What We’ve Learned After a Year of Online Training

We’ve recently reached a year of coronavirus restrictions in the UK, and as we look optimistically towards the future, it’s also fitting time to look back on a year’s worth of online training and take stock of the things we’ve learnt.

In 2020, there was the expectation that our move to online classrooms would be a short one. As time has gone on, we’ve developed our virtual classroom courses into something we’re really proud of (why not take a look at what’s coming up). In this article we’re going to take a look at what we’ve done over the last 12 months and what we’re looking forward to in the next 12.

1 – Better the tool you know

I’m sure everyone has been using some form of meeting software this year, be it Zoom, Webex, Teams or GoTo Meeting. The world of online tools has exploded into not just our workspaces but also our social lives.

We’ve worked with all of these tools over the last year, but our firm favourite for public courses is Zoom. With its user-friendly interface, we find Zoom the easiest tool to get people up and going at the start of a new course. It also offers the most important functions that we use – simple and intuitive chat and share screen functions, and easy to use breakout rooms for classroom exercises.

While we might prefer Zoom, the most important thing we’ve discovered is that the tool that you’re familiar with, is the best tool for you. If you’re looking to run an in-house session and the team are already established on Teams or Webex, then using what everyone has already spent a year getting to grips with might be the better option for you.

2 – Variety is the spice of life

It’s not just your meeting app that’s an important decision to make. It’s important to recognise the differences between physical and virtual classroom courses and make some changes to your delivery and materials in order to accommodate that.

The first change we made to our course delivery was to shorten our days. After all, six hours in a classroom, with coffee breaks, chats, and time to stand up and talk for exercises, isn’t the same as six hours staring at a screen. We’ve split our days up into smaller sessions and run a slightly shorter day in order to give people the breaks they need away from their computer. We’ve also recreated our course materials, to avoid glaring white backgrounds and provide more interaction.

The change in schedule has also allowed us to try a whole set of new course offerings. We’ve had the option of running different types of courses, including shorter half sessions, longer term distance learning and eLearning courses.

3 – PMO Training is in global demand

One of our happiest learnings of the last year is that there is a true global demand for PMO training, and the pandemic has offered us an opportunity to deliver our course to a much wider range of people. It’s been exciting to meet new people from all over the world!

This has allowed us to discover a whole new set of PMO colleagues but has bought it’s own host of logistics. We’ve run courses in different time zones and begun to offer all our course materials and resources online.

4 – We’re missing the social side of training

As we move towards the, hopefully less restricted, future, we’re beginning to look forward to being able to open up our physical classrooms again. Unfortunately, the one thing that’s hardest to emulate in the online space is the casual conversations we have with our delegates outside of the course material. The chats at lunch and genuine connections we make over the course are what we’ve missed the most and we can’t wait to get back to it.

As a step towards ‘normality’, we’re happy to begin offering an in-person trainer option for inhouse courses  from the 12th April, before looking at reopening public classroom courses nearer the end of the year. We’re excited to see all of our fantastic delegates soon, and if you were interested in bringing us in-house, you can find out more here.

You can read our updated Coronavirus Precautions here.

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