Virtual learning is no longer a distant vision of the future, but a fact in the present. So, it’s time for…adaptation! In general, people have shifted toward online resources in much of their daily lives. This shift also applies to learning resources, platforms and providers.
Previously we talked about the coronavirus and virtual learning. We also discussed the differences between classroom learning and virtual learning. Now, it’s time to explore virtual learning best practices from the viewpoint of learning and development (L&D). Let’s see how you can ride the wave of digital transformation in L&D.
How Did Virtual Learning Happen?
Learning experiences are no longer exclusively based on-site—they’ve became digital as well, with the evolution of new technology. And you know that the digital world moves at an astonishing pace. As a result, new learning models emerge very quickly, which can be disruptive. Yet today, digital learners are able to move more easily online with each passing day.
A change in the place for learning is a major challenge for both trainers and learners. In other words, the transition from physical training rooms to virtual training rooms is complex. The good news is that help is available! To begin with, you should focus on tools.
1. Combine Virtual Learning Tools
First, you need different kinds of tools to facilitate learning in a virtual training room. You might need only a couple of these tools, or all of them:
- Learning management system (LMS): Essentially, it’s a tool to share instructional content with your learners. It also suits the creation and evaluation of assignments and learning activities—both individual and group.
- Online meeting tool: This is where your training sessions occur and you interact with your learners in real time. For instance, you can use this tool to share your screen with your learners, and vice-versa.
- Asynchronous communication tool: This can be a simple email system to interact with learners by sending them a message they can read either before or after the training session.
Here are two features that you might want to consider when choosing virtual learning tools:
- Polling is a nice feature, to request feedback from learners and keep them engaged in the virtual learning experience.
- Breakout rooms, which allow you to break learners into small groups to discuss topics and work together on learning activities. Afterward, learners can share their findings.
2. Prepare and Use Virtual Learning Tools
Next, you must explore the tools you chose to implement your virtual learning vision. Test those tools and use them before the actual training sessions take place. For example, you might want to use the multimedia capabilities of virtual learning tools, such as image and voice recording.
You must organize your learning materials before granting online access to learners for those materials. Before granting access, you should define the rules for using the virtual learning tools and inform learners accordingly.
Another key step is to teach your facilitators, content curators and content creators how to use the tools you chose.
Maybe the most important, yet simple, piece of advice for a successful virtual learning experience would be to create and nurture a relaxed, dynamic virtual learning environment. A virtual trainer delivers instructional content, but, most importantly, they bring great energy into the training room. Conduct a learning activity every five minutes or so, even if it’s a small one, to keep learners engaged.
3. Ask for Feedback From Virtual Learners
Throughout a virtual learning course, request feedback from your learners and keep a continuous improvement mindset. Ask them what’s working best for them, what they’d change and in what way.
Involve your learners in the process of building the best virtual learning experience for:
- The subject
- Your learners’ level of digital literacy
- Your virtual learning environment
Make It Simple
You don’t need to create complex virtual learning experiences. Keep instructional materials simple and accessible. Create training plans that are easy to implement with the tools you’ve chosen.
No matter what you do, virtual learning will always be much different from learning in a physical training room. And virtual training rooms, of course, have limitations. Nevertheless, they can also help give your audience a learning experience that’s more engaging than the traditional physical one. CoreAxis can offer your company training courses that utilize a variety of virtual learning tools. So, let us know if you need a hand in maximizing the use of virtual learning in your business.