As we enter a new year and organisations look to push forward with business objectives, it is also timely to discuss something a lot of HR functions will be thinking about – employee development and training programmes. I thought it would be nice to revisit one of my earlier topics on how video is helping transform the way we deliver training.
While most of us are familiar with the concept of a pre-recorded training videos, uploaded onto the intranet or a learning management system (LMS) for employees to access, advancements in technology now give us true-to-life high definition (HD) video for live training sessions. This allows trainers to create a live virtual classroom, delivering real-time interactive sessions, where multiple participants can join regardless of their location.
Some of the benefits live video training can bring are:
- Cost-effective delivery to a larger and more geographically-dispersed audience
- Consistency in quality of delivery and content
- Real-time feedback and interaction, resulting in a higher level of engagement with participants compared to pre-recorded videos
Although a large part of the programme, especially the content, remains the same as that of a conventional programme; we have to acknowledge that delivering virtual training is a little different from conventional classroom training. Here are some pointers to take note of:
1. Understand the features of the video conferencing solution you’re using
You will most likely want to share some content as part of the training session, such as a set of slides, images or video clips. The best videoconferencing solutions, allow content sharing with a click of a button.
The recording feature is another common tool that is very useful. Trainers often record the session to be shared with participants after the live training. This allows trainers and participants to recap what was covered at a later date enabling knowledge preservation within an organisation. The recorded session can also be made available for participants who couldn’t attend the session.
2. Participants’ profiles
Prior to any training sessions, trainers would prepare by getting an understanding of the participants profile. This is the same when conducting a virtual training.
However, it would be useful to take it a step further by getting more information about your participants as follows:
- Language ability: it is useful to know if the participants would potentially have an issue with the language in which the training is conducted in. Given that geographic locations are no longer a constraint, you may have participants joining from different countries with different native languages. Understanding this will allow you to better manage the session
- Physical location in which the participants are joining the session from: depending on the type of training and activities, you may want to set some parameters around how the participants join the session. If the session requires participants to be involved in activities that require physical contact/ interaction, it might be good to link a few remote classrooms and have a local facilitator in each of the remote sites. For example, this can be used for product training, where physical contact with the product is required. The trainer can be delivering the content with the help of local facilitators. Otherwise, the session can be open and conducted like a webinar, where participants can join from any location of their choice
- Devices that the participants are joining the session from: participants can join the session from different devices, such as from a meeting room-based system, desktop, mobile or via a browser-based cloud solution. We need to be aware of different screen sizes, especially when any participants are joining via a mobile device. Thus, if you are delivering a presentation-heavy session with a lot of content sharing, you might want to pace your session allowing participants joining via the mobile devices time to zoom in and review the shared content
3. Ground rules and etiquette
Running live virtual training is very similar to any other training programmes – it is very important to setup the ground rules. On top of that, we need to be mindful that the session is taking place in a virtual classroom via videoconferencing, so proper video etiquette should be observed. You can read more on video etiquette here.
Eric Wong left Polycom as of March 2015. This blog post is his personal view and reflective of his thoughts while at Polycom.