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  • MatchyMa

Can’t We Just Copy our Face-to-Face Training and Paste it to Virtual Classroom?

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many clients have moved from face-to-face to virtual training. So, how can we convert a classroom workshop into an online training session? Can’t we simply do “Copy & Paste” by replicating course design and pedagogical practices? What would be the key considerations when making the move? 

After having learnt from some of the most seasoned virtual trainers in the field, combining with my firsthand experience in virtual training, I have come up with a few important considerations for successful virtual training. 

Number 1 – Do you have a robust instructional design for your virtual training session? 

Since the learning now takes place in a virtual classroom, learners are required to sit in front of their digital devices throughout the entire virtual training session. So, would a half-day or full-day classroom training still work on the learning platform? The answer is yes, but….. 

Both the psychological research on learning and our experience suggest that the optimal duration for an effective virtual training session should be around 60-90 minutes, or the learners will easily get exhausted and lose their ability to focus. Of course, there will always be exceptions. Having effective instructional design strategies could help you keep your learners engaged throughout a longer virtual training session. For example, if you convert a half-day training session into an online session, by following the 60-90 minutes rule, you could consider having two 1.5 hours modules with a 30-minute refreshing break in between. You could even put one module in the morning and the other one in the afternoon to allow for sufficient energy recharge. 

Number 2 – Do you know how to interact and engage your learners in the virtual classroom? 

We recently conducted a virtual workshop for more than 50 corporate trainers and coaches. Nearly all participants indicated in the pre-workshop surveys that they had difficulties in interacting and engaging with the audience effectively in the virtual classrooms. One of the recurring comments was, “We just don’t know if the learners are focusing in the virtual training as we can see their body language in the face to face training. Many learners are multi-tasking as they are attending the virtual trainings.” 

How to tackle this issue? Well, let’s go back to Question Number 1 “Do you have a robust instructional design for your virtual training session?” Being able to get and sustain the learners’ attention throughout the entire virtual training session is one of the winning keys for successful virtual training. The rule of thumb is to initiate one interaction with the participants in every 4 minutes with the aid of chat, polling, the raise hand tool, etc. A successful virtual trainer must be competent enough to facilitate an interactive training session in the virtual classroom with the target learning outcomes achieved at the end. 

Number 3 – Do you know how to design a blended learning solution? 

As instructional designers, we understand that defining clear and concrete learning outcomes is crucial for any successful training intervention. What would we expect our learners to know and do as a result of the training? How would their learning impact their job performance? What would be the best ways for the learners to learn? 

To design an effective online training session, we must ask ourselves not only these questions but also questions like “With the technological advancement, what learning outcomes can be achieved by making good use of online learning resources, such as e-learning courses, online videos, online articles, MOOC courses?”, “What technological tools are available for creating great virtual learning experiences for learners?”, etc. With a wide range of learning tools available, a seasoned instructional designer or trainer should be able to leverage them while capitalizing on their creativity to design a blended learning solution for the best virtual training outcomes.

So, can’t we just copy our face-to-face training and paste it to virtual classroom? The answer is yes, you could. By taking into the aforementioned considerations, we believe that you can achieve the same learning outcomes as you run a face-to-face training in the virtual classroom. 

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