Transform Live, Instructor-led Training into a Virtual Program

August 05, 2021 | 897 Views

Transform Live, Instructor-led Training into a Virtual Program

Colby Hutchinson, OCEM, ACI

Senior Director of Global Customer Experience | IAA, Inc.

This article first appeared in Hotel Management Magazine.

One of Best Western Hotels & Resorts’ most daunting challenges of 2020 was taking a legacy training program for new general managers that was entirely live and instructor-led to an all-virtual delivery.

The numbers in themselves were daunting. This critical cultural training program had been around for more than 20 years, and we train more than 300 new GMs in more than 2,100 locations in North America per year. We would need to work with more than 50 subject matter experts across 11 departments to accomplish the goal.

As the team brainstormed a solution, we focused on one major challenge—subject matter experts in most organizations are not instructional designers and can tend to stuff 10 pounds of information in a 5-pound bag. They have a lot of knowledge and content, but how could we make the content manageable and engaging for the learner in a virtual setting?

A collaborative process emerged that can be broken down into a simple six-step “content planner” process:

1. “Chunk” the content

Get the SMEs to think of their content in small, micro-learning bites. While the “chunks” roll up into a bigger piece, each can stand on its own and make sense.

2. Define the goals of the content

Identify what the learners need to take away from each section. To do this, we leveraged Bloom’s Taxonomy, which defines levels of learning in a more granular way that helped the SMEs attach goals to each level.

3. Define required content

This is where the need-to-know is separated from the nice-to-know. In many cases we were able to take a three-hour, in-person course to a 90-minute virtual session.

4. Select the delivery method

The training team then selected one of three channels of delivery for the content: an interactive e-learning platform, virtual live through Zoom or prerequisite work via our learning-management system.

5. Make it engaging

This is where all the activities that will make the training interactive and thought-provoking are added. We provided the SMEs a list of about 10 à la carte options to most effectively reinforce the learning of each section’s content. This step had the unintended benefit of the SMEs discovering new and creative ways to deliver content in the most engaging way.

6. Plan time for the content

As the SMEs looked back at the content chunks, it was determined that seven- to 10-minute segments of time for each “chunk” worked best. That piece of content was then reinforced with the activity.

As the final step in the process, we migrated all of our content planner documents into a web-based project-management tool using Gantt board views. This tool takes collaboration to a new level because subject matter experts can upload all of their content to one central location.

Virtual learning is here to stay. No matter the size of your organization, this straightforward process can help enhance collaboration, deliver more focused and interactive content, and improve outcomes for learners.

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