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Hybrid Learning Best Practices – Part One: Train the Trainer

Synchronous Instructor Led Training (ILT) has long been considered the gold standard in training modalities. Recently, many have turned away from the live classroom to Virtual Instructor Led Training (vILT) and remote eLearning as a means to cut costs and deliver training to a geographically dispersed workforce. However, these newer modalities are no comparison when it comes to the learner experience and training outcome that are inherent in the traditional classroom. That’s where Hybrid Learning comes in.

The face-to-face collaboration, instructor interaction, and student participation of a traditional classroom offers significant learning benefits that cannot be matched with eLearning or standard vILT. As organizations find themselves caught between wanting the learner benefits of instructor led training and the convenience of virtual, many are embracing Hybrid Learning as a viable option.

The hybrid learning environment combines instructor led training in a traditional classroom with virtual. Utilizing the latest in teleconferencing technology, hybrid learning enables instructors to deliver an equal experience to both classroom and remote learners. Organizations are still able to capitalize on the potential cost savings of virtual training, while their learners receive the benefits of a live, face-to-face learning experience.

In order to most effectively take advantage of this revolutionary training modality, there are several best practices that training organizations should follow. We will be looking at these best practices in this 5 part series.

Part One:  7 Reasons Why You Need a Train the Trainer Approach

There can sometimes be hesitation on the part of instructors to embrace a hybrid delivery model. For many instructors who are not familiar with the tools used in hybrid learning, there is a certain fear of the technology. They may fear that a failure of the technology will reflect on them and the success of their course – creating a situation where the medium kills the messenger.

The good news is this fear can easily be addressed by utilizing a train the trainer approach. Instructors who will be teaching in a hybrid environment should be given the opportunity to become comfortable with the equipment prior to the live event.
Generally, this training can be fairly simple and only take a short time. But it is absolutely critical that this is done. Providing the trainer the opportunity to become comfortable in the environment allows them to relax and effectively present during their event. 

Trainers NEED the opportunity to practice using the technology so that they know: 

  • If/How they need to adapt their materials
  • How to navigate the virtual classroom
  • How to present material and allow others to present
  • How to use interactive features such as chat and electronic whiteboard
  • How to interact with the remote learners and encourage interaction between students
  • How to keep remote participants engaged
  • Where to go for technical help if the need does arise

Once they trust the technology, instructors will generally find that their usual style of delivery can be just as effective with minimal changes. They will be able to maintain natural, normal classroom behaviors that benefit the student and provide an engaging learning environment. 

By being cognizant and comfortable of both local and remote learners, the instructors will be able to help ensure an equal learning environment. In fact, trainers who are comfortable with the technology will be able to use this hybrid environment to enhance rather than detract from the learning experience. Which is exactly why MicroTek is developing a Train the Trainer course focused on instructing in the hybrid learning environment. The course is slated for release later this year. 

In the next installment, we will look at the importance of preparing and setting expectations for the learners in a hybrid environment.