This article has a unique perspective: how does a High Performance Learning Journey look like from a trainer’s perspective? Therefore, in order to be relevant to you, you must have had a positive and memorable room experience with the in-classroom training or simply to love being a trainer. This article is about change and how you can transform virtual training in a unique, memorable and positive experience.
As far as we know, the dinosaurs vanished a long time ago, due to a meteorite falling down on Earth. For a long time, it has been a simple theory, but today we managed to identify even the impact location – the Chicxulub crater, somewhere in Mexico. There are other theories for dinosaurs’ extinction, but this one is the most probable and 65 million years gave us, the humankind, enough time to talk about them at past tense. But sometimes they burst into every day’s reality and if you look very carefully, you’ll see them sitting right next to you.
You can easily recognize a dinosaur by the way he talks. Somehow dinosaurs say something loud and clear, in a powerful way, about how they are not going to change, no matter how fast or dynamic things are changing around them. Why? Because the old, traditional way was successful for more than… 10, 20, 100 years or forever, and it will never change. Because the dinosaurs had a positive experience in that period, that way of doing things and changing them doesn’t guarantee the same good results, isn’t it? How about me? Am I not a dinosaur, simply because I am protected by my job? – I am a trainer and a significant part of my job is to deal with change in people. Not just to deal with it, but my job’s effectiveness is measured based on people’s willingness to change – or at least, this is always one of the elements of a successful training program. And I forgot to tell you: I love my job. Working with people, seeing them as a whole, eyes, faces, hands, posture, way of talking is a very effective way to connect with them. Being in the same room and leading them, making a compelling case about moving from point A to B, seeing that transformation in people – it is instant gratification, a positive loop of feedback, and injection of serotonin. Or at least it was… because training itself is changing. Since March 2020 all training rooms have been closed. Instead, we have virtual training… and my pre-pandemic experience with virtual training was poor. Something like “stay away from it!” The way I felt it… It was ineffective and none of the positive feedback or participants’ engagement was present at least the positive transformation. Microphones on mute, people not willing to open the camera or if they open it, they were eating during the training or just lying in bed. There were questions and long periods of silence as an answer, you know the picture. So… I think that nothing will ever replace the in-class training! It is effective, it brings people together and it changes them! It is highly motivating to participate in good training, and you see directly people changing under your eyes. I HAVE 15 YEARS OF CLASSROOM TRAINING EXPERIENCE AND NOTHING WILL EVER BE AS GOOD AS THAT!”
And then I realized that I am a dinosaur.
This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship (the dinosaurs old enough to see “Casablanca” will smile now) between me and the virtual training. In March 2020 my career as a trainer was facing extinction because, literally overnight, we had a new way of working: virtual communication, virtual meetings, virtual evaluations… everything was virtual. So, I had to practice what I preached for so many years: in every crisis, there is an opportunity, you just have to look for it. Then my new objective was to make friends with virtual training. I started with baby steps. The first decision was to transform my living room into an effective working area. Because the white walls were too common, I painted a single wall with turquoise blue, to use it as a background. Then I moved the desk around the house so that the light would come directly to my face. I moved the bookshelf in the middle of the room to set another background, an “intelligent” one. I bought a microphone and the final step: I “created” a height-adjustable video camera using my mobile and some shoe boxes and books.
Then came joy. I was a student again learning how to make 3-5 minutes videos, writing the script, editing, adding effects… it was a completely new learning journey for me. In the next couple of months, I transformed all my training portfolio into one adapted to virtual interaction and in an HPLJ style. Every face-to-face training was chunked down into pieces and reassembled into a more appealing shape. Using an advanced e-learning platform – PROMOTE (that allowed text, audio, video, and chat) together with my colleagues, we created a plan, with a succession of actions that can and does transform people over time. Remember the 4 stages of an HPLJ? First, you motivate people, then provide them just the minimum of information they need, the third step is to develop skills and, in the end, strengthen results. As simple as that, but while it is simple it is also effective and can provide new perspectives even for experienced dinosaurs. I saw people enrolling themselves in this journey, willing to learn and to develop, not being afraid of making mistakes or fighting for their perspectives. The workshops are filled with questions, demonstrations, false premises before getting the right conclusions, change of perspectives, and learning. And feedback. The energy is going up and down building momentum, but also gathering people around an idea, into a team. And in the end, the virtual room is filled with joy and positive transformation – and you can see it in people’s eyes because everybody is turning his or her camera on. It is a lot like in classroom training, but it is more effective.
I still long for a classroom training session with people sitting in a U shape and working together. Walking around the room, asking questions, providing feedback, challenging people, the flipchart… oh, such vivid memories, that remain in the past, until we will open the training rooms. But even then, the future will combine virtual training with the in classroom one and will be even more effective. We are ready to make this change again. How about you? Have you adapted to this new reality and changed your perspective about development? We, the Marco Polo CEE team are here to make change happens. And to challenge the dinosaurs.
In our next episode, we will ask you to join in a deep dive into an online workshop and draw some conclusions for yourself about HPLJ effectiveness. Or if you want to speed up things, because it’s the beginning of a new year just give us a call and ask for a demonstration.
(checkout his Linkedin Profile)