Posts Tagged virtual training

Training As If Your Life Depended On It

Would you ever think of sending an untrained fireman into a burning building? Are your employees equally prepared for what they may face in their jobs?

A recent edition of The Economist reported on the fact that computer-based simulation is now being used to train the military. The trend of training military personnel by immersion in a simulation of life-threatening situations, battles and maneuvers did not necessarily come as a surprise to me. The part that did surprise me was the fact that in these training exercises, circuits are attached to trainees, giving them electrical shocks when they make a wrong move. Such shocks represent being hit, or even killed, by enemy fire. That’s one heck of a way to motivate an individual and truly engage them in the learning experience!

It led me down a path of thinking: what if we did the same thing. What if there was a clear and painful consequence of not staying engaged in the training, missing something of importance or failing to implement what was learned. We too could offer training as if the learner’s life depended on it. It wasn’t long though before the somewhat happy state of thinking about gaining participant’s attention in this way reversed back around, leaving me to wonder just how prepared we are, as learning professionals, to construct training in such a way that we could be sure we are “shocking” the right individual at the right time and for the right reason. The Economist article on military training simulations talked about the dramatic lengths the program designers must go to in order to ensure the training is relevant, up-to-date and realistic and that it truly factors in all of the variables that may impact performance on the job. Isn’t this what separates most simulations from real-life experiences?

Consider this: how often have we facilitated role plays, case studies or exercises in our training programs that may offer some degree of learning benefit but fail to capture the complexity of real-world situations? It is my belief that this is yet another reason why so many training courses being offered today are questioned both by the learner and by the sponsor as to their real return. Do they simply offer a few tips and tricks, or do they offer real learning experiences?

I suggest, therefore, before we start hooking up our own learners to electric shocks, we need to look to ourselves first. How relevant is our training and how does it truly model what happens in the real-world? How do we break out of the tendency to drown people with new information in a physical classroom and how do we start coaching and supporting our learners—over time—as they implement and apply new skills and knowledge within the complexity of the real world in which we are asking them to perform. It’s time to rethink how we design and deliver training for today’s workforce!

On this note, 3GS recently presented at the CLO Spring 2012 Symposium, where we attended various sessions and met with senior leaders in learning. Throughout the many conversations we had, we noted a clear focus on the future of learning and on the virtual classroom. While there were many presentations on how to embrace social/mobile and virtual learning, there was a notable lack of thought leadership on how to put all of these great tools together in a way that would offer a more strategic approach to creating a continuous and blended learning environment.

As leaders in learning we have not only the opportunity, but the obligation, to rethink how we design and deliver learning but the key to success is not a simple case of doing what we have always done. It is not a case of simply moving content from the physical to the virtual classroom or offering training on a tablet or micro learning on a PDA. These tools give us more choices than ever but to truly engage learners and to deliver information and training to the right people at the right time our approach to design must be reconsidered.

With an eye toward laying out a vision of what truly effective virtual training can and should look like, Nicki Bouton of 3GS delivered a session at last week’s CLO Spring Symposium that focused on designing effective learning experiences.  If you didn’t attend the conference I would invite you to download a copy of her presentation here or to register for a live recording click here.

Nicki’s session explored the following aspects of creating a blended and continuous approach to learning:

  • The model for live virtual training vs. physical classroom training
  • The critical difference between live and asynchronous virtual training, and how the chosen modality impacts effectiveness
  • The optimal architecture of a total, continuous learning environment
  • The top five traps that inhibit virtual training impact—and how to overcome them

3GS’s dynamic approach to live, instructor-led virtual training equips learning and development decision-makers with a convenient, cost-effective training approach that outperforms both the physical classroom and basic webinar-style virtual training in the areas of learner engagement, training results and business impact.

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Discovering the Power of Broadcast Media in Training

Business survival in the 21st century requires effective ways to transfer knowledge and train a new generation of the professional workforce. This means we need to make the most of new technologies—not just port 20th and even 19th century learning techniques from the physical classroom onto the web. But adopting new technologies does not mean we should discard the best of time-proven communications techniques.

For more than a decade, I ran a successful sales and marketing consulting company. One night, while I was in a hotel room after a long day attending a conference, I decided to watch a TV documentary about 19th century firearms in the hopes that it would put me to sleep. Instead, a few minutes into the program, I was hooked and watched the entire program with complete attentiveness.

Here’s the epiphany that came of that experience: If a documentary of no intrinsic interest could engage me so completely, why not apply these same broadcast techniques to virtual training? After months of researching broadcast media studios, visiting media departments at academic institutions, and meeting with other media specialists, we built live virtual training programs that integrate broadcast media techniques with the best practices of training. We chose the live versus the asynchronous approach because of the highly interactive and collaborative possibilities that can come only from live discussion.

In the past year, more than 600 live virtual training sessions have been produced in our studios. Topics range from management and coaching to sales, leadership, and communications training. Each 75-minute session is anchored by a host, who is professionally trained in broadcast media. The host is paired with an expert in a particular subject matter. The set also includes a producer, who facilitates live chat and audio input by the 22 or fewer participants. Most training requires 5 to 10 sessions, spread out over a period of a few weeks or months.

The limited time and number of participants keeps things lively. In one session, we’ve had participants from three different continents—all in different time zones and with different native languages—conversing by phone and live chat with our host, our subject expert, and with each other. By keeping the content of each session fresh and varied, participants stay engaged and alert. We include multimedia elements, including video, animations, and graphics, and comment on completed work assignments, which are assigned at the end of each session.

The trick to building a successful live virtual training program is to be creative. And who is more creative than the entertainment industry?

Here are six lessons we learned in improving live virtual training:

  1. Delivery is the key to success. If you can truly engage your participants, you’re more than halfway there.
  2. Adopting techniques from the entertainment industry, such as broadcast media, is a powerful way to engage your audience while avoiding the drudgery of PowerPoint presentations and top-down lectures.
  3. Scripting is important, but so is spontaneity. Surprise and variety are definitely the spice and seasoning of any training experience.
  4. Pairing trainers with broadcast media professionals experienced in engaging participants is a highly effective way to engage the audience.
  5. Collaboration on work assignments creates greater accountability among participants.
  6. Instead of using case studies, integrate real-life work projects into your training.

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3g Selling Featured in A New Adobe Connect Success Story

3g Selling Adobe Connect With the dynamic, broadcast media-style delivery of our live virtual training programs, 3g Selling knows how to put online training and collaboration platforms through their paces!

Recognizing our best-in-class use of the Adobe Connect platform, Adobe recently launched a Customer Success Story about us and how we’re pushing the platform to offer our customers a richer online learning experience.

Check out the writeup on the Adobe Connect Blog, where you can also download the Success Story.

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On-Demand Webinar: Breaking Down the Walls of the Physical Classroom

On Thursday 3.17.2011, 3g Selling broadcast a new webinar, “Breaking Down the Walls of the Physical Classroom: A Vision for Continuous Learning in a Technology-Enabled World.”

We’ve made a recording of that webinar available here, together with other webinar resources.

Thanks to the hundreds of learning and development leaders who registered for and attended the webinar. What an exciting dialogue we started about the future of live virtual training!

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New 3g Selling Webinar: “Breaking Down the Walls of the Physical Classroom”

We’re very pleased to announce  a new webinar from 3g Selling titled “Breaking Down the Walls of the Physical Classroom: A Vision for Continuous Learning in a Technology Enabled World.” It will be broadcast on Thursday, March 17, 2011 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. PT.

Register for the webinar here.

This webinar is a must-attend event for L&D leaders and training decision-makers looking to optimize and increase the impact of their overall training mix. We look forward to having you at the event.

Webinar Description
As workforces have become more geographically dispersed, more mobile and more reliant upon multi-threaded, continuous learning approaches, live virtual training is beginning to take center stage in the organizational training strategy. Simultaneously—and for precisely the same reasons—the effectiveness and relevance of physical classroom training has diminished greatly.

In this exclusive webinar, Martyn Lewis, Principal at 3g Selling, will explore key societal and learning trends that have fundamentally changed the way training experiences must be designed and delivered.

Focusing on learner engagement and motivation, the webinar will provide a pragmatic perspective on today’s numerous learning modalities and which work best for different learners in different contexts. We’ll then look at how—with live virtual as the centerpiece of the organizational training strategy—these modalities can fit together to create an effective and continuous learning environment.

In the webinar, you will see and learn:

  • Societal and learning trends that have changed the face of training
  • How and why live virtual training has emerged as the centerpiece of the organizational training strategy
  • Why physical classroom training has diminished in effectivenss and relevance
  • What drives learner motivation and engagement in today’s world
  • The different manifestations of virtual: why real-time collaboration and interaction is still crucial to training results
  • How numerous training modalities can fit into your overall training mix to create an optimal (and ongoing) training experience

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