Energizing Virtual Instruction

Recently, training management of a Fortune 100 company dictated that 50% of their company’s instruction would be delivered through electronic meetings. Our client was concerned that the limitations of the medium would severely diminish the effectiveness of their training. They wanted us to prepare their instructional designers and trainers to develop and deliver instruction in electronic meetings that is both interactive and motivational.

Our premise was that it was not the medium that created compelling and richly interactive instruction; it was the instructional methods utilized. We recognized that electronic meetings had some inherent drawbacks (e.g., lack of visual feedback, more difficult social interaction). We also acknowledged the strengths of the media (e.g., the ability to collaborate over great distances unbounded by time). Here are just a few of the strategies that Future Technologies constructed.

  • Frequently switch between different content delivery types: teacher-learner, learner-to-learner, and learner-to-expert interactions
  • Schedule virtual office-hours.
  • Assign participants to groups and ask them to collaborate on a specific assignment.
  • Build suspense by creating activities where the results are not predictable. Use chats, selective emails, and different shared folders to provide teams with different rules or instructions.
  • Foster collaboration and team learning by creating group learning activities using instructions in different shared folders. Enable groups to communicate using chat areas or emails.
  • Employ discovery learning techniques by encouraging participants to search for resources (e.g., websites). Request that participants use chats to construct their own questions. Ask participants to work in groups or individually to teach back using the features of the virtual classroom.