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My Journey through the 4 Stages of Learning in the Virtual Classroom

Posted by Lynne Koltookian on 7/31/17 8:00 AM
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Do you know about the four Stages of Learning? In our workshop, How Adults Learn, we introduce new instructors to these important stages. Everyone starts out at stage one as a Novice. At this stage, we can feel nervous and scared because “we don’t know, what we don’t know.” As we progress to the Apprentice stage, we start to realize “how much we still need to learn.” 


This stage may leave us feeling overwhelmed and quite intimidated about all we must learn. Yet, once we’ve made it through the apprentice stage, we reach the Journeyman stage and start to gain confidence because we see that we ARE learning and progressing! The final stage is the Master stage, when we no longer think about what we’re doing because it has become natural and automatic. We’ve learned it so well, we could do it in our sleep.


After many years of being an instructor and resting comfortably in the master stage of my profession, I’ve become a novice again! I’m sure you’re wondering how that’s possible. My many years of training experience have been as an instructional designer and trainer in an instructor-led, classroom environment.


Recently I’ve begun to teach in the virtual classroom and while there are many things that are similar between instructor-led training (ILT) and virtual instructor-led training (vILT), there are significant differences, too. In many ways, I find myself feeling like a new instructor all over again!


There are a few reasons I feel like a novice:

  • I’m faced with the need to become proficient in using a new platform/tool that I’m not comfortable with. I can no longer rely on my facial expressions, movements, and gestures to build rapport with my learners—nor can I see their facial expressions and actions. I’ve often found that being in the classroom with my learners gives me an energy I can give right back to them; however, in the virtual classroom, the energy level is different and requires me to make some adjustments.

  • In the physical classroom, there is often more time for examples and for sharing personal stories. In the virtual classroom there are more time limitations, so it’s essential to keep your delivery lean and relevant to the course to avoid running out of time.

  • We all know that regardless of where and how you teach, sometimes things can go wrong. In the physical classroom, the projector might break or a fire alarm might go off, but these glitches are things we can see and address right away. Remote training tends to have glitches that fall on the technical side. At Langevin, we suggest using a producer in the virtual classroom to help address those problems.

    As my confidence grows, I’m becoming a master virtual classroom instructor and, regardless of your experience in the virtual classroom, you can, too!


If want to learn more about how to design and deliver training in the virtual classroom, check out Langevin’s Instructional Design for the Virtual Trainer and The Virtual Trainer workshops. Best of Luck with your journey!


Tips for Success in the Virtual Classroom

Lynne has been a course leader with Langevin since 2007. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Penn State University and a Master’s degree in Education from Boston University. After working many years in human resources and sales, Lynne transitioned into training, her true passion, where she’s been facilitating since 1994. Her training philosophy is simple—learning should be fun! The essence of a good instructor is someone who can make complex things easy to understand and fun to learn. In her free time, you’ll find Lynne cycling, hiking, downhill skiing, and scuba diving.

Tags: adult learning principles, virtual classroom, instructional design

About this Blog

Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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