How to use your trainer’s skills in a virtual environment
As a trainer, you are used to speaking in front of a group. You’ve done it for years. In this environment, you’ve learned certain skills. You know how to hold participants’ attention. The moment someone loses concentration, you intervene in a professional manner.
But now that training courses are only held in a virtual environment due to the pandemic, things are different. Here, too, you need to make sure participants remain active and committed. But how to go about it from behind your computer screen? And how to provide people with guidance when you’re not behind the screen at the same time?
Build your training around the human brain
When organizing a live on-location training, you provide the right mix of activities. You break the content into chunks. Sometimes, you refer to a specific chapter in a textbook or a YouTube video that explains the theory. That’s how you make the training interesting.
The thing is, an online training course isn’t much different. What you should do, though, is fully embrace brain-based learning. This means you need to make the functioning of the human brain the foundation of your training course — things like attention span, memory, and motivation play a crucial role. If you take them into account, the brain can properly process training materials. A useful starting point is Bob Pike’s 90-20-8 rule: during a synchronous session that lasts 90 minutes at the most, you should change the pace every 20 minutes and involve the participant every 8 minutes, as that’s the best way to hold their attention. So, when you’re simultaneously online, you should use this time for interaction and in-depth discussions.
Have technology support you
A blended learning platform is the perfect environment for implementing brain-based learning. As with a live training course, you can break the content into chunks. The difference is that participants in an online training course don’t have to look up the right training materials. For example, if they need to read a specific section, you can share it on the blended learning platform.
Whether participants should study a section, a video, or an audio clip, they can do so independently — whenever and wherever they want. Moreover, you can decide in advance during which period this content is accessible, so you can gradually make materials available.
Do you want participants to exchange thoughts on a particular topic in an asynchronous way? There’s a special environment for this. When a participant posts a comment, everyone gets a notification, and all the other participants are invited to respond. They can do so whenever and wherever they prefer.
These examples demonstrate that a blended learning platform offers the opportunity to work in a very fragmented way: you can use technology to ensure participants get the right content at the right time. As a trainer, you can determine exactly when to use which resources. This helps you hold participants’ attention and achieve your learning goals!