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Hybrid Learning Best Practices – Part Two: Set Expectations

Many organizations are finding themselves caught between wanting the learner benefits that come with the traditional instructor-led classroom training and the convenience of virtual training.

However, most of us have had less than favorable experiences using virtual training tools such as Webex or GoToMeeting. The main complaint is that these popular off-the-shelf tools do not work well for interactive, hands-on training and are inadequate to deliver learning programs.

Students and instructors want an equal experience, whether remote or in the physical classroom. The hybrid learning model provides just that—a training delivery platform that allows for a natural classroom interaction for all participants.

When you successfully blend the two environments, all participants are accountable on the same level and it becomes absolutely necessary to set expectations with learners. They need to know what is going to happen during the class and what they need to do to be prepared.

In part one of the Hybrid Learning Best Practices series we took a look at preparing the instructor by taking a train the trainer approach. In order to take advantage of this revolutionary training modality most effectively, there are several best practices that training organizations should follow. In part two the focus is on preparing the learner.

Part Two:  Set Learner Expectations

Research has shown that setting and implementing expectations significantly influences learning. Generally speaking, learners must understand what is expected of them before they can take responsibility for their own learning.

Prepare participants by letting them know it will be an interactive class where they can be seen and heard. And yes…they are expected to be both seen and heard. There is visual accountability that the learner has to be prepared to react and support. It’s not hide behind the microphone or hide behind the camera day just because they are a remote attendee. They are front and center in the class, equally seated with any other student.

All participants are expected to be seen and heard as they participate, interact and engage with the instructor and their peers.

In order for the hybrid learning platform to live up to the guarantee of the same level of interaction as the physical classroom all remote attendees need to be equipped with, and use, a camera and microphone. In the pre-arrival instructions to all participants it’s imperative to state that a camera and microphone are required for remote attendees and the camera has to be turned on and pointed at themselves during class.

Why do this? Naturally attendees are often camera-shy, simply because they are not used to communicating via two-way video. We have seen if it is not a requirement, the first thing the remote attendees tend to do is put their camera on video mute and become available via audio only. This is not conducive to the interaction with the instructor or other students—creating an unequal learning experience.

Require all students to be present as they would be if they were physically present in the classroom—audible and visible on camera. Involvement increases the sense of ownership.

The hybrid training platform enables engagement accountability for all students. MicroTek’s Virtual Training Room is proven to be a highly effective solution that provides a hybrid training platform for delivering an equal learning environment to both in-class and remote participants.

In the next installment, we will look at tips on how to keep the learner from tuning out in a hybrid environment.