For large organizations—or for any audience scattered around the world—creating and sustaining an effective training presence is a challenge. Online learning is the key, but success is not guaranteed. Here are some ways to affordably extend your reach.
Long distance training is challenging. As a trainer, one of your best tools is your connection or rapport with a live audience—something that’s often missing in virtual encounters. The high cost of being physically present makes an all-live approach impractical for those with limited time and budgets. There are practical ways to overcome this, however, especially with the right application of video.
1. Do the Time Warp Again
Members of your audience usually live and work in widely scattered time zones. They also have busy schedules and limited travel budgets. Reaching them at their convenience is paramount. On-demand video is the perfect way to extend your teaching for viewing and interaction on their connected device—at any time or place.
But let’s be real. Long lectures are hard enough to consume live; they can be deadly when presented as “blobs” of passive online content. Your video must not only be asynchronous—available anywhere, in any time zone—but also searchable, scannable, and (above all) interactive. The learner must be able to participate: asking questions, joining discussions, answering questions, and even responding with his or her own video exercises.
To make video an effective time-zone-bridging medium, it has to be more than a long, recorded lecture.
2. Blend, Blend, Blend
Even the best video solution is all the better for being part of a holistic learning strategy. Live training events are still extremely valuable. When supplemented by online learning—especially video—they can become even more so.
How is this done? An interactive, video-based lesson before the live event can greatly enhance the latter. If student comments, questions, or discussions are submitted (at the timeline level) in a preparatory video, the instructor who reads them will be better able to prepare a great lecture. He or she will better know the students, their inclinations, and their level of understanding.
Using interactive video after a live event also enhances the entire learning process. With the right tools, instructors can reinforce what was taught in the live session—asking questions and prompting discussions within the online video timeline.
3. Keep It Bite-Sized
No matter how good your lecture style, make sure your video content is presented in small, easy-to-consume portions. Longer lectures should be divided into logical segments—with exercises, response opportunities, or questions inserted between each segment. (At the very least, a long video should be clearly marked into chapters, made searchable, and playable at different speeds.)
4. Make It a Dialog—Not a Monolog
Typical, YouTube-style (or Netflix-style) video is a one-way experience. Good training and eLearning should be a two-way exchange. The video component of your training must be the latter, but that’s hard to do with an online, asynchronous process. By allowing discussion board conversations to occur at the timeline level, and by enabling students’ webcams and mobile devices, the resulting video dialog can become a powerful training tool.
5. Know Your Audience
A good instructor knows his students—not just whether they’re paying attention, but also how much they’re comprehending. The right online video technology can help accomplish both tasks. User-specific analytics can track who watched what video, how much they watched, and even whether they were actually watching or playing solitaire instead. More importantly, in-video questions and comments can give the instructor real insights as to the student’s comprehension level, and progress towards a measurable goal.
With all the distractions, hectic work schedules, and cost constraints of modern life, good training and learning can still happen—even when live events become a luxury. The right application of online video can do the trick.