Making the Shift to Virtual Coaching – by Diana L. Howles

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As difficult as disturbance is, instances of disturbance may spark innovation. These phases force us to change what we have consistently done. According to author Charles Duhigg within his publication Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, innovation can emerge from disturbance and tension”if we’re eager to embrace that desperation and upheaval and attempt to see our old ideas in new ways.”
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may feel like we have been disrupted and dove into a world of all things. When classrooms are fresh to you personally, there are many questions you have. To help with this transition, here are some principles to consider as you make the shift to training.

The adage”a fish does not know it’s in water until it’s beached” informs us that one’s lens varies dramatically when viewpoint changes. Let us apply this to training. As soon as we shift content from training to virtual shipping, we may begin to find weaknesses in learning style that is original. This shift gives. By way of example, in a wrapper that is brand new you will discover a instructional method was used too much in your in-house training. In the virtual environment, you might experiment instead with inductive methods like presenting challenges for learners to resolve in your online classroom. By keeping them actively involved in the learning process, methods may lessen or task-switching. Look for ways to increase your instructional design as you transition content into the virtual classroom.
Principle #2: Realize it’s not an apples to apples swap
It’s a frequent error to think that an specific replica of a six-hour training can be converted into a six-hour, virtual training session. Even though this may be tempting, it’s not best practice for several reasons. Because they are different mediums, in-person training is not an equal exchange with a classroom. Remember when radio announcers appeared on tv? Originally, radio broadcasters spoke into a microphone just as they had done but with a camera placed in front of them and read scripts. They realized its potential once they began to experiment with tv. Virtual instruction differs than in-person training as it requires more interaction with participants, removing technical barriers, confirming participants’ comments, frequent visual movement, more visuals (the reverse of static slides), adding in additional breaks and shortening chunks of time online because everyone is looking at screens, player prompting, frequent instructor feedback, and more.
Principle #3: Leverage creative and relevant usage of platform tools
One way to engage virtual learners is to leverage the tools shared among platforms. Be careful to not utilize them for the sake of using them. Exercises applicable to the subject, must be substantive and thoughtful, and accomplish learning objectives creatively. Some common tools incorporate virtual hand increasing so participants may unmute and join live discussion, Q/A pod, collaborative whiteboard, polling, randomizer tool, break-out rooms for smaller group work and discussion, and the chat queue. Chat is easily the most popular and can be offered in all modern platforms like Blackboard Collaborate, and Adobe Connect, WebEx GoToTraining. Break-out rooms also have definitely improved through the years, and in Zoom, for instance , break-out participants can remain on camera. Turning on the webcam of the instructor is helpful explain exercises to welcome learners, direct discussions, and conduct additional tasks so learners can read instructors’ nonverbal cues and facial expression. Use of annotation tools such as arrow pointing also help learners, circling, and highlighting know where to concentrate attention on instructional materials that are projected.
Principle #4: Use a blended learning strategy
A blended learning approach often works best with virtual instruction. This means that in addition to providing online instruction through a virtual platform, the instruction is blended with learning actions that are post-work and pre-work. By way of example, before and/or after the virtual session, learners may be required to complete an eLearning tutorial, listen to a podcast, complete a mission, review an infographic, read an article, answer manifestation questions, complete pages from a workbook, view a connected LinkedIn Learning class, or see a blog. This way course time is freed up for high levels of learning such as example review, discussion, application, analysis, and evaluation. This approach primes the student ahead of time and comprises spaced repetition throughout. This is the”flipped” virtual classroom version.
Principle #5: Satisfy instructors with manufacturers
To relieve the strain of managing the logistics and specialized pieces of the virtual platform, it works well to pair an instructor with a producer for the entirety of their training. Manage the technical aspects of the platform, in addition to the producer’s part is to bookend the session. By incorporating this supportive function, it enables the coach to concentrate on the content and do what they do best–teach. For example, tech manufacturers can manage technical issues, welcome participants, set netiquette (things to bear in mind while online), supply a succinct platform tour, introduce the presenter, medium the chat, field questions, close the session, etc..
Concerning the possibilities instruction offered the field of learning, I taught a couple of attendees in a seminar in Orlando, Florida in the 2000’s. I had coordinated by a colleague from Wisconsin to join the virtual platform in Orlando’s time zone to help establish its ability to a live crowd. My colleague successfully joined through her restricted webcam and audio using Placeware. We had no way of knowing that two years later, several virtual training platforms could exist for a world desperate to stay connected.
In this time of uncertainty, one thing is sure. Virtual training will continue to evolve and is here to stay. In a post-COVID vaccine era, we know that we may teach across distance time, and distance. By incorporating and experimentation with some of these fundamentals, continue to innovate and find what works best for your learners. It’s times like these when being virtual is an option, but a necessity.

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