In a previous blog I talked about how to run online training sessions effectively – but how do you make the most of this learning environment when you are a participant?
In the current climate of doing ‘more with less’ more companies are starting to look at delivering live training via the web as a means of both scaling training to a wider audience and reducing travel time and costs. Whilst the participants we’ve worked with have appreciated the convenience of online training, many would still prefer getting together face-to-face, especially when the training is about behaviours and skills.
So, how do you make the most of live training via the web?
Here are our top 3 tips:
1. Focus – be clear about your learning objectives beforehand Read the course overview and create a relevant and clear goal for what you want to get out of the training. If it helps, write it down and stick it somewhere visible as a prompt while you are in the training. Be proactive in achieving your objective and keep asking yourself how you will apply the course content to meet your objective. And if the course isn’t giving you what you need? Don’t just drift away. Ping a private chat message to the trainer, ask pertinent questions or talk to the trainer in a break to let them know what you want. Trainers don’t get as much visual feedback in an online session so they will welcome your requests.
2. Be present It’s easy to assign a lower priority to online learning than to a classroom session – but don’t! Treat them with equal importance and book the time in your calendar.
- Set up your ‘out of office’, shut down your email and turn off your phone. Most courses will give you lots of short breaks so you can respond to anything urgent. And some online meeting programmes, like WebEx Training Center, will tell the trainer if you’re not on the shared screen so expect your name to be called if you flip over to your emails!
- Be in the right place! Although in theory we can ‘work from anywhere’ the reality is a little more challenging. Joining a training session from your local coffee shop may be nice in principle but it often results in flaky wireless which drops out, poor voice quality (whether over VoIP or mobile) and too much background noise for others to hear what you are saying. Find somewhere with decent, reliable internet and voice connections where you won’t be disturbed or distracted, make sure you can sit comfortably and have plenty of drinks and snacks handy if thirst or hunger may become a distraction.
- Get kitted out! A headset means you don’t have to hold the phone for extended periods of time and a webcam means that others can see you – the more people connected by webcam the more of a sense of the classroom rapport you will get.
- Participate and ask questions – not just of the trainer but of your colleagues. Ask your peers for their experiences and how they plan to apply learning from the training which might help you to meet your objectives.
3. Be aware of your learning style and energy levels. We all learn differently and have different energy and attention patterns. Be aware of yours and how online or remote training helps or hinders you in learning. Well designed training should try to accommodate different learning styles but you may need to make it work for you. If you like to learn by doing, keep engaged in chat windows and activities. Offer to be the scribe or spokesperson in break out sessions. If you are a pragmatic learner, keep your objective in mind and ask the trainer and colleagues to apply the content to real life situations with you. Whatever your preferred learning style, be mindful of how this will influence your engagement in the training and figure out how to make the session productive for you.
So, does remote / online training work for you or is a waste of time? What are your top tips? Please add your comments below.effective learners, Online / remote training, online learning, online training delivery, remote training, WebEx training delivery