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Master Digital Teaching and Digital Learning Techniques

Transform yourself from traditional face-to-face training into digital learning and Digital Teaching experience which is impactful at the same time very easy.
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digital learning

I probably don’t have to tell you that the world is going digital in a big way.

 And that includes the way we deliver training. 

The shift to digital learning is a good thing. 

Converting our instructor-led training helps us grow as learning professionals.  It’s also better for learners.

Understanding Digital Learning

How does digital learning work?

Well actually, you’re in the digital learning era right now.

You’re watching an instructional video on some type of technological device, like your iPad, laptop, or smartphone. 

You chose where to learn, at work or home, you chose which course to watch, and when to watch it. 

Digital learning is mediated through some type of technology. 

And when you, as a teacher, trainer, or instructional designer create digital learning, you’re often giving learners choices that they don’t have in an in-person experience. 

When you give students choices, learning becomes more personalized. 

And so, it tends to stick better. 

Technology is a key part of digital learning, so this is a good spot to mention common technological tools that you might use.

 I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re using a few of these already.

Virtual instructor-led training, often called webinars, online learning modules, usually referred to as e-learning, the online module is the mainstay of digital learning, online quizzes or tests, podcasts. 

Video is frequently used in digital learning. This might be the recording of a webinar, a video of a process, or a software demo, electronic job aids that help workers when they get stuck on a task. 

This might take the form of a document, a labeled graphic, or a how-to video.

On-the-job checklists are frequently used, especially those tracked by a learning management system, a company website, especially an internal website that employees use to communicate. 

And finally, online wikis, forums, and social sites where learners come together to pose a question or discuss a topic of interest.

 By no means are those all the tools you’ll use to create digital learning, but they are some of the biggies.

In summary, digital learning is made possible by some type of technology. The wide array of technology available often gives your learners more choices. 

When learners have more choices, more control, they tend to learn better.

Advantages of offering digital learning

Because you may be somewhat new to digital learning, I thought I’d highlight some of the benefits of converting your in-person training to some type of digital blend.

 I hope a few of these inspire you as you take those first few steps. 

Converting an in-person course helps you grow as a learning professional. 

By playing with various technologies, you figure out better ways to teach. 

I know that getting up to speed on various technologies can be frustrating, even scary. 

But as you’re getting started, you only need to know the specific tools you’re using.

And when you do get stuck, there are resources available.  Converting to digital extends the reach and scalability of your training. 

When you move to some type of digital blend, you’re going to be able to reach every single learner eligible for the training. 

I think you’ll admit that’s a big benefit. 

Converting reduces training costs. Okay, maybe to you this isn’t a super-sexy benefit, but it is to executive types.

 Here’s a tip. Before you start converting your training, do a quick analysis of what your traditional in-person costs the company.

 Then when you’re finished making the conversion, compare those costs to the digital version. 

This is an opportunity to show that your redesigned training is saving the organization a lot of cash. 

Converting allows you to blend training with on-the-job tasks. 

We’re always striving to show the relevance of our training, right? The cool thing about digital learning is that it often takes place where a worker does their work, for instance, a newly hired service technician demonstrating on-the-job competency by knocking items off a checklist or perhaps a software engineer posting a technical question on the company’s social site. 

In either case, the learning is baked into the work, and that makes it more relevant and more valuable. 

And finally, digital learning jives with the way everyone learns today.

 When you need to learn something, where do you go first? My hunch is Google or YouTube. 

Youtube is the biggest video hosting platform you may say, And I agree but remember there are several youtube alternatives out there.

There are many, many benefits for including aspects of digital learning, extended reach, reduced costs, incorporating learning into the workplace, and many others. 

Which resonate most with you and the needs of your organization?

The video from ispring explains all this in a brief and the importance of eLearning. 

Challenges of Providing Digital Learning Services

You are going to run into challenges as you include elements of digital learning.

Let’s cover some of the big ones. 

If you know what they are beforehand, they’ll be less daunting when they appear. 

digital learning cycle

The biggest challenge is that you’ll have far less face time with your students. 

This will make it harder for you to check in with them to see who needs additional feedback, to who’s struggling. 

Also, when you’re not there to constantly check up on them, it’s easier for students to disengage. 

But perhaps the biggest challenge about the reduced face time is that you’ll miss it. 

Another challenge is the time required to skill up on new technologies, and the frustration that arises when technical glitches pop up. 

And troubleshooting technical issues will arise. 

When you’re just starting, troubleshooting can be very frustrating, especially if you’re working remotely. 

Robust and reliable technology is rarely free, which is another issue you’ll run up against, especially if your organization isn’t used to paying for learning technology. 

The last challenge is gaining support from all the groups that are involved in the training. 

Digital learning, more often than not, is a blend of formats, and thus, a team effort. For example, let’s say you’ve designed an onboarding curriculum for new salespeople at your company. 

The program consists of two basic parts, a series of online modules that serve as a prerequisite to your weekly virtual training. 

The success of your virtual training depends on learners having completed the modules. 

However, the learners don’t report to you, so you don’t have control over whether they complete them or not. 

In this instance, you’ll need the support of the salespeople’s manager to make sure that modules get done. 

To gain the necessary support for a digital solution, you’ll need to explain to every group involved what the training consists of, and what their role is in making it successful. 

This may require a bit more project management than you may be used to.

 Every learning format has its challenges. 

And now that you know the important ones you’ll face, I think you’ll find them a bit easier to deal with.

Digital Learning Types

Every organization is different, and so has different training needs, which means I can’t give you a recipe for how to convert your in-person training. 

What I can do is show you the different types of digital learning available and help you identify when a specific type might be appropriate so you can figure out what would work in your situation. Before we dig in, though, I want to talk about converting training to digital learning. 

When you’re forced to deliver what was an in-person event to a virtual or digital format, it might be helpful to frame it as converting, as you’re seeing how an in-person event can be replicated online. 

As you become more familiar with the learning technology available to you, however, I think you’ll see it less of a converting and more as creating a blended learning experience using digital tools. 

Just something to keep in mind as we take a look at the formats available to you.

Synchronous Learning (Webinar)

Synchronous Learning is often referred to as a webinar. 

The anchor of this type of training is an online meeting held at a specific time and on a regular cadence like you meet with your class every Monday and Wednesday from 2:00 to 3:00 PM. 

Because people gather at a specific time, we refer to this type of training as synchronous. Let’s look at four situations in which virtual instructor-led training is especially appropriate. 

The first is pretty obvious. Emergencies where a class or some type of in-person learning event which was supposed to happen, can’t.

Like during the COVID-19 outbreak or a natural disaster. 

The second situation you might consider virtual training is when you’re teaching a hands-on skill and learners would greatly benefit from immediate feedback. 

Virtual training is also good when the subject matter itself is complicated, technical, and full of exceptions. For instance, if you were teaching anti-discrimination laws to human resources personnel, you’d likely go virtual.

With these types of topics, learners are likely to have a lot of questions. 

Questions they’ll need you to answer before they can move on. The fourth situation that’s ideal for virtual training is when learners need to connect and collaborate.

Maybe they’re part of a team working on a project. 

Maybe they form a new hire cohort. 

Virtual instructor-led training is great for connecting. 

Learners can chat with each other. 

You can place them in small groups so they can work together and learn from each other. 

Would your learners benefit from your immediate feedback? Are they bound to have questions? Is it critical that they connect and collaborate? If so, consider virtual instructor-led training.

Learning Management System or LMS

Out of all the types of digital learning, we’ll discuss, traditional eLearning is perhaps the most flexible. It’s a great format in which to simply present information.

If combined with video and scenarios it’s also great for capturing a process and allowing learners to practice job-related skills. 

The basis of eLearning is the online learning module. It’s usually housed on a learning management system or LMS. 

As a general rule, learners can take the modules whenever and wherever they want which is why we call traditional eLearning asynchronous training. 

Here are some situations when you might lean on eLearning. 

When your learners are geographically dispersed. For instance, you’ve got learners in Denver, Boston, and Bangladesh. 

When you need to present factual, and/or foundational material. 

You often see this in new hire orientation modules where the history, culture, and products of a company are described. 

Often eLearning serves as a prerequisite to some type of hands-on training. You might also consider eLearning when the group you’re training does most of their work on a computer. 

If that’s the case you’ll be able to create exercises and simulations that mimic their everyday work life which is of course what the best training does. 

Elearning is generally good at replicating environments that are dangerous or difficult to get to. 

If you were teaching military officers basic tactics for fighting in jungle environments, you’d likely start with a series of eLearning scenarios. Last, and this is more of a general rule. 

Consider eLearning when your learners are motivated to take and complete the training. 

With traditional eLearning, learners are given a lot of freedom as to when and where they complete the training so it’s best to assign to groups that you don’t have to keep a close eye on.

 Elearning is a super flexible format, great for presenting information, allowing learners to practice skills, and everything in between. Your efforts learning about it won’t be wasted.

Video-based learning

In the last 10 years, the use of video in training has exploded, and for good reason. 

To determine where video might fit in your digital blend, let’s talk about the types of video you’ll likely be working with and the things that video does well. 

First, there’s a webinar-type video, including that which your webcam captures. 

When you record a webinar or a conference call in whatever tool your organization uses, the recording will be published out in a video format. 

This is frequently shared with those who couldn’t make the session. 

Then there’s the process video. 

This is pretty much what it sounds like. 

Someone, usually a subject matter expert, is filmed doing a process or a procedure the correct way. 

Say, how to put on a safety harness so roof workers can stay secure. 

And there are screen recordings that are related to process video. 

Most often, screen recordings are some type of software demo like when you need to show workers how to log their time in a time-keeping application or how a customer service rep should document a conversation they had with a customer. 

As I mentioned, the video does a few things very well, so please keep the following in mind as you think about how video might work in your digital blend. 

Video instills emotion and humanness into a learning experience. You see this when teachers and trainers send inspirational video messages to students.

 The video says I’m here for you, you can do this, so get to it. 

If you haven’t already, you should try it sometime. 

Video is good at showing a process. 

A technician installing a piece of equipment.

 A sales representative speaking with a customer. A pastry chef showing how to make the perfect creme Brule. 

Like eLearning, video is a practical way to show environments that are hard or dangerous to get to. 

Recently I filmed a technician working in a tight, hot attic space, and as the sweat slid down my face I remember thinking video is about the only way to capture this process and get it out to everyone who needs to see it. 

Video is popular for good reason. It’s great for capturing a process, instilling emotion, and showing environments that are tricky to get to. So, where might a little video fit into your learning solution?

Performance Support Solutions

I know we think of ourselves as educators and trainers, but sometimes we don’t need to train workers. 

We just need to provide good documentation to help them when they’re stuck on an on-the-job task. 

For instance, a technician out in the field might just need a bit of prompting on how to rewire a piece of equipment or maybe an office worker who’s performing a complicated software task. 

In cases like these, we might consider building performance support resources instead of formal training. 

Most performance support resources these days are digital. Common ones include electronic job aids, checklists, how-to videos, and staffed hotlines. 

such resources can be stored in several places. It might be a company drive on the cloud. It might be a dedicated space on the company’s internal website. 

You’re also starting to see support resources posted on a company’s social site, such as Yammer or Slack. When might you use performance support? As a general rule, performance support solutions assume the worker already knows a lot. 

They just need some reminders around the details of a task. As such, performance support is usually geared toward more experienced workers, rather than newbies who have yet to master the basics. 

If you support experienced workers and notice that they struggle with a few important tasks, you might consider building a support resource to help them through. 

It doesn’t have to be fancy, just helpful.

Social Learning

If you’ve ever participated in an online community or posted something on your company’s intranet or social site, you’ve done social learning. 

You trailblazer, you. Digital social learning, sometimes called informal learning, collaborative learning, or community of practice happens when people come together in a digital space and learn from each other. 

Some companies are more open to digital social learning than others, but here are a couple of ways you might use it. 

As a type of performance support. There are groups in your organization that have to deal with complex situations every day. 

Out of necessity, members of these groups are already chatting with each other, often through IM, instant messaging, or chat. 

You could formalize how people share their knowledge by creating a digital space, say, in your company’s internal website or social site, where users can post and respond to questions. You’d be creating a mini forum. 

You can also use digital social learning to encourage the sharing of best practices. What you often see is workers uploading videos or images of some success they’ve had on the job. 

For example, I’ve seen bartenders demonstrate, with pride, a new drink they’ve concocted. 

A project planner sharing a screenshot of a development timeline that shaved days off a project. I’ve seen roofers give quick, selfie interviews on what allowed them to do a large job quickly and safely. 

These videos usually have a celebratory vibe to them, which is fun to see. 

Training doesn’t have to be formal. 

Social learning is casual and can be a great way to offer performance support and share best practices.

Conclusion

The world is changing and everyone in it should adapt as per the trend. 
Digital learning and Digital teaching is a new trend.  There are platforms available to help you acquire new skills and even share yours with others.

What do you think about the era of the digital world, do you have any skills to share? Post your comment below.

You are going to run into challenges as you include elements of digital learning.

Let’s cover some of the big ones. 

If you know what they are beforehand, they’ll be less daunting when they appear. 

The biggest challenge is that you’ll have far less face time with your students. 

This will make it harder for you to check in with them to see who needs additional feedback, to who’s struggling. 

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Picture of Shashi kant Pandidhar

Shashi kant Pandidhar

I’ve been helping businesses to be online for over 15 years. Today my team and I, focus on helping real businesses to overcome real-life challenges and analyse data in a way that can help businesses grow in the right direction of this digital age.

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