People miss people.
I miss people.
If there is one thing a learner misses, it’s being able to see and share ideas with one another in-person. You get to hug, shake hands, do the YMCA, and laugh together. That emotional bond is what builds relationships, strengthens partnerships, and unites a culture together as one.
Many peers of mine have been forced to become Zoom experts overnight because that’s what most people started using when the pandemic hit to keep their classrooms going. Nonetheless, they have been bombarded with information and misinformation with regards to how to deliver virtual training leaving them ill-equipped to handle the needs of the digital learner today.
There is a better way IMHO where you can step it up a notch with virtual training by having it more focused on results, productivity, and transfer of skills.
Here are the ten tips for better virtual training in 2021…
#10 Deliver Dynamic Live Presentations Regardless of Meeting Platform
Zoom isn’t the only platform. There is Microsoft Teams, GoToWebinar, WebEx, Adobe Connect, and Google Meet. What trainers need to know in 2021 is that their responsibility remains in what shows up inside the video and audio input feed as a virtual speaker, panelist, or participant. When you are able to create dynamic visual learning experiences alongside actionable content, you will keep more participants engaged and waiting to find out when the next one is held. When you think about hosting a virtual event, you need to mind the quality of the production just as if you were creating a movie. You don’t have a ton of time and you don’t want to be tied to technology vendors that require ongoing support. Compare this webinar below with others you have experienced in the past.
Don’t just take my word for it. In 2020, these organizations took the lead in hosting virtual events and see what they had to say about the experience.
#9 Hybrid of Live/Remote Learning Environments
Whew! Senior leaders have finally understood more participants prefer to take their training from home or away from the office. This reduces the need for a large physical training room and budgets to reimburse trainers for travel expenses. What does a hybrid environment look like? How many seats? What equipment will we need? Will our trainers understand how to use the equipment? What automated systems do we need to increase attendance? These are all questions I can help you answer in a discovery call.
#8 Produce Just in Time Video Tutorials
Having a hard time getting your team to adopt your company software, tools, or resources? Is the customer/agent support queue out the wazoo? How long is the average customer/agent support ticket until it is resolved? You can improve the performance of your team by having a way to quickly create “how-to” videos” without having to call the tech guy, ask the video team to edit, or wait for a response to have your video made.
One of the best tools I have been using for years is Loom.com. It’s free. It’s easy. And it’s fast. You could be on Zoom delivering a training, record a quick video of how to perform a task on-screen, and share the link to the video all within seconds of ending the recording.
#7 Accelerate Your Tech Support Internally and Externally with Customers
New service offerings, new policies, and new technology tools all need to be explained. How quickly your team can equip your customer support department with the right training videos will depend upon if your team is working within a shared workspace. If you are using a Loom Shared Workspace with your team, there can be several people recording videos and have them stored in one place. If the marketing department wants to edit or use them with customers, they can download the video recorded using Loom and add the branding accordingly.
#6 Delivery of Content To Close Real-Time Performance Gaps
This is more for the corporate training department. It’s my opinion that a team roster/dashboard in a database should also have their performance metrics attached to their company profile. Alongside those performance metrics (ex. # of appointments, $ annual sales volume) should be the learning modules that help each person see the learning modules that would help them close those performance gaps. What happens many times is companies create these huge libraries of videos that (as helpful as they might be), can sometimes derail someone from learning what they need to implement next. In order for this to happen, the organization needs to be able to integrate their CRM with their performance metrics, and a learning solution. If each system uses APIs or confirms to the xAPI standard, the organization can implement a machine learning tool like Amazon Sagemaker to help customers predict the likelihood someone will take a learning module and prioritize it in the learning path.
#5 Upgrade Your In-Home Video Studio
If you aren’t going into the office today, you still need an in-home video studio to get your work done. You can’t hide anymore since it’s assumed your training will have a web cam, otherwise people won’t take you serious. You can’t blame the lighting, blame the Internet connection, or assume presenting your PowerPoint presentation in Zoom in screen share mode is going to connect with your audience. In an 8 x 8 space, you can set up a standing desk, invest in lighting, maybe a soundboard or professional microphone and you will set yourself apart from everyone else fast.
I’ve been hearing many people have bought equipment but don’t know how to use it. It’s sitting in a corner in the back of the room inside of boxes and there isn’t anyone there to teach you how to use it. There are a ton of options you can invest in and it can be overwhelming if this the first time you have looked at them. These options are listed in my 2021 product guide with prices, reviews, and options to compare each type of product category.
#4 Use a Digital Whiteboard as Virtual Background
At a moment’s notice you may decide that in order to move your training along, you need to facilitate a conversation soliciting the input from participants. You could use a fill in the blank PowerPoint in screen share mode but if you wanted to get creative and make additional annotations with text, you can’t do that in PowerPoint. In this post I share an example of the digital whiteboard in action and how you can use it with any meeting platform you choose.
#3 Implement a Programmatic Content Management System Called Airtable
When you think about how long it takes to create a course, a curriculum, or a university’s amount of content from several subject matter experts, you also need to think about how to extend the digital footprint beyond the shelf-life of time you spend with a student.
- Write the course module names, course module descriptions, and names of exercises
- Record a video of the training and produce as a video file.
- Produce an audio file of the video.
- Write the voice prompts, re-prompts, and text used for call to action
- Create a link for each of the exercises for participants to perform
You can store this content in Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and inside of a learning management system. Challenges surface when you need the training department to work with the marketing department to work with the IT department. There are several systems being used to gather information increasing the number of emails, Slack notifications, and other correspondence required, which is why it can sometimes take months just to make a course available. A major advantage of using Airtable to host your content is that it can be used programmatically to work with websites, mobile apps, and in the case on #1, develop a multimodal Alexa skill that offers your course by voice and your TV.
#2 Text Message Auto-Response System
If you are receiving unsolicited text messages please know I hate them too. There’s nothing worse than a system interrupting you during the day with information you don’t need. SMS makes you accessible though and it’s one of the most reliable methods of sending and receiving messages other than email. You can program your own phone number using Twilio to automate the delivery of text messages to send links to videos, links to online articles, and other resources.
#1 Alexa as a Learning Management System
Do you talk to your TV to operate it? And no I don’t mean screaming at it because a goal was scored on your favorite team or there was another political opinion you disagree with. I mean talk to your TV and operate it as a remote control. More people are worried about touching surfaces and at the company office, that means your computer too. Last year I developed an Alexa skill named the Unofficial Voice Marketing for Business, which is a multimodal learning experience where you can talk to your TV, watch learning videos, and have text messages sent to you as assignments. This version one of the learning management system has the potential to replace how some courses are taken from live instruction and self-paced so subscribe to my email newsletter to find out more as new features are released.