Creating effective learning experiences in a virtual environment

In times of business disruption, learning and development is needed more than ever. But, how do you keep up momentum of your learning programs that are designed to be delivered face-to-face in the time of social distancing? Using common traditional corporate learning formats as examples, we'll share best practices for converting to virtual learning experiences.

Donna Lehman

And now I'd like to introduce you to your host Albertina Vaughn

Albertina Vaughn

Hello, everyone, and thank you for taking the time to be here. We recognize what a what a difficult time it is. This is the seventh webinar in our series leading through and beyond.

And our purpose here is to really share ideas. What might help you to keep your business moving forward. The series has spanned various topics from the perspective of your own personal leadership.

Keeping your people energized and caring for the health of your organization. This webinar is titled creating effective learning experiences in a virtual environment.

And today, so we're going to share this experience. And I think it's something that's challenging to most of us right now in organizational life.

Around all around the world. We are working remotely. We can't be together in the same room yet this is not stopping and I'd venture to say that we need leadership development and learning now more than ever.

And most of our learning programs in organizations rely on some elements of face to face interaction. So the question that we have today is how do we keep up the momentum of our learning program that we're planning to bring people together that we now need to do virtually

So let me start by introducing my esteemed colleagues from Korn ferry and then we'll delve deeper into this topic Treion Muller is our Chief product officer for our learning content strategy at KF digital he brings 15 years of experience in the L & D industry.

And he's the author of several publications, including the learning explosion nine rules to ignite your virtual classrooms, which will really come in handy.

Now, especially for this webinar. But in our work in general and learning. And I'm also pleased to introduce my colleague Hamaria Crockett

She is an executive coach and our current theory advanced practice. She also has about a decade of experience in the l&d world and has written several publications. The most recent includes the secrets of a career consultant, reduce your frustration on finding a new job, so welcome. Hello, Hamaria and Treion, really pleased that you could you could join us today and looking forward to hearing from you.

So, how we structured our time together is to really address the responses that have come in in our pre webinar survey question that we sent out yesterday.

So thank you to all of those who answered the question and contributed. The question we ask is, if you could identify kind of the biggest pain points.

That your organization is facing as it relates to going virtual with your learning programs. And so we're going to set up the calm to set this up as a conversation

A couple questions that will drive our agenda today is really as I started with. How do you take that in person workshop and convert it to be just as effective in a virtual environment.

Next, you know, how do we really drive engagement and accountability in our virtual learning have a sort of a logical next question, and then we're going to take a look specifically at coaching conversations now very intimate typically face to face conversation or prefer preferably and how do we really maximize that in in a virtual world.

And let me start by saying that I think it's important to state that, you know, virtual learning. It's not new. It has been around for a while and we are really drawn to it. It's scalable.

You can save a lot of money. You don't have to pay for travel. You can condense it into shorter format. So it's shorter in duration.

But, you know, many organizations have really only experimented with webinars and E learning, which you know is alone is is really not enough to get learning. It's a great way to disseminate content and you know you can have a very obvious test for understanding

But there were a lot of comments in your survey feedback about, you know, how do you really engage learners and that feels to me like the number one question that we're hearing

Is, you know, we want to go virtual. But how do you get individual to participate engage and actually apply what they learn so try out start with you. You've written a book on this topic you want to tackle this question for us.

Treion Muller

Sure, I think the greatest challenge we have is coming from a place of comfort as humans we like homeostasis. We like comfort.

And we come from a place where we've been teaching in the classroom in front of people for decades and centuries, actually. So we've been conditioned to expect certain things. So the biggest mistake we can make is assume

That we just have to throw out instructor led or in person materials into a digital online environment and then

Do the same thing because it's actually a very different experience. And the first thing I talk about when it comes to engagement is to remember

That important fact you have a different environment, you have a screen that you need to humanize and what people typically do is that they default to what they know.

They go into the things that you see on the screen right down the left hand side which is a virtual instructor led

In many experiences that I'm sure you have gone through you've seen something similar, where you have information sharing, but no real application.

No behavior change, no practice opportunities or very low practice opportunities, the sage on the stage. The talking head.

The sit back passive learning experience in low to no engagement death by PowerPoint time to catch up on emails. That's what people think I'm gonna catch about emails on the news and on my social media.

Because that's what we've been conditioned to do because people haven't taken the time to really prepare that experience for different completely different purpose. So you can't just do what you usually do is what I'm saying. In instructor led in the virtual classroom.


Yeah, I hear what you're saying Treion and I was thinking about this quite a bit, but

You know there is a time and a place for for a webinar or an E learning as part of the journey and and we're on a webinar right now where

You know, we're not intending for this to be an intimate learning experience. We've got thousands of people joining us around the world. And it's meant to disseminate information and start a conversation. Our purpose is not to

Start to drive accountability and test for behavior change and all those all those objectives that we put in our, in our learning programs. Right.


Straight difference

What we're doing, here's information sharing when we want to learning and development, we want that same kind of experience where we have in person.

That will return to the virtual accountability model. This is actually a model that a colleague and I came up with.

During the time of the swine flu that there was the last pandemic and actually the first pandemic of the 21st century.

We realized, wow, if this is going to affect the world like it did back in 2009 with the swine flu, we thought, oh dear, what can we do to make learning and development recession proof or pandemic proof.

And we realize them and we created this model be tested and failed and test and failed and have proven over half a million people have

Benefited from this model and then gone through this when we build a virtual experience around virtual accountability. So not only are your learners.

Trying to engage them but you holding them accountable to you as the facilitator and to the rest of the group. And you do that through verbal accountability.

Visual accountability and kinesthetic or movement and accountability there and you have to instructional design the experience

To include these accountabilities and then facilitate towards you have interaction. When you do this, by the way.

At least every minute, if not more, in one of these can capabilities or more. That's how you not only get engagement, but you actually get behavior change because you're holding people accountable.

So this is a model that we are you know rolling out here at conference as well and sharing with people through especially through virtual accountability in the virtual classroom experiences, but also in other things that coaching that Hamaria talk about, but you can you can hold people accountable in many instances, so that it can be effective.


Yeah, absolutely. And why don't we just share. I'm going to share this talk a little bit more about what this looks and feels like in terms of

Very interested in how the classroom has changed some of us who are joining today might might have not experimented as much with some of the newer newer ways to create accountability in the in the virtual classroom.

So what you see now as a screenshot of Adobe connected by the, by no means do you have to use Adobe Connect virtual accountability. But here's an example of

What the default setting in Adobe Connect is you get three layers you look on the right hand side, you see a red box around three layers.

And this is the first layer. It's a very traditional mindset and people talk to this for an hour or even a day. I've seen it been done.

When you use these three layers. It's a default setting. So in one of my books, one of the rules is don't default

So if you go to the next slide, you'll see an example and some of you asking in the Q AMP. A what examples of this virtual accountability. So in the next slide.

You'll see. Here's an example of how to use Adobe connected differently so that you create third

Virtual accountability opportunities. So here's an example of a breakout room. So yes, instead of just talking you and people

In groups speaking around the topic. In this case it's the adapt model and we Here we are saying for a one groups and deal with a next group D A PMT and you answer these questions, but look on the right hand side you'll see something that only the facilitators and the producer see

That is a facilitator notes that actually works a facilitator producers through what they should do and when they should do it.

So that it reduces stress for the facilitator and the producer this without guessing they don't have to float parts in

Polls or chat. It's built for them and you look on the further, right, to the right of that box you'll see there's a bunch of layers is 12 that you can see. So we built the virtual classroom experience around

A very engaging experience. So we would hear you would have for example the opportunity for people to speak at verbal each other's verbal accountability in their groups. They would be

Visually, looking at the model and applying what they learned there and then kinesthetic is typing into the chat pod in the pulpits so they are engaged the whole body and mind is engaged in that experience, instead of just sitting back and waiting for the facilitator to do all the

So that's just one small example of how you apply that model.

Thank you for sharing that. I think what I'm hearing is, you know, every few minutes, you need to do some activity some type of interaction.

And I love the I saw on there. The, the breakout rooms as well. I think that's another best practice right like how using breakout rooms to create that small group small group dialogue, what, what other best practices. Do you have

For the professionals who are migrating their face to face into the virtual classroom. Well, keep your classroom sizes with a group of people that are attending around the same that you then you would in a life experience and


What I tell people if you can. And let's say in a noisy area, tell them this the verbal accountability principle.

Tell them not to put their phones on mute and tell them often because people will be reminded to be reminded.

And have him speak up at any moment and say, oh, wait, wait. Can you explain that again like you would in a live setting.

Now takes a little bit of conditioning and expectations, but it's a great principle, he created a lively energetic experience that you can have that actually makes participation.

Higher participation rate in this experience, and you would in a live experience because people are afraid, especially if you're not using video keep lots of free to speak up, because they're not afraid of public speaking, if it's just a screen and typing in the chat.


I think that's really interesting and it, it makes me think, think about communication in general and how it's different.

Virtually versus face to face, and maybe Hamaria, we can we can shift into into the coaching environment because I'm thinking about coaching and most of the time our experiences got

You know, let's plan for face to face, face to face is ideal. It's more effective, these are general assumptions that that we have that people have

And oh, as a plan B. We can do a phone as a plan B we’ll we’ll get on get online and and do it that way. But we prefer face to face. And I know that you've been doing virtual coaching or phone coaching in our current very advanced practice for quite some time.

So I'm curious to hear about your experience having done a lot of face to face, as well as virtual

How do they compare and what do you really need to be mindful of when you're working in the virtual environment.

Hamaria Crockett

That's such a great question, Alebertina.

Thank you for asking. You know, a lot of times people they don't really know the difference or really know why there would be a difference between face to face, or even virtual

The virtual could be on the phone, or it could be utilizing a tool like zoom but there really are not, there's not that many differences.

The one major thing is, is the actual person that's doing the coaching because you can create a safe space on the phone, just like you can in person.

You can also go about asking questions and having those cues that one thing that's the difference that actually makes you either better coach least in my opinion.

Is the fact that you miss visual cues. So you can't see me smile. You can't see my hands moving, if I'm on the phone.

But it was the movie of those visual cues. It makes it so really have to listen. I really have to be very mindful of what the other person is saying.

And it even makes it more intimate for the coaching people that are made the coaches, you know, intimacy for ice or the international coaching Federation is so important.

So you want to be able to create that dialogue that's not noticeable if I'm on the phone.

And if I am able to have that amazing presence with the person on the phone, then I can ask powerful questions like, not worrying about the pandemic but asking what great happened with your week or

What did you learn in the process, or what have you been learning in the current process that you've been dealing with these changes.

We also are able to on the phone as well as on if we're on Zoom is to be able to create some motivation.

How can we continue with our conversation create goals recreate goals and also make it so that its interactive story on made some wonderful suggestions on what can be done in a virtual world, but those are the same exact principles that we would utilize one line or on the phone when we're coaching.

When my favorite parts about coaching on the phone, or even online. So we get to share resources. So we can use emerging technologies to be able to talk to

Individuals and continue the conversation we can send tip sheets. We can create a list of books that people can read. So as they continue to learn. We can create videos for them or even share videos.

And even create online materials specifically for the topic at hand. So it's not just there, you know, differences between face to face, online.

We really have to do more on as we can see now with online and utilizing the phone for the different types of things that we're going to be doing, especially moving forward and coaching.


Yeah, I like that idea and I hadn't thought about that, how it really opens up more avenues and more types of communication. Do you think about

Face to Face Meeting it's highly scheduled might be that might involve travel, whether that's flight or going to another building on your campus.

And other office for a meeting. There's travel time and there's a beginning, a middle and an end and it feels more like an event. Whereas if you're working virtually and coaching virtually it just opens up a lot more communication option.

That feels more now anyway. I agree.


And then we can be more human. I can be sitting in my PJs talking to you and my most helpful environment and into place that's Safe it's safe for me.

As the coach is safe for you as the Croce, and it really just makes it so that it's kind of a all of our biases are now.

And now you're just listening to my voice. So if I'm really speaking role or if I'm speaking. Hi.

If I am my rate of speech. You're really paying attention to who I am and what I'm saying. And that is what is so important when it comes to coaching and the experience

Even when it comes to E learning. You want to make sure that you are in tune and attentive to the experience. And that is really important when it comes to the virtual way of doing coaching.


Yeah, so I'm going to ask you them the controversial question. This all sounds great. Do you use your video for coaching and how does that enhance or detract from the experience


Well, I'll tell you, I don't like to use my video unless I really have to because then they have to comb my hair and Makeup

So I, I do sometimes we do help. We have coaches that do videos online. But actually, our clients prefer to be on the phone because it is a good they are able to be in the most comfortable place.

If they want to sit back and relax. They can be at their most comfortable themselves. They can be authentic during the conversation and they don't have to put on the face of put on the front that sometimes happens when you are on online or on a visual on a camera.


Yeah, I like that. And I think for Coaching you’re one on one, and you're mostly you're doing so much listening that you don't have the same dynamic of checking out like you would in a larger group experience.

So now Treion, What's your recommendation. When we think about the virtual classroom and we've got, you know, maybe 2030 or more you use the video. And do you have the participant video


Remember, The purpose for a virtual classroom is different than this kind of a meeting.

Which is this is information sharing its, its best ideas that kind of a thing.

When you actually have a learning and development experience. I wouldn't use the video, unless it's specifically for a purpose. Like you doing sales training and you want to see someone give a pitch.

To to the group using video that's fine. There's also some cultural reasons you may want to use video

To show up front to add credibility to the individual. And then at the end to close it out to show this a human behind the voice, but for the most part, like, like you has been talking about.

It doesn't add a lot of value. It also causes more stress to the facilitator, as we've discussed, but if you're going to use it, then this other fun things you can do. For example, I could share with you that this is where I am right now.

Waiting for the stock to come in. So that I can be this guy and prepared for the zombie apocalypse.

Just there's some fun things that we can do. With video but for the most part, I wouldn't use it.

I love it. I absolutely love it and I know where to go. If I need my supplies now.


This is great. I am loving all of these tips how to effectively use the virtual classroom tips for coaching, I think. Now let's guys let's shift into design example. So to see how this comes together.

We thought it would be helpful to share a real life design a real situation that that we're dealing with.

We have the opportunity to deal with because it's an interesting challenge. So let me go ahead and show you quite busy slide here, but I'm going to walk you through it.

What's on your screen is a typical leadership development program architecture. So a learning journey, if you will, across the top, you'll see there are three phases.

And the three phases in the original design are largely defined by three face to face sessions. That's what you see running across that top row of the cohort experience.

This is where we're bringing the whole group of 30 together in a conference center in the classroom.

And having very long days with lots of content. Lots of interaction, lots of activity lot of learning going on in the face to face. We delivered the first session in December.

To kick it off, we had planned on the second face to face being in March, which you know where I'm going. We have now delivered that virtually

And I'll tell you more about that. And then we're also planning that final Capstone session, which we're hoping will happen in in February, we still have that on the calendar.

We're not prepared to shift it to virtual yet, we would like to bring the group back together, but are learning from the session to is that if we need to do it virtually we're confident

And we'd be fine doing that with this group and how we structured things

What you see in the middle here are individual activities. These activities were always planned to happen in virtual space.

So we had always planned on doing some assessment to kick it off development planning. We've got some self directed learning in here. Some webinars and E learning folks can access and also coaching that runs across the whole experience.

So typical blended format we had also planned and now you can see also the shading here on the bottom row we have planned for some more face to face. In addition to the three residential

We had planned some pure consult consulting, as well as some learning groups to tackle their individual challenges and some business challenges that we had baked into the design.

So your typical high impact. This is where a high potential audience, hence the investment in a lot of time and in this robust learning journey. I'm sharing it because it's also kind of a best practice of design.

Alright, so what did we do with that march program was scheduled to be three days.

What we've done is we've shifted that we kept the date because it was such short notice, we, we couldn't shift calendars and decided to keep the date.

But what we didn't do is just have everybody online for an hour days in front of their laptops and doing the same design.

That would not work. That would not be a conducive environment for learning. So what we did is we we condense it to half days and we also had a mix.

Within within those half days. So we had a mix of bringing the whole cohort together in a virtual classroom having interaction participation every few minutes to keep them engaged, giving them assignments, giving the group assignments both

As a group, small groups and we use breakout rooms, as well as full assignments, where we had them actually log off, do some reflection work on a bit and come back online and share the results of that. So we really tried to bake in the learning cycle into the design.

And that was this shift because the next slide here, which is a summary of our big picture kind of from to moving from originally we had long day. Very packed agenda.

For those of you that are designers on the phone, know that we we want to fit in as much as we can. But, you know, we're not going to do that. No virtual classroom. You've got to have shorter. You got to have more targeted module, like we say chunk it out.

To create that learning journey for table groups in a in a face to face room, you'd have people set up and round tables and this design format.

We use the virtual breakouts and it's technically easier than anything to run a breakout using some of the new platforms.

First time people are bit nervous, but, you know, just give it a try. It's easier than you think.

Instead of having the physical flip charts, which which you know we love using when we're live. You can do virtual whiteboard and really achieve the same the same result really the same result. You've got to get used to using I'm you gotta try

I know that we met in the face to face when we moved to virtual that networking time and building those relationships on the edges of, you know, the dinners. The, the evening events.

But, you know, increase put some more structure to some of those peer to peer sessions. Add in trio group coaching peer coaching.

Groups and have the groups come together in the virtual space you can achieve building relationships virtually and I think we're all starting to experience that. Now in our new remote workplace and then a big one. This is a bonus Travel time.

You know, we have people flying around the world. There's that lag. There's a carbon footprint.

There's there's work that you need to do catch up on in the evening when you do these residentials off site.

And that's always been a challenge when we're designing to factor those in and now, you know, if you go virtual you can really integrate it seamlessly into the workday. Just like how you're listening in on this webinar. Now to get a little burst of insight, which I hope is what we've provided for you all.

And I know where we are coming to the end of our 30 minutes I want to

First of all, acknowledge that we've got a lot of questions coming in to the Q AMP. A which is fantastic. We will try to answer them all.

And I also want to thank my colleagues Hamaria and Treion. Thank you so much for sharing your insights and your expertise with everyone today and I want to leave you guys with

Some links to check out on our website use QR codes will take you see some virtual meeting kits that we've got posted as well as visit our code 19 leading through and

Leading through and beyond code 19 website. We've got lots of

Lots of great information on there that we're providing. And here you can see that the full list of the webinars in this series, we're making them all available on demand.

And want to remind you that we have a new one that we added for tomorrow. And I love this topic on cultivating personal resilience and that's volatility so

On that note, I'm gonna I'll turn it over to you for any, any closing comments to to close us out. And I just want to thank everyone for joining Hamaria, Treion. Thank you and have a great day. Bye, everyone.


Thank you. That was fantastic. Thanks speakers and everyone who attended today's webinar.

I'll just reiterate what we said that it has been recorded, you will receive an email with the links to the recording and the slides and you can access them as Albertina said via the Korn ferry website that we have in all of our communications to you. We will be closing the meeting in just one moment. So I wanted to say stay safe and be well.

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