We recently ran a series of free live online training sessions in celebration of National Learning at Work Day. Feedback from the sessions reporting that 90% of participants learnt something new and 100% willing to recommend live online training to others having completed a session(http://www.brightwave.co.uk/blog/the-virtual-classroom-ideal-for-ad...).
I wondered if anyone had attempted to implement a VC or live online training service in their organisation, and if so were there any barriers that were highlighted in that process?
One of the main barriers I face is there is a need for a change in learning culture, or rather an organisation's resistance to that need.
That comes from all levels, not just from the management, and not least of all from the trainers themselves who soon realise the potential of VCs and start to wonder how it affects their long-term future if it reduces classroom time (rather than see the opportunities to upskill and add strings to their respective bows).
Previously a colleague and I have tried with limited success to 'sell' VCs to the organisation, but with less than slick presentations we probably weren't doing the VC justice - so, the very people trying to promote their use were a barrier (!). I am at the start of my COLF qualification with the aspiration that if I can promote VCs in a more professional, and informed way, then buy-in will be greater; to let it's use grow.
Hope that helps?
Thanks Dave, that's very helpful.
Did you find that in the case where there was reluctance from senior management and other stakeholders that this was mainly due to the presumption that they might face trouble in tracking its success (and ROI) compared to that of a more traditional delivery method? Or simply that the learning curve for the company and it's employees was too great?
I can see why initially f2f trainers might be put off by the VC, I certainly don't think it's a replacement for classroom training or other forms of online training, but it does work well as part of a blended solution. I'm sure you will agree that we should always be looking to use technology to enhance the learning experience not as a way of transporting subject material onto new platforms for the sake of it (as was the case in the early days of e-learning), otherwise there is a danger that we get caught up in the hype of new technologies and lose sight of what the user needs, and, ultimately what the business needs.
The reluctance is certainly partly around tracking success, yes, but that seems well balanced by the 'obvious' cost-sheet savings relating to less travel, less abstraction, etc. etc. It just seems to be a culture of general negativity to all things 'e' - the result of poor experiences in the past of e-learning, bad webinars, dodgy technology. It's a slow process to be able to turn that mindset around.
As a consequence to that we can only really hope to get VCs into a blend; nothing more radical would be agreed to, simple as that. Lucky that's where it fits so well ;o)
I'm planting the acorn, no idea how big I can get my mighty oak to be, only time will tell.
My organisation supports staff training for staff based in hospitals across the South East Coast region and was doing this by study days. We have been moving to blended learning with some success, using both a Moodle VLE for asynchonous course work and WebEx for a small number of briefing type events.
The lesson we have leant is that checking out the hardware available to your learners is vital and make sure that computers have any downloads needed well in advance. Downloads often mean that learners have to get a job request scheduled as they don't have permissions - so a five minute download may be subject to a three day wait.
Simple things like are there sound cards? and letting your learners know how to turn the sound on are really important. The acceptability of the technology is often based on learners' first impressions when using it, though they report that not having to travel is a definite advantage.
Virtual learning, both formalised (scheduled) and informal (learner initiated) is now business as usual at IBM. I've been attending, hosting and planning virtual learning events since 2006. The main barriers I experience are related to motivating learners to attend. IBM has a highly mobile and matrix managed workforce, where conference calls, virtual meetings and online communities form a big part of most employees day-to-day working experience. There can be a bit of social networking and collaboration fatigue when this virtual existence is taken to extremes. Virtual has clear advantages and some very real (and measurable) benefits to business, but it does not foster a sense of collective identity or team spirit - for all its advantages, virtual learning is a pretty soulless experience.
Now, who wants to join me for a web 2.0 pint down a the virtual arms?
Thanks Barbara and Paul some very interesting feedback here. And I might take you up on that virtual pint Paul!