Many countries have been in lockdown for 6 weeks or more now and, while it may seem like Groundhog Day in some ways, if you cast your minds back to the initial scramble to work at home and adjust (for some) to the new way of working, it seems like a very long time ago.
We now use once obscure words daily such as ‘quarantine’ and ‘lockdown’ daily, along with phrases like “How do teachers manage to do this every day?”.
And nouns are becoming verbs – “I will Zoom you?” or “Shall we Teams it?” – being sure signs of their frequency of use.
Which brings me to the new way of working.
Training is an interesting one. While quite a bit, especially face-to face training, has been understandably shelved for now, much is still business critical.
Unsurprisingly, we’ve been working on far more projects where customers are seeking to convert face-to-face to live online training. Sometimes we do the whole project and sometimes we advise and support internal teams.
In all cases, what has become very apparent is the speed at which people have gone from literally zero understanding of how virtual classrooms and live online training can work, to admirable competency.
The challenge now is the need to move from conscious competence to unconscious competence (see the Four Stages of Competence for more on this model). If you become consciously aware that you don’t have a skill and need to acquire it and use it, you can get good at the basics, but the learning curve then unfortunately plateaus (unlike that ‘other’ curve that we all want to plateau and then drop off a cliff).
Keeping the curve vertical and moving to unconscious competence is tougher. I am not sure I would consider myself an expert, but I worked out the other day that I have achieved Malcolm Gladwell’s holy grail of 10,000 hours of experience in creating and delivering live online training.
The main differences you notice when working with people with less experience is their obvious competence but also their need for more sophisticated support now.
What to do?
First, there is no need for more lists and tips on ‘how to convert face to face to virtual’.
If you look at a lot of the lists on ‘how to convert’ that many organizations rushed out (we didn’t), you will notice two things.
- Some of the tips are at best questionable and show a dubious understanding of live online training
- The rest is partially helpful, but simplistic and requiring intelligent application…based on knowledge and experience.
So what does work?
Well, there is no panacea, but the following will help you and your team keep the learning curve vertical.
- Share each other’s learning – it will broaden your mind
- Work in pairs or teams and coach each other – it will build your insight
- Sit in on other training as a participant – it will help you empathise with learners
- Have someone with experience and expertise to call on as a sounding board – they will help accelerate your knowledge exponentially
- Filter any advice through the lens of YOUR participants and knowledge – you still know what works best within the parameters and restrictions of your specific situation
You will note there are no tips on how to convert here. They are general suggestions.
This is because the more sophisticated we become, the more grey everything becomes. There is much less of the black / white and good / bad, and much more of the ‘kind of right but needs tweaking’ or ‘let’s vary that a little’.
In essence then…work together, listen and be open to change while using the above… and the participants on your live online training will thank you.
Matt Turner, Director, LiveTime Learning Ltd