Investment in virtual skills is imperative

We know that when anything is done well, we reap the rewards of it. Designing really good live online learning for your clients or staff is no exception, but the challenge is having the time and expertise to do it well, and maybe to know what a high performance session looks like.

In our research we found that 100% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that “virtual learning has the ability to improve individual and organisational capability”, which is brilliant.

So we know that doing live online learning well will have a positive impact on participants and therefore for the goals of the organisation overall.

In the foreword of the report, Donald H Taylor writes:

“If online delivery is now universally accepted as an option, there is another question to ask: just how good is it?”

Nearly two-thirds of people in our research are saying that they aren’t really sure what best practice is for virtual learning so it shows that there is space for improvement.

When the design and facilitation of live online learning doesn’t follow best practice, it has an immediate effect on the people attending – and I use the word attending quite specifically. Best practice includes interaction every 3-5 minutes, so if this isn’t planned and performed, then perhaps those on the session really are only attendees.

Virtual/hybrid learning and it’s impact on wellbeing

Our survey found that learning virtually affected people’s wellbeing, especially if the learning hasn’t been designed or facilitated well.

57% said it made them tired, 27% said they weren’t able to concentrate and 25% experienced eye or vision issues. Not surprising when you consider that we are working, meeting, learning and often relaxing and socialising all whilst focusing on screens.

We’ve all been tired in meetings and training sessions. When we aren’t involved our mind wanders, we have even less interest and that can make us feel sleepy. In his book Making It Meaningful Clark Quinn talks about:

“Taking learning from something to be endured to something with which people are willing to engage, even, maybe to something to be welcomed.”

You can also listen to the Lightbulb Moment podcast with Clark discussing experiential learning.

The way we create these engaging virtual experiences is through knowing what the best practice is for design and facilitation in live online learning. But another worrying statistic came from our research: that a third of organisations are not investing in virtual learning (31%) and don’t plan to (33%) in the 12 months from the survey.

We know that times are challenging and budgets are tight, but how can people improve at something with no investment? That investment doesn’t have to be consultation with an expert or training, it could be giving people the time to use and reflect upon free resources to implement and test in their own work.

It’s also about senior decision makers giving their staff the freedom and trust to work in a digital modality in a way that’s right for their context and participants. Digital and blended options work differently from the traditional classroom or university presentation model, which perhaps many people are used to.

There is such a wealth of research and practical information about the value of experience, and therefore activity, in learning, that professionals need to be able to flex their design muscles so that the facilitation has a great impact and isn’t just another knowledge dump.

If you’d like to know more about the current report, including recommendations for team development and strategic direction, then you can download the research report.

If you want to find out more about what we do and how, just join one of our free webinars!

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