Moving to the new normal and online training

An unfamiliar feeling

Friday morning and I work up fully rested and had had lots of sleep due to an early night.  Something was different? I had the unfamiliar sensation of butterflies in my tummy. So this is new, I thought. Why is this? I have delivered HR training in various forms for nearly 20 years. I am passionate about the topic and love sharing knowledge, learning and experiences with others.

I realised it was because I love the face to face interaction of a training environment. Today was going to be different, as I would be delivering my first virtual Loates HR training session. ‘HR Essentials for the New Normal’.

Transitioning from face-to-face training to virtual

With face to face training I love hearing all the delegates and their back stories, I am a naturally nosey (or curious?) person, so I love to know all about what is going on in their businesses right now: What are their challenges? What is stressing them out right now? I also love the camaraderie of a cohort one which generously shares their knowledge and experiences with each other. And of course the copious mugs of hot steaming tea, music to dance around to, chocolate and Haribo which accompanies all our in-house Loates HR training sessions.

Sure I knew the topic material inside out and back to front, with numerous anecdotes to bring the subject matter to life. But I was fretting about the mechanics of delivery, how would I build rapport? Would the technology work? Could I master it? I’m a secret luddite I like what I know in terms of technology. We had decided to invest in Zoom Pro to give our learners that added extra as a learning experience. Zoom Pro has lots of tools you would deploy in a typical training environment but virtually!

Getting to grips with Zoom’s interactive tools

And the answer was yes I could. I had moved the face to face delivery to online and tried to maximise the variety of tools deployed to ensure an engaging session. We started off with a quick Zoom tutorial for any learners new to Zoom, and proceeded to introduce ourselves using the chat box function. First exercise up and we were straight into a poll, and the group (it was a small group) which was great for an initial experience, were super chatty and happy to share experiences from the get go. It worked well the poll being anonymous, so if people did not get quite the right answer that was not a problem. We finished the first exercise using the whiteboard function where all the participants could scribble their answers down, as if we were all writing on the flipcharts scattered around a training room. The participants seemed to enjoy this.

Time for a quick break and we left our respective screens to pop off for a cuppa, and in my case a mint Kit-Kat. After the  break I then moved on to a more challenging exercise which required some thinking time, and here I used the Zoom Pro breakout room function so the participants could move into a virtual breakout room away from the main session and have a discussion. I called them back from the breakout room, and we talked through their responses, which was great for checking that learning had been embedded.

We then moved onto an exercise using the raise hand icon, and a video which summarised the key points from the session. The video worked well at first, and I got the audio working, but started to buffer half way through but we made it through to the end. Next time I will save the video locally to my computer and play it from there.

We wrapped the two hour session up with another poll, 10 challenging questions on the subject matter, and we were done.

So, was our first virtual session a success?

The delegates said they had enjoyed the session, learnt some new things and that the time had flown by.

After the training one delegate sent their feedback and said “The course was very well delivered with clear and concise content.  The use of collaborative chat-rooms, electronic white boards, tests and video content helped in translating the content into learning very well”. It really made my weekend!

Result: My maiden Loates HR Training virtual delivery voyage mission accomplished. I can’t help feeling this is the new normal, and the opportunity to reach even more people with my enthusiasm for all things HR.

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