Virtual Learning Best Practices, Part Two: Tips for Asynchronous Virtual Training


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The first part of this two part series offered tips and best prac­tices for the vir­tual class­room, or syn­chro­nous vir­tual train­ing.

Asyn­chro­nous vir­tual train­ing, where par­tic­i­pants access con­tent on demand and accord­ing to their own sched­ules, offers a num­ber of effec­tive learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. Here are some tips for increas­ing engage­ment and adop­tion of mate­r­ial pre­sented in this way.

Rel­e­vance: The sin­gle most impor­tant focus of any vir­tual train­ing should be on how to relate the con­tent to the learner. This becomes espe­cially impor­tant when plan­ning an asyn­chro­nous deliv­ery since no real-time feed­back from the par­tic­i­pant is avail­able. How will the infor­ma­tion improve the learn­ers’ abil­i­ties to do their jobs, pass an exam or in some other way improve their lives? This should be explicit and restated peri­od­i­cally when there’s an oppor­tu­nity to high­light a con­nec­tion between course mate­r­ial and its post-training application.

Humor: It’s desir­able, even in tech­ni­cal or prod­uct train­ing, to make the con­tent as inter­est­ing as pos­si­ble. Using real life exam­ples and humor­ous anec­dotes to illus­trate how the infor­ma­tion applies to the real world are key to both com­pre­hen­sion and post-training appli­ca­tion of the skills. Don’t be afraid to add humor; there’s noth­ing like some unex­pected wit to help anchor some­thing in memory.

Deliv­ery plat­form: Use a plat­form that is easy to nav­i­gate and most impor­tantly, easy to learn quickly. Many par­tic­i­pants may be non-native Eng­lish speak­ers, so the instruc­tions need to be intu­itive and/or avail­able in a multi-language format.

Modal­i­ties: Incor­po­rate a vari­ety of modal­i­ties into the train­ing such as video, audio and gam­ing in addi­tion to “flat” text. The use of inter­ac­tive quizzes to peri­od­i­cally test for com­pre­hen­sion is a great tool and increases the effec­tive­ness to the train­ing.

Units: Vir­tual stu­dents sel­dom have large blocks of time to devote to online train­ing. The assump­tion should be that the train­ing will not be com­pleted in one sit­ting, so orga­nize the mate­r­ial into log­i­cal sec­tions that can be com­pleted in 30 – 45 min­utes. Book­mark­ing should be auto­matic so that the par­tic­i­pant is directed back to the same place upon her/his return to the program.

Help: Even the most intu­itive plat­forms will encounter tech­ni­cal issues or ques­tions about reg­is­tra­tion, credit for work com­pleted, login cre­den­tials and pass­words. Make sure there is ade­quate tech­ni­cal sup­port for the logis­tics around your asyn­chro­nous learn­ing platform.

As a final note, the most effec­tive vir­tual train­ing pro­grams incor­po­rate both asyn­chro­nous and syn­chro­nous learn­ing. The asyn­chro­nous com­po­nent allows for con­tent to be accessed and assim­i­lated when­ever it’s con­ve­nient for the par­tic­i­pant. Adding a syn­chro­nous train­ing com­po­nent after­wards that doesn’t sim­ply reit­er­ate what was pre­sented online but focuses on its appli­ca­tion takes the effec­tive­ness of the train­ing to the next level. Once the con­tent has been cov­ered online, the real-time vir­tual ses­sions can be more inter­ac­tive and used for shar­ing exam­ples, dis­cussing con­cerns and answer­ing ques­tions. This is a more effec­tive use of both the facilitator’s and the participant’s time.

Best of luck going for­ward, and Happy Training!

Seth Brick­ner is a Senior Devel­oper and Facil­i­ta­tor with Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems. He devel­oped Impact’s Pre­sen­ta­tion Skills for Pre­mier Sup­port and leads a vari­ety of vir­tual classes.

Read Part One here.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Seth Brickner
Seth Brickner is a Developer and Facilitator with Impact Learning Systems International. In addition to training and development, his background includes education, technical support and customer service. When not traveling or in front of a computer monitor, Seth can be found running, cooking, playing guitar, reading, convincing himself he can sing, or enjoying the hiking trails of Colorado.


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