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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Three Key Differences Between In-Person and Virtual Teaching | Learning Solutions Magazine

"Virtual training consultant Cindy Huggett points to three key areas where in-person instructors need to tweak or build skills when moving online." reports Pamela S. Hogle, staff writer for Learning Solutions Magazine.

“‘Be realistic about what is simple to do and what is difficult to do. It’s simple to have everyone type questions into chat; it’s difficult to have everyone move into subgroups (breakouts) to have private verbal conversations,’ said Karen Hyder, a certified technical trainer and online event producer.”

Photo: Learning Solutions Magazine

Instructional designers or eLearning instructors might believe that moving their face-to-face teaching online is a simple matter of choosing a virtual classroom platform and speaking to the webcam.

They’re in for a rude awakening.

While some elements of in-person instruction translate well to a virtual classroom, others need some adjustment. “A lot of what they [instructors] know about really great in-person facilitation applies online,” said Cindy Huggett, a virtual training consultant. But some skills need to be tweaked or expanded. “It’s like, you already know how to drive a car; now you’re learning to drive a truck. It’s the same set of skills, but you add on to it.”

Huggett identifies three key differences:
  • The role of technology—while a face-to-face instructor might use technology, in the virtual classroom, technology becomes the main platform
  • Engaging learners—different strategies are needed to engage and build a rapport with learners the instructor cannot see
  • Multitasking—instructors need to simultaneously present, engage learners, and use the technology platform
Investing time preparing in these three areas can improve the odds of a successful transition.

Tools of the trade 
The instructor must, of course, master the technology—the virtual classroom platform she’s using to deliver the eLearning. (See “Five Questions to Ask When Choosing a Virtual Classroom Platform” for tips on choosing a platform.) Then, the content must be structured with the virtual platform in mind. (See “Going Virtual: Tips for Moving Instructor-Led Training Online” for advice on making the transition.) Finally, the instructor needs to create and rehearse lessons that work with the online platform.

Karen Hyder, a certified technical trainer and online event producer, cautioned in an email interview, “Start by accepting that it doesn’t work to upload content and activities from a traditional, physical classroom session into a virtual classroom and expect to ‘make it play.’”

Both the instructor and the learners need to adjust to the new platform. “Everything operates a little differently online. Things that were easy in the physical classroom become difficult in the virtual classroom,” Hyder said. “Something as simple as verbal response requires the learner to overcome several technical hurdles!”

The instructor might need to plan, script—and practice—each session to a greater extent than she does for in-person teaching. And Huggett emphasized the importance of creating a learning environment that is comfortable for learners, which might mean teaching them to use tools like raising their hand. 
Read more... 

Recommended Reading
Photo: Cindy Huggett
Designing Engaging, Interactive eLearning for the Virtual Classroom: Cindy Huggett, CPLP.

Photo: Learning Solutions Magazine
Source: Learning Solutions Magazine