Chief Learning Officer magazine is a trademark of Mediatec Publishing Inc. All clomedia.com and Chief Learning Officer magazine content Copyright 2013 MediaTec Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved. It is illegal to copy, reproduce or publish any information contained on clomedia.com or in Chief Learning Officer magazine without express written permission from MediaTec Publishing Inc.
Collaborative Learning in the Virtual Workplace
As CLOs explore the possibilities available for virtual instructor-led learning, they will see that it can be even more effective than face to face.
Most office workers are quite familiar with the variety of online communications tools available, from e-mail to instant messaging to social networks. Over the last decade, the merging of phone and Internet services has led to easily available and often inexpensive technologies for video and audio conferencing, webinars and shared desktops, surveys and instant polling.
Unfortunately, as training programs move online, they tend to lose many of the collaborative components that have made these new technologies so effective in other domains. In many cases, lively interactive group sessions are replaced by tedious conference calls and presentation-heavy webinars. It’s no wonder participants tend to lose focus and start multi-tasking, treating learning events as welcome opportunities to catch up on e-mail. Many trainers report that their biggest challenge is keeping participants engaged.
There are four proven strategies to create more effective collaborative learning sessions with a distributed workforce. They address session design, participant engagement and the appropriate use of technology to conduct virtual instructor-led training, as well as facilitation of productive brainstorming sessions and team collaboration exercises with participants in multiple places. When done right, collaboration tools enable critical thinking, action research, case study analysis, problem solving, reflective learning, coaching and assessment.
Apply Successful Tactics From Face-to-Face Events
The need to transition from face-to-face to online events often brings up a sense of fear and trepidation. While comfort with technology and the Internet is generally high, instructors fear the loss of competency and control when they are no longer at the front of the room, and they miss the visual cues they rely on to sense the levels of attention, engagement, understanding and agreement.
Everything we already know about running good meetings still applies. Most learning organizations already know how to design effective collaborative learning events face to face, so this is the place to start. Moving to a virtual or blended learning format provides an opportunity to revisit objectives and reconsider the learning components, such as presentation from an expert; private study or reading; assessments and surveys; case studies and simulations; small group exercises; brainstorming and idea generation; problem-solving; and action learning. By revisiting each element and how it fits within the overall learning design, instructors can identify separate and distinct activities that can be redesigned for a virtual format.
Leveraging the Latest in Brain Science to Deliver the Next Generation of E-Learning
May 29th 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Get the Magazine