What is online (or virtual) learning?
Learn about the differences between a facilitator vs. a trainer.
Facilitated training can either be in-person in a physical room, or online in a virtual classroom. Online learning is also called virtual training, eclassroom or synchronous online learning. To facilitate an online course, the facilitator uses a virtual meeting platform like WebEx, Adobe Connect or Zoom .
When would you use in-person learning vs. online learning?
- Invest in a meeting platform that includes breakout rooms so you can replicate small group discussions and activities.
- Take the time to design for online delivery – it’s not the same as in-person and requires creativity and an understanding of the platform’s capabilities.
- Invest in a producer to manage the technology so the facilitator can focus on the learning and the employees’ experience.
- Support your facilitator if they are new to online delivery – provide them with training and coaching so they can be confident and effective.
What is the instructional design process for online learning programs?
I follow the same instructional design process for facilitated learning as I outlined here.
- Create a High-Level Design – This includes the performance objective, learning objectives, ‘flow’ or sequence of learning. The high-level design is a continuation of the needs assessment and lays the foundation for the training evaluation.If the course is online, the High-Level Design should identify the virtual platform, any technology constraints, if there will be a producer as well as a facilitator and the types of functionality the platform can accommodate (e.g., polls, raising hand, breakout rooms).
- Create a Detailed Design – This expands on the High-Level Design by incorporating specific timing and detailing the learning activities in facilitated learning.The detailed design for an online course needs to include high-level detail for the producer so there’s clarity between the facilitator and producer roles.
- Create the materials – The Facilitator Guide for an in-person course and a virtual course are quite different. The most significant difference is the level of detail. A Facilitator Guide for a virtual classroom needs to be highly scripted because the activities should be changing every 2 to 3 minutes. If there is a producer, I also include a producer column to highlight what needs to happen with the technology.
- Support the client in implementing the course – I find clients may need more support if they are new to online learning. I have worked with facilitators to coach them as they transition from delivering in-person to online. I have also assumed the ‘producer’ role to support facilitators getting started.
Where can you learn more?
Learn about in-person and elearning design
Instructional Design: In-person
COURSE: FROM ‘WING IT’ TO WOW – ONLINE DESIGN AND FACILITATION
Performance Matters offers a 6-week online program, From ‘Wing it’ to Wow, where participants design a program for online delivery.
- 6-online modules over six weeks.
- Learn a process and receive templates to reduce design time.
- Get support to redesign a course so it’s as good as or better than in-person.
Click here to learn more.
- Cindy Hugget’s book, The Virtual Training Guidebook: How to design, deliver, and implement online learning is a great resource with many helpful techniques to get started with virtual learning.
- The Institute for Performance and Learning (I4PL) has identified this as a core competency for learning professionals. Click here to learn how they structure this competency.
- Monthly newsletters and posts:
- Engineering Program for Online delivery – online/blended design
- Training and Accreditation standards – included online design and delivery
- Coaching Role-plays in Virtual Classroom – online design
- Sr. Leadership Development Program – online/blended design, on-the-job application, conference design and project work
- Electrical Engineering Online Certificate – blended design (online, elearning)