It was Monday morning, March 16, 2020 and you had just been told that beginning on Wednesday, March 18th everyone will begin to work from home. You previously scheduled your team for a training session to be held on April 6, 2020 in the company’s training facility. Your mind begins to race forward. “Can we still have this training? What am I going to do about the facilitator who is supposed to be flying in from out of town for the training and the catering that I have already scheduled?”
Of course, the answer was quickly determined. No, the training was not going to happen in the training facility. In fact, your team was not going to be able to be in the same location together for months. You cancelled the catering, as did every other in-person training event. Just before you tell your team that the training is cancelled, you call the facilitator.
You tell her, “I can’t get the team together in the training facility due to the coronavirus. We are going to have to cancel the training for April 6th.” Your facilitator responds, “What if I can give your team the training over the intranet? Would you be interested in still going forward? We are going to have to modify a few things, but I think I can be ready. Are you willing to give this a try?”
This scenario played out thousands of times since early March. As a manager and business leader, you understand the importance of ongoing development for your employees. Despite the challenges with the coronavirus, you know you should not stop training.
You begin to think, is training in a virtual environment a “new normal” or a temporary change that will eventually go back to the way we did things before? It is obvious. Training which used to be held in classrooms is obsolete. Training needs to be adapted for the virtual environment.
In-person classroom training, at least until a vaccine is developed for the coronavirus, risks the health of the participants. In addition, to practice proper social distancing, you would need a much larger space than before to host the same number of participants. Training in physical proximity to one another is no longer viable.
Webinars and on-line training courses are now our “new normal” and are here to stay. There are several reasons for this.
- The quality of the training is just as good as what was delivered in the classroom. While most classroom training requires some adaptation to the virtual world, an experienced virtual facilitator with an appropriate on-line platform can create a virtual classroom as effective as in-person training.
- The cost of the training is significantly less. Virtual classrooms do not require renting physical space or corporate learning centers. Caterers are no longer required for breakfast, lunch, or breaks. Because travel is eliminated, travel costs like hotels, plane tickets, and rental cars are also not required.
- The training is less time consuming. Because travel is not needed, this time is saved. Whether it is 4 hours of air travel, a 20-minute drive to the classroom, or a 10-minute walk from one’s desk, a virtual location saves time for other more productive activities.
What are some additional keys to success for effective webinars and on-line training? These keys are the same as they would be for classroom training.
- Engaging material. On-line training should be accompanied by a workbook to make it easier for participants to follow the training.
- Facilitated break-out groups. The use of break-out groups in a virtual setting helps to ensure everyone participates and stays engaged.
- Require participants to commit to action based upon what they have learned. Leaving training with a commitment to take action to
use what has been taught is an essential part to effective learning. This can be done in the virtual environment just as in the physical environment.
With this “new normal” in mind, fellow FocalPoint Business Coach and Trainer Jerry Pilewski and I will be launching a free webinar series entitled, “Business Advantage: Proven Business Practices to Achieve Enhanced Results.”
This series will take place on the fourth (4th) Tuesday of every month from 12 noon to 1 PM beginning on July 28th. The first webinar is entitled, “Communication Breakthrough: Understand and Harness Different Styles”.
In the spirit of effective learning, a workbook will accompany every webinar and can be downloaded when you register. Jerry and I hope you will join us for every one of our free webinars.
Over the coming months, FocalPoint will offer additional learning opportunities to leverage this “new normal” and continue to support the need for improved profitability in today’s economic environment.
About the Author: Mike Ungar is a Certified FocalPoint Business Coach and Trainer. He has 35 years of experience with Michelin in manufacturing and human resources. Mike is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and the Clemson MBA program.