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Due to the present circumstances, professors, trainers, teachers, employees, and students have suddenly found themselves forced to use technology to teach, work, and learn. No matter if you are two weeks into your first virtual training experience, or if you’re a seasoned pro—it’s good to step back every once in awhile to assess what’s working well or not-so-well for your learners.
At The Bob Pike Group, we are big proponents of Creative Training Techniques® as a starting point for engaging, participant-centered training! These tips work well with this technique and can be applied to teachers who have whipped up an e-learning program within days for their K-12 students, or for corporate trainers who have spent weeks creating a fine-tuned curriculum for their business group.
Whether it is every quarter or every two days, a simple check in is all you need to act as quickly and in the best way you can. Here are a few ways to do that:
Going into the office or classroom for face-to-face observation to measure the effectiveness of your online training may not be possible. So how can you check that learners can apply what they’re learning into a real-life setting? You can do this by creating scenario-based virtual tests that allow learners to show how to apply what they’ve learned during virtual training.
Make the activities as realistic as possible and that helps learners form an emotional connection. Incorporate situations that employees or students would commonly face, such as decision-making, customer service, or leadership skills. Gamification, role-playing, and “choose your own adventure” that leads to an outcome are just a few ways to provide scenarios.
The easiest and most obvious way place to start is going straight to your learners. Check on your online training quality by asking those who actually participate … and don’t take the feedback personally. Some participants may be a bit more raw in their feedback during stressful times, while others may have more thought-out comments. Participants are in a unique position to tell you what’s working and what improvements may be needed. Surveys, interviews, focus groups, or just a quick daily check-in can reveal strengths and opportunities of your online training methods.
Set up online discussion or social media groups to encourage learners to voice their opinions and concerns to one another … and eventually back to you as the trainer. Being receptive and action-focused on feedback is so important here, so be sure to acknowledge their concerns and ideas each and every day.
Why not turn your learners into instructors by encouraging them to teach a specific topic or discuss concepts with other learners? A couple benefits here is that it engages your group to teach and learn from each other while encouraging a collaborative spirit. It also helps you determine whether the virtual training participants have learned your content as you intended.
In order to instruct others, they must first have an in-depth understanding of the subject matter. If their peers successfully show their retention of the knowledge, then you know that your practices are working!
Assessments are essential to helping you build the best virtual training course possible. Not only do they test employees’ knowledge and skills, but they also give you an understanding of how effective your training is. Make sure to inform learners up front that they will be evaluated throughout the training. Place topic quizzes or assessments at the end of content chunks or hand out certifications to reward milestones. It’s a good idea to test learners on the same subject matter before and after each topic.
If a vast majority of learners are not able to pass an assessment at the end of a module or lesson, then you may want to consider reworking it to improve either its content or the delivery method. You might include more interactive elements or break the online training content down into chunks that are easily digestible—microlearning!
One of the many benefits of online training is that it allows you to collect valuable feedback about its virtues and vices before it is too late! At The Bob Pike Group, we encourage you to embrace this unplanned opportunity to revisit how to assess your learners. The world is a different place than it was just a short couple months ago, but training and learning must still go on. Remember you are doing your best … and your learners will no doubt recognize that!
Need some help taking your meetings, classroom, or training online? The Bob Pike Group is here to help! We’ve got tons of free webinars and guides available, plus, we’re adding new online workshops to help you bring your classroom online. Check out all the opportunities here.