|Bonus Focus - Four Strategies for Transforming Virtual Classrooms into Strategic Differentiators|
Four Strategies for Transforming Virtual Classrooms into Strategic Differentiators
By Roger Courville
The world of L&D is changing. Unfortunately virtual classrooms are underutilized, and programs are like bad webinars. Learners leave yawning, and the results you're looking for are elusive.
The good news is that transforming your use of virtual classrooms into a strategic asset isn't rocket science.
Identify and Communicate ROI Beyond Saving Travel
Training in a virtual classroom will save some money, to be sure, but often there are other benefits that will deliver the impact you need. For example:
Commit to Adapting to the Medium
By analogy, you can tell a story in a book or a movie, but we understand the skill to do it well is quite different for each. Unfortunately, more often than not we tend to apply old paradigms to new media until we develop a new approach.
Moving some part of your curriculum into virtual classrooms will create the most value when you optimize for the unique qualities of the new medium.
Pursue Mastery in the Four Dimensions of Engagement
Attention is a scarce resource, and if learners don't show up from the neck up, they miss your message. The antidote is to avoid focusing on "using virtual classroom software” and refine your skill in four distinct areas that impact attention, cognition and retention.
Consider Using an Upside-Down Model for Some Content
If you're like most trainers, you've got more content than you ever get a chance to share. The risk is, as grandpa used to say, "Trying to squeeze fifty pounds of potatoes into a five-pound sack.”
Sales reps are good at finding answers and solving problems. What they need is meaning-making and context for decision making.
To make more room for discussion, reflection and application, blend the learning experience. Move some content to other accessible media forms and focus more virtual classroom time on human interaction.
The Bottom Line
Outside the C-suite, sales reps are usually some of the highest paid people in an organization. In other words, their time and attention is a precious resource.
It would be irresponsible to abandon all face-to-face training, but it would be equally irresponsible not to master the virtual classroom as part of your organization's learning strategy.
Done well, in fact, the virtual classroom will become an indispensible part of your strategy to deliver the learning necessary to keep sales reps on top of their game and ahead of the competition. And in the process, you become an indispensible asset to success as well.
Roger Courville is author of The Virtual Presenter's Handbook, The Virtual Presenter's 102 Tips for Online Meetings, and Successful Webinars with GoToWebinar. Learn more at http://thevirtualpresenter.com/roger-courville/.
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