Paul Jerram, PMP

Here at Management Concepts, we have a fairly decent sized set of virtual (aka instructor-led online) courses and several online courses (more like the self-paced training mentioned here in this post). Particularly here in our Project and Program Management division, we echo the sentiments of many in eLearning who follow a fundamental precept – if you start with bad content, don’t expect it to be better content because it’s delivered virtually. In fact, it may well wind up being part of an even worse training experience for participants.

Particularly in our virtual delivery (instructor-led online) training, one of the keys has been to first do a thorough assessment of our training content to determine suitability in the virtual classroom, and if needed, to adjust the content before ever attempting to offer it and deliver it virtually.

Also critical is to ensure that our instructor-led online classes are extremely interactive, utilizing a variety of online tools, whiteboards, polling questions and breakout rooms to keep students active and engaged. Our instructors even encourage the use of virtual “office hours” to chat with participants before or after class, if students request it.

And while we are talking about instructors, it’s important to acknowledge that instructor – led online training is simply not for everyone – and that goes for instructors too. While we’ve found that many instructors can really “step up their game” to ensure students are actively engaged and participating etc., for some instructors, they simply can’t give up that physical “face time” they get with students in traditional learning situations.

An interesting statistic and some comments from some of our participants in instructor – led online sessions late last year, which talk to how effective this kind of training can be:

80%+ of respondents reported a “very positive experience” with their instructor-led online training, and made comments (and these are all pretty representative of many of the survey responses) like:

“No travel costs and I seemed to pay more attention due to the shorter days.” (Note that we use a ½ day delivery model, with the training spread over two weeks)
“The technology out-performed my expectation for the interactive nature of the course!”
“Each four hour session seemed to go by in a snap.”
“It was engrossing to keep track of everything that was happening.”

So successful virtual instructor-led online training delivery seems to be a combination of these very important factors. It’s clearly not only “all about the budget” although that’s important. Doing everything to ensure that participants walk away with a rich, interactive training experience utilizing effective tools that add to that experience – plus good content and effective instructors – are all key. That plus no travel expenses can lead to a very happy customer!