materials, this works quite nicely. You can have attendees refer to the electronic versions (and save a tree) or, when necessary, have them print materials and worksheets to be completed during the class or on breaks.

However, for longer materials that really need to be bound and look professional, this approach can present a challenge. One easy alternative is to use an on-demand publishing house like LuLu or Delta L. These online on-demand print shops allow you to upload your materials and make them available for purchase online by your attendees. They take care of the printing, binding and shipping, so it is a very easy process to manage from the trainer’s side. That is one less thing to worry about, and it frees up time to focus on the content and delivery of the course rather than the logistics.

Personally, I like this option as I am able to provide professional looking bound color copies of materials that students are less likely to lose. Let's face it, many don’t even print out the materials in the first place and if they do, will they actually hole punch them and put them in a binder? Providing a professional looking printed copy eliminates this variable as you  guide your virtual attendees through the online classroom experience.

Here are some tips for using hard copy materials during a virtual training:

  • If you use color in your materials, you can include a color coding that matches with a color on your slides so that each module in the book matches up with the corresponding slides on the screen.
  • Be sure to include page numbers on the hard copies and list them on the visuals during the training. Even during the most riveting training, attendees have a tendency to get momentarily distracted, and it helps if the page number that you are on is shown on the screen so that they can jump back into the rhythm of the course without interrupting another attendee with a chat to ask where you are.
  • If you have them completing an exercise on their own, put stop signs on the hard copy after each section that you want them to complete. This gives students a visual cue of when to stop working on the book and when to log back into the live event.
  • Use a breaktimer when you ask students to go off and work on hard copy materials. This will help keep them on task and get them back on time. If your online training tool doesn’t have one built in, try a third-party application such as Online Stopwatch.
  • Have students raise their hands upon completion of a task so that it is clear to you that everyone is back.
  • Be sure to tie in the activity that attendees have just finished with whatever you plan to do once they have returned. A poll, a quiz or some type of debrief allows them to process the individual activity along with the group.

Do you have experience with using hard copies during a vILT? If so, please share your thoughts.

Tags: Online, Training

Making Sense of Alphabet Soup

Posted by Lori Dearman
Lori Dearman
Lori Dearman has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Friday, 26 February 2010
in Training

I recently visited my 90-year-old grandmother in Florida, and in the course of our conversation I told her that I was going out on my own. Naturally, she asked me what I was "going out on my own" to do. I come from a long line of entrepreneurs, so the idea of owning one's own business is not at all foreign to our clan. However, as I opened my mouth to give her my well practiced elevator pitch, I realized that 90% of the words that were about to spill out had absolutely no meaning to her. "Virtual", "Webinar", "Online Training", "VoIP", "Blog", "vILT"... The list goes on.

I paused to ponder how to break it down for her in a way that she would understand. As a trainer, I knew that it was important to build on what the learner, or in this case, my grandmother already knew. So it went something like this:

Lori: Grandma, can you imagine how much money and time is spent these days on travel for business meetings? How much money companies spend on training their employees on how to do business or their customers on how to use their products?

Grandma: Quite a bit of money I imagine.

Tags: Online, Training
 

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