With the imposition of lockdowns in Victoria, businesses have had to find different ways to maintain the currency of their employees that does not rely upon face-to-face learning.
The advent of real time on-line training has been one way to keep employees up to date as well as compliant with either WorkSafe’s interpretation of legislation, such as refresher training for asbestos removalists, or to comply with the businesses own internal training/competency policy.
Having delivered over 60 on-line training courses in the past 18 months over several different platforms, the following are some of my observations.
From the perspective of a trainer, engagement with participants is a challenge, as is the general to and fro discussions and exploration of ideas that is a feature of face-to-face delivery. However, various online software systems have the capability to create separate teams for some of the group activities that would be conducted in a class-room environment.
What trainers need to be wary of is sharing a screen, rather than an application. Sharing a screen means if you swap applications by Alt Tab, the viewers see what you see such as your emails. Headsets are great for communication as they prevent extraneous noise, such as the dog barking or eating the chair, and means you can turn in any direction. Having the ability to mute attendee microphones individually allows you to manage feedback noise. Just make sure you take them off mute during discussions.
The positive aspect of on-line is that attendees do not have to travel to any specific location, especially if they are regionally based. The potential time lost just on travel to a training facility is avoided by attending the on-line training either at their workplace or from their own home, IT systems willing. Furthermore, more frequent users of the technology have overcome the issues of connectedness and will actively engage in discussions or use the chat bar to start a more in-depth conversation.
Some organisations are engaging with a mixed training and assessment mode. Theory is delivered on-line, and the practical assessments conducted on a separate day at their workplace. This mode minimises the time spent in enclosed spaces, and in some instance, eliminates it all together.
Now that many people have experienced on-line training, and for the many widely geographical spread people, it may become a complimentary mode of training delivery to the face-to-face learning we are all familiar with.