Five Considerations: Face-To-Face Vs Online Training
This blog post by Mark Berthelemy, an expert in solving digital problems, supports the first session in our series of free 'How To' Webinars. These were developed to support trainers who need to rapidly move their learning provision to wholly online. You can watch the recording on GoTo Webinar: How To Move Training Online - A Trainer's Quick Start Guide.
In a previous post, we looked at five differences between online and face-to-face training.
In this one, we start getting down to some practicalities - looking at the things that you'll need to think about as you move into online training.
This isn't a comprehensive list. There is masses of advice out there. But hopefully it will give you a starting point.
One of the main benefits of online learning is being able to fit it into your personal schedule. We lose that benefit when we force people to attend online meetings and webinars.
However there is a place for both scenarios.
Online meetings, phone calls and text chats are great if people need to bounce ideas off each other or just to connect socially. So they're an important part of any online learning programme.
Asynchronous methods like watching videos, working through elearning materials, reading and commenting on documents, and contributing to discussion forums allow people to choose when they participate. If you want to get maximum benefit from the online environment, they are likely to be the bulk of your activities.
Do you want a global audience? Or are you limited to working with specific groups of people?
It's actually far easier to work globally, as you can then use the consumer-focussed media systems like Youtube or Soundcloud. Your administration and delivery costs will be greatly reduced. And you get the benefit of free global marketing.
As soon as you decide to limit access to content, then you will increase your administration and systems costs.
Whenever I design any learning programme, whether online or face-to-face, I always ask myself three questions about each stage:
- What will the learners do?
- What will the teacher do?
- What resources do we need?
I try to aim for things to be weighted towards learners being active, rather than teacher presentation. This helps keep people motivated and engaged.
The exception is when I'm creating materials designed purely for consumption (eg. videos, articles etc). These are based on the assumption that the users of those materials are 'pulling' them based on an immediate need. The activity part then comes from the learner putting things into practice.
4. What Existing Tools?
Do you already use online collaboration suites like Office 365 or G-Suite? Or project tools like Trello? Or social apps like LinkedIn or WhatsApp?
Any or all of these could form the platform through which you deliver your online training.
An LMS isn't essential, although it may be useful. I'd suggest start with what you have, and learn lessons. Then you'll have a much better idea of what you need from a system when you come to upgrade.
Training isn't just about learning. You'll need to consider the whole end-to-end experience, and much of that is purely administration and processes.
- How will learners know how to join?
- Will they be in groups? Who will set them up?
- How will you set up login accounts?
- How will you provide technical support?
- How will you keep track of support queries to ensure they're dealt with?
People will be forgiving at first, but I'd advise you get these things sorted quickly.
Note from Stephen Hinde, Community Manager for Ufi VocTech Trust
The 'How To' webinar series from Ufi is an evergrowing catalogue of knowledge which was introduced to support and ensure teaching and learning still happens during the restrictions arising from Covid-19. While the sessions were built to support immediately during the outbreak, a lot of the information and learnings can still be transferred into the future to supoprt the way learning happens.
See Mark's previous blog which explored five differences between online and face-to-face training.