Langevin's Train-the-Trainer Blog
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Just like a good movie or event, there’s a lot that goes on “behind the scenes” to pull off a successful virtual classroom session. The preparation and actions of the producer are key to the session’s success. I’ll reveal some of these behind the scenes actions by addressing the typical questions asked about producers and their role in the virtual classroom.
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There are many articles and blogs about how to handle difficult learners in the traditional classroom environment. In fact, I recently posted a blog related to this topic, comparing situations in a traditional classroom to those in a virtual classroom.
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I deliver training in both virtual classrooms and traditional classrooms and have noticed many differences. Each learning environment creates its own unique behaviors among the participants.
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Let’s face it, the virtual classroom is a necessary reality at this point, and I completely understand why. There are so many advantages to conducting training in the virtual classroom: saving money for the company, training that takes less time, and reaching learners regardless of distance. Virtual classroom is truly the answer to some of the most common constraints we come across in traditional instructor-led training.
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More and more organizations are making telework options available to their employees. According to a 2017 survey conducted by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, 3.7 million employees in the United States now work from home at least half the time. Studies also show that teleworking opportunities are increasing in other countries around the globe.
Everything seems to be virtual these days. Banking, buying goods and services, face-to-face communication, and of course, even online learning. Most of the time, we can accomplish our online activities easily on our own; however, when you deliver synchronous/virtual classroom training for your organization we highly recommend using a producer.
A lot goes into creating a smooth and interactive virtual learning environment for your learners. The general rule for virtual training is learners should be asked to do something every 3-5 minutes. For example, this could mean they participate in a chat exercise, answer a question or poll, take a quiz, work in a breakout group, or annotate the slide.
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Some learners like to show up early for training. I’ve had people walk in the room 30 minutes before the course starts. In the time between the first arrival and the start of the course you have a chance to set the tone. If you haven’t prepared for it, this time can end up with “dead air,” that dreaded silence that can make people uncomfortable. That’s not how you want your learners to feel before the training has started.
How to cope with challenging participants is certainly not a new topic. In fact, you’ll find numerous blog articles written by my colleagues (and myself, for that matter) on handling challenging situations in a traditional classroom setting. But what about dealing with difficult learners in a live, online, synchronous environment or virtual classroom? How you respond to a challenging behavior can make the difference between a healthy, collaborative learning experience and an awkward, uncomfortable session everyone wants to escape. While many of the coping strategies are the same for instructor-led training and virtual classroom training, there are some subtle differences.