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How Boring is Virtual Training?

Posted on April 5th, 2013 by Chris Gaborit

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

 

Leading Virtual Teams – Blended Learning Infographic

Posted on July 30th, 2012 by The Learning Factor

Organisations are increasingly recognising the business benefits of combining bite-sized chunks of personalised content that can be delivered to the desktop in real-time with learning techniques such as shorter classroom-based training sessions and on-the-job line manager training.

Take a look at our Leading Virtual Teams Learning Pathway Infographic. With a mix of pre-work, a web-based session delivered by a facilitator, case study assignment, a face-to-face session and Action Learning Project, we are sure to provide solutions that are engaging, creative and have maximum business impact.

Don’t cut your training budgets; develop a leaner, more efficient training machine.

Click here to see the bite-sized steps in our Leading Virtual Teams program.

12 Top Questions Managers Ask About Managing Virtual Teams

Posted on July 5th, 2012 by The Learning Factor

Creating effective virtual teams has proved to be more difficult for organisations than expected. Managers can’t simply create high-performance by assembling a virtual team and ‘letting it run’ for itself. Without careful structuring, support, and attention to processes, virtual teams may not even perform at a marginal level.

Over the years, we have conducted hundreds of training programs for managers at leading global organisations. We have been tracking some of the questions that managers consistently ask about their role when they need to start managing remote teams.  The following list summarises the most frequently asked question. See if any of these resonate with you:

  • How does remoteness change group and leadership behaviours?
  • What is the right balance of task and team focus?
  • What is the right balance of control and autonomy in the way we work together?
  • What causes divided loyalties, and what can we do about them?
  • Why do we need to be a team anyway?
  •  When should we communicate, and how often is enough?
  • How do I manage my team when the travel budget is cut?
  • When should I get face-to-face, and when is it better to avoid it?
  • How do I stay visible when I’m remote?
  • What’s the point in remote coaching? Isn’t it just more work when I don’t have the time?
  • How can I travel less without damaging my career and still get results from my remote team?
  • How can I accelerate the transfer of learning through my dispersed team?

IDC’s recent Worldwide Mobile Worker Population, 2011-2015 report paints a picture of a global workforce that’s marching inexorably toward mobility. Their forecast shows that the worldwide mobile worker population will increase from just over 1 billion in 2010 to more than 1.3 billion by 2015.

Senior leaders in organisations must now recognise the need to upskill their managers in the new world of work. Motivating a virtual team to perform is one of the key challenges managers get stuck on. Take a look at the discrepancies between the rankings people gave to motivating factors at work (1 being most important, 10 being least) and what their managers thought.

What managers thought

What team members

Work that keeps you interested

5

6

Job security

2

4

Tactful disciplining

7

10

Full appreciation of work done

8

1

Good wages

1

5

Sympathetic help on personal problems

9

3

Promotion and growth within the company

3

7

Feeing “in” on things

10

2

Personal loyalty to workers

6

8

Good working conditions

4

9

It is easy to see how virtual team management can be doomed for failure when there are such discrepancies on understanding motivation – a key basic function of a team management!

Organisations save a lot of grief and stress when they get it right from the start.

 

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