There’s not much you can’t do online these days. The rise of a whole range of different meeting and collaboration platforms has allowed us to work from home when needed, and even participate in large group virtual workshop sessions.
But can this virtual model successfully be adapted for live online learning where you engage with a trainer in real time? The short answer is yes! It can be a really valuable option for learning.
If you’re considering undertaking some vocational training but aren’t sure you’ll have a great experience, let me debunk some common misconceptions.
Myth 1: There’s no interaction with the trainer or other students
At David Forman we design our classes for engagement. We spend a lot of time in virtual breakout rooms where people are split into smaller groups for discussions or workshop activities. But we can do much more than that.
There is the technical facility for students to chat, share files or thoughts. We use virtual collaboration tools like Jamboard for group collaboration and we still do role play exercises for whatever we’re practising at the time.
Often there’s more engagement in an online environment because while one person is speaking the rest of the class can be contributing to the discussion or asking questions through the chat function. It encourages a rich conversation because more people are interacting and engaging at the same time.
It’s also really great for more introverted people who might not be comfortable contributing in front of a classroom in person, but are empowered to do so in an online chat room.
In an online class, it’s also easier for students to privately chat with or ask questions of the trainer, because they can just send them a message, rather than having to seek them out in a busy classroom.
Myth 2: It’s harder to learn in an online programme
A lot of people think their attention span isn’t going to last for more than an hour in an online environment, but that’s only true if the course content is boring!
When you have a range of activities and are interacting in different ways, your online classroom can be a really exciting and engaging place to be.
We also make sure people don’t get fatigued by giving them regular breaks and changing up the activities. In our classes you are not going to be sitting in a classroom just listening just to a lecturer for an hour.
Myth 3: You have to be tech savvy
We give some really clear, basic instructions to get people into the sessions and we spend time at the start of the sessions teaching people how to use the tools so that they can engage in lots of ways. It doesn’t take long. We haven’t had anybody have to stop the course because they can’t find the mute button!
Myth 4: Online courses don’t cover as much of the topic
At David Forman our virtual courses cover the exact same topics as the in-person classroom sessions. As with any course, the way to get the most of an online training programme is to put what you’ve learned into practice in the real world.
There’s no course, online or otherwise, where you’ll walk out an expert. It takes practice and referring back to your notes to remind yourself of what you learned and applying it. That’s where you get real value, whether you have been in a real classroom or a virtual one.