Converting Live Classroom to Virtual Live
In the first of this Virtual Live series, we give you some relevant detail around figures and logistics to start thinking about converting your existing classroom sessions to virtual live. In the following parts, we delve into implementing and managing virtual, giving you experience and evidence-based tips and tricks to help you create the best virtual experience possible and so supercharge the learning experience for your participants.
By following some simple steps, you will repurpose your existing classroom material into captivating virtual learning. All our rules are based on best practice teaching and learning design and will apply no matter your content area.
Figuring it Out
It’s not a straight swap
It’s a mistake to think that you can simply convert a classroom experience into an online virtual class by simply migrating your material online.
Taking your lesson plan and flipping it into a slide deck, to run on a virtual platform is not the way to go. You may be tempted but it simply doesn’t work like that and taking a moment to figure out what your goal is, who your participants are, and what they’re looking for, is the start of a successful roadmap to virtual.
What is your goal?
Take time to figure out what type of participant experience you’re really looking to achieve. Delivering instruction and replacing a former live classroom with a virtual one? Running a workshop where participation, engagement and learner activation are key? Or are you making a more formal presentation, a lecture to a large number of people, so participant engagement is not such a big deal?
Virtual training whether a virtual class or a more hands-on workshop, is an instructor-led, highly interactive, live, digital learning event with defined learning objectives. Participants are in different locations and connect via a web platform.
Figuring it out – the numbers of virtual
Virtual learning sessions vary in duration. If you’re migrating a classroom or workshop onto virtual; a typical virtual session will last 60 to 90 minutes. Exceptionally, depending on the nature of the learning, they can run slightly longer. A general rule is to max out at 90 minutes.
If you’re replacing for example, a day-long classroom experience, you can’t expect your learners to come online at 10 am and stay online all day. The dynamic is different, people need to be engaged in a very active manner but they also need frequent breaks because of the nature of the engagement. Virtual training is a high energy demand for both instructor and participants and as a result, classroom time generally translates into shorter virtual sessions with more breaks.
There are many different formulae for planning your virtual experience, from offering several virtual sessions a day with substantial breaks, of at least 45 minutes, to delivering one longer session per day (say 90 mins), followed by another, several days or weeks later. If you need to cover off what you used to do in a day-long classroom and accomplish it quickly, consider four virtual sessions of 60-90 minutes each, spread over morning and afternoon over a two day period.
Class size for virtual teaching and training must be small. For a very interactive, instruction based experience, typically up to twenty participants will facilitate engaged participation and connection. Smaller classes (10-15) will work best with a real sense of connection between participants. Remember virtual training should not be confused with a webinar. Webinars (named after seminars) tend to be more passive, lecture-style presentations of content. Delivering an hour-long presentation with lots of slides to over 25 people is a webinar and while questions are often fielded throughout the presentation or taken in a Question and Answer session at the end, this experience is largely one-way communication and is not virtual training.
Just as a live classroom experience is expertly designed to leverage the in-person presence of the teacher and learners, virtual classes train the modern learner through a unique class experience that leverages expert learning design, social and interactive online activities and personalized tutoring and feedback.
Virtual training can sometimes be perceived by participants, as an opportunity to multi-task, checking email or reviewing other office-based work. If you’re leading a virtual workshop-based experience, minimize the temptation to multi-task by engaging the learner from beginning to end. For example, divide your 20 students into five breakout groups and start the interactivity from the moment the class kicks off. Ask students in each group to introduce themselves to each other and start working on a case study, scenario or workshop exercise. Get the buzz going by inviting each group to present comments and solutions early on in the 90 minutes and continue throughout the period by calling on people and groups to collaborate and contribute continuously. Get the buzz going and keep it going with an engaging and immersive dynamic, alongside smooth and seamless pacing.