3 Common Mistakes When Converting Educational Content to Virtual
As businesses around the world postpone and cancel in-person meetings in response to the novel coronavirus, workplace learning is emerging as one of the earliest and hardest-hit business activities. Whether the effort is reskilling at the business-unit level or a company-wide aspirational transformation, companies can’t simply push the pause button on critical workplace learning, even as they move rapidly to put employee safety first (McKinsey).
Mistake number one is taking an interactive, instructor-led classroom program and turning it into a presentation-style Zoom call. This commonly happens if you are short on design time or if you don’t have skilled designers who are able to thoughtfully repurpose the program. While it may be tempting to just take the program slides and dump them into Zoom, don’t.
Keep in mind that you are converting a training program, not a presentation. Just because participants are dispersed doesn’t mean that your live online class should be a lecture. Work with an adult learning partner on how to best engage participants. Those guidelines apply to all types of training, including virtual. Your virtual training design should be just as engaging and interactive as if it were delivered in person.
Mistake number two is thinking that an eight-hour, instructor-led class will be an eight-hour, live online virtual session. The reality is that one minute of classroom time does not equal one minute of virtual time.
Most live online classes are 60 to 90 minutes long. That means an eight-hour class would be broken into smaller chunks of time, with a mixture of self-directed and facilitated activities. Also, the activity times will differ in the online program. When you convert in-person classes, especially lengthy ones, recognize that you often can find ways to shorten activities and economize time. While every activity may not move faster, you can use technology tools to your advantage.
Mistake number three is not using a professional to help you tackle the tech. Today’s LMS technology can help you better understand your learners by pairing reporting and analytics with your training. For example, you can check your LMS analytics for courses that learners sign up for the most, questions they get wrong most often, or lessons that take the longest to complete. When you understand when they’re most engaged or challenged, you can better understand their strengths and weaknesses and build specific learning paths accordingly. You can craft your L&D by type of learner or geographic location, depending on the trends you find. The interactive polls offered with social LMS tools can help you further color these insights with more specific feedback. If your team is armed with reliable data acquired from training or from social learning tools, you’ll anticipate needs, turning the experience into a proactive rather than a reactive one. Tailoring your eLearning demonstrates your understanding and appreciation of learners as individuals, meeting their needs, providing a solution, and enabling stronger connections.
Learning leaders who implement a thoughtful response plan for COVID-19 can minimize the impact on capability building and ensure the safety of learners. Expanding learning opportunities—and improving learning overall—can also ultimately serve as a bright spot for organizations through this difficult period.
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