This post is a best practices guide for a trainer to follow when converting her training program from pure face-to-face to a partially-distant learning format. Included are ideas and tips that could assist the trainer in facilitating communication and learning among her students.
Before taking a single step in this conversion, consider carefully your motivation to go down this path. So it is important that you don’t think sprinkling technology into the project as if it was vitamin-supplement. Instead look at the training module with the specific questions posed in Step 1. Pre-Planning section of the attached paper.
Once you have decided that there are parts of the training which would be enhanced by technology, you now have to choose what to use and how to use it. Remember your goal was to increase communication, so make sure that the technology you chose will blend into the background so the learning can take center-stage. Begin with your list of things that did not work, or specific areas that need emphasis.
It’s time to consider the role that you, as the trainer, play in this learning experience. You will no longer have a podium from which to lecture, and the trainees will not be sitting face front waiting to be fed information. Your role is now one of facilitator; you are there to facilitate their learning. It is your responsibility to maintaining forward motion toward the learning goal, like the technology you want to sink into the background letting their intellectual growth take center-stage.
Finally the tricky bit; getting them to talk to each other. Humans have proved over and over that deep and lasting learning occurs most easily when the students share their new-found knowledge. So that what will be discussed in the Encouraging Communication section. This is a place where you can add reinforcement to the sections of the training that you have found to be particularly difficult in previous classes.
Ok, your ready to go out and face the chaos that can become learning.