Virtual Success

Jenny O’Farrell – Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API)

How people could learn in small chunks and be actively invovled in learning – so – Jenny bought some virtual classroom software.

Jenny’s learning philosophy – Winston Churchill: "Personally, I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught."

Jenny recommends:

  • virtual classrooms as part of a blended tool – initially she believes she over-used them…
  • Before you run the first session – ensure the participants are comfortable with the systems…(good advice – even the most computer literate participants).
  • Trainers need help to become Virtual Trainers – even voice control from acting classes (interesting idea)
  • short sessions – with less than 10 participants….
  • follow-up with any additional form of learning – or – use it as a follow up to a f2f session
  • make it highly interactive with varied activities – learners need to be kept actively involved.
  • use 2 computers sitting next to each other – then you can view what the participants are viewing …(hmmm – not sure about this one…bit complex)

Where web-conferencing fails:

  • assumption that the environment is the same as a real classroom
  • lacking of training for presenters
  • lack of time for participants’familiarity with the process
  • technology and hardware problems – suggest logging on 30 minutes in advance
  • lack of variety in presentations
  • long sessions with little interactivity
  • used as the only learning tool

Common mistakes and how to avoid them:

  • do you really need a virtual classroom? Perhaps Skype is a good alternative….
  • buying more licenses than you need
  • keep IT informed!
  • not allowing your audience to be really comfortable with the technology
  • when purchasing, find out who offers technical and educational support and if it is included in the package
  • takes a couple of hours to create a really good presentation
  • trainers need lots more innovation than f2f

Great presentation session Jenny – highlighted some of the key resistance factors by not just the learners but also the trainers who aren’t committed to online envirnments!