Some years back, our Managing Director had a great idea – let’s start doing virtual training. Look I’m not against eLearning, for some people it is great, but it’s never inspired me much more than a glorified PowerPoint. My immediate reaction was, “OMG, if that’s anything like eLearning then it will be boring as.”
I tried to avoid the subject as long as I could, hoping that the idea would just fade away, but no such luck. The date and time were set in our diaries. There was no escaping now. I was committed to attending a one-hour virtual training session with some guru virtual trainer.
In spite of doing all I could to have an off-site appointment that morning, fate would have no one want to meet me for coffee. Finally the time had come. I had to bite the bullet and attend.
Look, let’s face it – I had been a trainer since I was in nappies. I can train face to face under water, with my hands tied behind my back. I can tell jokes, make people laugh, make them cry, bring seriousness, use voice inflections, wave my size 13 hands around like a conductor to still the masses. So when you try to tell me, “This is the next big thing! Virtual training is going to take the world by storm!” Ha, not likely.
I was depressed with the thought of going online to listen to some dumb virtual trainer for an hour. What could they teach me anyhow? My brain was working overtime and I had a thought, “Well if I have to be online, I will act like I’m there but really be on my other screen and be checking emails etc., they will never know.” (I have since found out that they do know when I am doing this)
Feeling a little more optimistic about the next hour I finally logged on. (Was I supposed to have tested my computer before now??). The session started with a screen I had never seen before and I felt awkward not knowing how to write, chat, type. My competitive juices started to flow a little and not wanting to appear as a complete virtual fool, I thought I better listen for a little while and learn.
Firstly the facilitator had us draw on a map what city we were in, then we had to type the temperature, next we chatting to each other, using the microphone to join a discussion. I hate to say it but I was starting to warm to this, some may think I was enjoying myself. I was chatting away, drawing, making animations – smiling, having coffee breaks, and raising my hand up and then putting it down. We watched a video, did a poll and I thought, “Im pretty good at all this.” Maybe I can crack a joke in the chat room – and then, just like that the 60 minutes had finished.
It was so engaging, entertaining, and interactive that two things happened to me: I actually learned a lot while having fun and I really connected with all the people including the facilitator and felt invigorated. Oh and one last thing happened – I saw the future of learning, it was virtual training. This is the next big thing! Virtual training is going to take the world by storm! How boring is virtual training? I didn’t have time to notice.
Author: Chris Gaborit – Director at The Learning Factor