Four Critical Needs for Effective Virtual Learning
In a time when COVID-19 has caused many of us to work remotely, virtual learning has become a necessary format to disseminate new information and/or build new skills in the workplace. Virtual learning can provide some excellent advantages, including a quick way to introduce new concepts, consistent and flexible training, an increased retention, and more. Incorporating relevant and real-life scenarios in your virtual training is the best way to ensure the trainee is retaining information taught, as well as making sure the new skills can be applied immediately in the workforce.
Here are some great ways to make sure employees are provided with an appropriate amount of real-life experiences in their virtual journey:
Make the experience as interactive as possible: Depending on the type of training, learners should be asked a lot of critical thinking questions which can help with decision-based situations. Be sure the “how” in a situation is accompanied with the “why.”
Introduce a timed aspect to training: This can be valuable for any industry, but it is particularly helpful for fast-paced environments. Trainees should know how a real-life situation should be handled in a timely fashion, since workplace situations deserve immediate attention. Create challenges to help them adapt in high-pressure situations, and help them learn how their successes or failures in the virtual scenario could impact a real-life situation. Reflect on what could have been done differently, and acknowledge when appropriate actions are taken to encourage thoughtful and sound decisions.
Have learners create their own scenario: Making sure employees can apply their learned knowledge by allowing them to “choose their own adventure” can be extremely telling of their understanding of concepts. Depending on the complexity of their newly created scenario, a virtual facilitator can reinforce necessary concepts which may need more attention and, at the same time, gauge the learner’s retention and how their organization’s culture may impact the way they handle certain situations.
Use cases to lead simulations: This can help a virtual facilitator provide students with a solid framework for interaction and practice newly learned skills. Case study simulations can also be used to identify and apply solutions in a real-life situation and can help to increase the learner’s fact-based, decision-making skills. Giving the learner opportunities to think strategically can be extremely valuable.
The last tip is to create a meaningful experience throughout the training. Finding meaning in new information helps learners not only connect more easily, but also grasp knowledge in an effortless way. To create a meaningful learning experience, build follow-up opportunities with your learners’ personal experiences, and evoke their emotions by offering thoughtful surveys and asking for feedback. Resonating with your audience’s experiences means offering them relevant content to explore real-life situations, a proven technique to help your learners see how the new learning experience is applicable to them.