Learning How To Check Your Blind Spots

Learning How To Check Your Blind Spots
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Summary: Understanding and overcoming their own blind spots is one of the biggest challenges in the life of an L&D professional.

Succeeding In eLearning Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Before you enlist a virtual training outsourcing partner, it’s critical to check your blind spots. When transitioning to eLearning, and especially when pivoting quickly, many organizations make assumptions that cause them to stumble in the long run and end up hurting productivity.

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eBook Release
Maximize Employees' Potential With The Right Virtual Training Partner
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With more than 25 years of experience, Zides has guided countless leaders in creating a virtual L&D strategy. He’s identified 4 common blind spots you can avoid to transition your content online as fast and impactfully as possible.

Creation Can Be Fast, But Adoption Will Be Slow

Zides and his team have developed virtual learning content from scratch in as little as a week, thanks to their agility and rapid development technology methods. But it’s not the creation process that drags on the time to see results; it’s the users, and that's why this blind spot is not easy to overcome.

While most people have attended a virtual conference call, the logistics of a full virtual training session can be much more technical, both for the facilitator and the participants. When something inevitably goes wrong, it’s far less simple to troubleshoot on the fly or sign off and rejoin without causing disruption. Moreover, while today’s advanced platforms provide ample tools to optimize the learning experience, unfamiliar users are unlikely to actually employ them without an opportunity to tinker with them first.

To mitigate this, DeJesus suggests incorporating fun ways to “play” with the capabilities of technology in your first meeting or training session. This allows participants to become comfortable with the various tools in a low-stress environment so they get up and running faster and are more engaged in the course.

It Is Not As Simple As Recycling

Recycling your trash is great for the physical environment. Recycling your Instructor-Led Training content is terrible for the online environment.

Employers are accelerating the speed to digitization as remote work becomes more of a long-term reality, and many are directly repurposing content presented in a live setting with the expectation that it will work just as well online. But taking the drastic differences in the learning experiences into account, it’s easy to see why this is a band-aid solution; instructors can’t see their learners, learners can’t interact with one another, distractions are everywhere, and the list goes on.

“Instead of directly transitioning Instructor-Led Training content online, companies should be honest with themselves about the work needed to fully transition courses to other learning mediums,” says DeJesus. “This includes thinking outside the box when it comes to the ways content can be delivered, practiced and reinforced, and considering new visuals that might need to be created.”

Hyperfocus On Engagement Is Critical

We’re all guilty of it—entering a virtual meeting room with 15 other tabs open, but also with good intentions to ignore all those tabs and stay focused and engaged in the meeting at hand. Five, maybe ten minutes pass, and you find yourself “quickly” clicking to another tab. Another five minutes later you snap back to reality, with the sinking admission that you have no idea what you missed. You return to your virtual meeting only to notice you’re not alone.

Distractions are the biggest enemy of virtual training and meetings. In a live session, facilitators can see participants’ faces and recognize when they have an “aha” moment, or when their minds have started to drift elsewhere. Not so in a virtual environment. When you can’t necessarily see your audience, there’s less accountability to stay present. But today’s technology can also help you mitigate productivity-sapping distractions.

“When conducting training virtually, facilitators need to actively plan more engagement and check-in opportunities,” says DeJesus. “Check-ins should be varied and have a fun element, so people naturally stay engaged.”

Blended learning approaches that include pre- and post-work coaching sessions, guided hands-on practice, video, and eLearning provide various avenues for presenting and reinforcing course content to ensure learners receive a high-touch, interactive experience.

“In our experience, the more immersive and varied the delivery, the more memorable and applicable the content is,” says Zides. “This means you’re maximizing ROI and your employees’ potential.”

Timing Is Everything

This is one of the trickiest blind spots. You may have the exact amount of time needed for your live training courses down to a science. But, as with course material, what works in person doesn’t necessarily apply in an online environment.

It’s also wise to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Particularly in your initial virtual sessions, anticipating technical glitches or difficulties means that your training won’t be derailed if something goes wrong.

Finally, DeJesus recommends capping virtual training sessions at 90 minutes. Anything longer should be broken up into several modules to keep people engaged and mitigate distractions. While this means more calendar invites, it also means more impactful learning and results.

Balancing speed, precision, and quality in transitioning your Learning and Development content to a virtual environment may seem daunting and full of unknowns. However, by avoiding these 4 common blind spots, your organization will be on track to bring results faster than you thought possible.

Moving Beyond Your Blind Spots

Are you looking for a virtual training partner that will help you with your endeavors? The eBook Maximize Employees' Potential With The Right Virtual Training Partner will explain everything you need to keep in mind, with great examples and thorough analysis.