Recently, I ran across an article with that title – Are You Virtually Competent. You can check it out here. It’s a good read about being a virtual instructional designer and facilitator.
But I have to admit, when I saw the title, I thought the article was going to be about being a good virtual participant. Yes, we need to focus on delivering good content in the virtual environment. But in order for virtual learning to take place, we need to have good virtual participants. So I decided to come up with my own list on being virtually competent.
SIDE NOTE: I do have to add, that I’m not a fan of training ground rules. On some level, I’ve always found them to be fairly obvious and the last thing I want to do is insult anyone’s intelligence. But there are days when I’m astonished at the things people do in training. So I guess having a common set of guidelines may still be necessary helpful.
- Find a quiet location to participate in training. You don’t want to be disrupted during training and you don’t want to disrupt anyone else. Find a place that will allow you to participate. If you need a telephone, consider a headset for comfort. And if all you have is a cellphone, think about a Plan B in case coverage is spotty.
- Remove the distractions. Participants need to figure out how to manage their emails, cellphones, etc. while they are in training. Virtual training programs are not an invitation for multi-tasking. It’s difficult to learn and answer emails at the same time.
- Use the proper equipment. If the facilitator says you need a PC or laptop, then chances are a tablet won’t work. If you need a Windows based operating environment, it’s possible OS won’t be compatible. Ask the facilitator to clarify the required equipment– before the session begins.
- Make sure the technology works. Check to see that you have the appropriate software for the session. Make sure you have the most current version. If you’ve never used the software before, schedule time to take the tutorial or find out from the facilitator the key features you need to know prior to the session starting.
- Participate in chats, polls and discussion. Once the session begins, be an active participant. Your participation tells the instructor that you are comprehending the material. The facilitator can move forward with the session, possibly offer a deep dive into a topic, or add content based upon participant engagement.
According to eLearning Industry, approximately 15 percent of companies are introducing MOOCs into their learning programs and that number is expected to double over the next two years. In addition, 15 percent of corporate training is being delivered in the virtual classroom. The point is, the virtual classroom isn’t going away anytime soon.
Learning how to be a virtually competent participant is just as important as the content being delivered. It’s important not to confuse the flexibility and versatility of virtual learning with the discipline of being an engaged participant.0