Since the UK lockdown due to COVID-19, classroom-based training has largely halted. Delegates sit indoors in very close proximity for long periods of time. There are additional risks associated with using public transport and mingling at break times. In short, classrooms can be petri dishes. Online training avoids these risks and, according to our beloved principles of prevention, should be considered before options such as distancing or barriers. It is also questionable how many delegates could fit into a venue if they must be physically distant.
There are subjects for which face-to-face training is unavoidable. If online training is an option, it is worth considering the benefits and potential pitfalls.
In the current climate of home working and skeleton staff in the workplace due to COVID-19, we look at the benefits of online training and the advantages that are offered. These include:
- Not incurring or passing on costs relating to travel, venue hire or catering and the administration time organising all this. This can reduce the cost of online training
- Not incurring printing costs for electronic course materials
- Training dates are not restricted by room availability
- Delegates can attend regardless of where they are based, expanding the prospective market for courses. Delegates could find it interesting to attend events with people whom they might otherwise never meet
- Most delegates log on at home. They turn up fresh and not agitated by the journey
- Delegates are not delayed by traffic etc. so typically join the session on time
- Participants are not worrying about getting home and remain focused throughout the session
- Trainers are not battling a venue’s ventilation or heating controls.
Delivering training online undoubtedly has potential pitfalls such as being let down by, or being unable to use, the technology. The pitfalls can be avoided or managed with some simple steps.
- Make sure that the office/home has a good, stable internet connection. Use introductions to check everyone is clearly hearing you and each other. Inform the delegates what to do if you or they temporarily or permanently drop out.
- Get comfortable with using the technology. Watch ‘how to’ videos, run practice sessions and attend online events as a delegate. Many of the ‘how to’ videos will help sort out the basics such as your backdrop, lighting, testing your audio and so on.
- Amend the material to suit online delivery and the new options available to you.
- Help delegates get comfortable with the technology. Host the training on simpler and popular platforms, send out a plain English user guide and take delegates through warm up exercises in the course introduction.
- Cover the new rules of engagement in the introduction. For example, when delegates should be muted or the benefit of raising hands to join a conversation.
- Delegates need to be physically comfortable. Programme in more regular breaks and provide simple reminders on comfortable DSE use.
Many organisations have little option but to consider online training. Rather than being an undesirable substitute, this approach offers tremendous benefits and could become the new normal regardless of how COVID-19 plays out.
Getting the best from it requires an initial investment of time and effort. As with most things in life, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out.
Contact us for your training needs.