Image Source: eLearning Industry
For a long time, virtual training was thought of as a way of the future until the COVID pandemic hit. Because of the pandemic, it quickly became the way of today.
People from all over the world were suddenly required to convert their in-person training courses to virtual spaces, and the shift has been anything but seamless.
Remote workers believe that training is critical to their professional development.
Fortunately, there are numerous strategies to ensure that your online training provides value to your employees, even in a virtual space.
Asynchronous learning is one such approach and has several benefits, including adaptability in learning and constant access to the material. It makes learning engaging, even in difficult formats.
Mediators, instructors, and trainers are a creative bunch, and adjusting to a new normal has been both productive and entertaining.
However, one of the most immediate concerns for instructors is connecting with learners and engaging them effectively in the absence of face-to-face sessions.
In this article, we’ll address that concern and explore six suggestions for creating effective virtual training sessions for your asynchronous learners.
Make Your Virtual Learning Sessions Interesting
Everything, of course, begins with the design. Remote learning and development differ significantly from face-to-face learning and development in that the former requires a more rigid division into asynchronous and synchronous activities.
In reality, this means that the synchronized or online training session should not continue for too long because focusing on something for hours on end is difficult.
It is also essential to make the entire learning path and your expectations clear to the attendees from the start, as there is less social pressure to participate in a remote setting.
Everyone must understand what to expect at each stage and why they need to invest their time and energy in the training.
Of course, a specific learning program should be part of a bigger training plan or strategy, so assisting participants in understanding how their training fits into the larger picture is also critical.
Show Learners the Right Way
When learners use their own devices, it is our role as learning experts to guide them.
Tables of contents, visual learner experiences, and curriculum charts can all help asynchronous learners get their bearings and navigate the information.
You may wish to include an orientation meeting to set realistic expectations and answer questions for larger, more complicated journeys that use a blended learning strategy.
You might even produce instructive and informational videos and attach them to the table or map to assist learners at critical points and direct them to the appropriate resources and content.
Include scenic paths and shortcuts. Some learners might have more knowledge and expertise than others and may wish to pass over material they are already familiar with.
Others may like to go deeper into a subject.
Consider incorporating an adaptable learning technique to provide shortcuts and attractive routes based on the needs of your learners.
It is vital to choose the appropriate technique for delivering content based on the desired result. Consider whether learners should engage asynchronously, with time to consume information, practice, and prepare for interactions with others.
On the other hand, perhaps you should introduce the topic in real-time, allowing for a live intro and assisted research in a group setting.
Perhaps a blended learning approach is more appropriate. Simulations, augmented and virtual reality, and gamification platforms are examples of technology tools that can assist in creating an atmosphere conducive to learning and skill development.
If you require learners to utilize a new environment to complete a learning event, make sure they have adequate time to become comfortable with the platform and that you give clear guidelines on how to navigate the environment and accomplish associated tasks.
Develop a Learner-centered Experience
In a synchronous situation, it is significantly easier to monitor learner motivation and involvement, whether in person or virtually.
But there is no one to monitor asynchronous learning experiences. So, how can you stop losing your learners’ attention? How can you get their attention and motivation?
The quick answer is that you must start with the learner. Learn about them and the things they already know and can do, as well as how they prefer to learn.
This will necessitate a mindset change. After all, it is the stakeholders that usually tell you what the learners require and offer their ideas on how the solution should look.
However, no one can tell you how learners prefer to learn except the learners themselves.
You can overcome this difficulty by applying creative thinking best practices and including learners and stakeholders early in the solution process.
This human-centered approach to the learning experience design assures that learners’ interests, needs, and preferences are recognized and handled right away.
When you proceed into development, design and user testing help you stay on track with these requirements.
Make on-the-job Learning a Priority
A surprising majority of learning occurs on the job, not in sessions and seminars. This is why it is critical to ensure that the asynchronous component of your learning program is incorporated into your participants’ regular work and lives.
The more they can link their work to the learning curriculum, the better they can advance their skills and implement them in their work.
This is especially critical for the work done between learning sessions and then after the process.
Only when your learners apply their learning in practice over time will the learning stick. Digital technologies can help make this happen.
For instance, you can send reminders, queries, and other messages to re-engage and activate them.
Focus on the Content
The amount of data we use in the digital age is expanding. As a result, learning information must be timely and relevant, and it should be given through a variety of channels, including digestible microlearning packages.
The objective is to instruct learners on what they need to know right now to perform at the anticipated level and acquire proficiency.
Be adaptable and provide a variety of content and supporting materials, as highly motivated learners will investigate your offerings beyond what is expected of them.
Make Your Virtual Learning Sessions More Creative
Not only do speaking and writing improve learning, but so does making something. This might involve a variety of things, depending on the group and the kind of virtual training you are providing.
For example, you could set aside time in your workshop to encourage attendees to look for visuals related to the topic you’re discussing and create a composition out of them.
It also gives them a strong visual reference to refer back to, which enhances their learning as they use creativity.
Similarly, activities like interactive sessions and games encourage people to be creative in their actions, which creates memories that remain.
You should also consider using social media engagement strategies. For instance, before the beginning of the learning program, you may ask your learners to record a brief introductory video of themselves.
This allows them to express their expectations of the program with one another while also getting to know each other.
Similarly, as part of the ongoing learning process, you may request that your participants upload a video demonstrating how they have used their learning in their daily lives.
As virtual learning becomes more popular, learning and development executives must contribute to the professional growth of their team members to provide effective programs.
Those in charge of organizing and putting virtual learning into practice must make sure they are utilizing the right instructional strategies to give asynchronous learners the best possible virtual learning experience.