This cadence is in contrast to our classroom schedule in which participants engage in two 8-hour sessions. These sessions are designed to activate the benefits of modern technology and video to replicate the classroom experience while maximising time and minimising costs.
A 4×4 Interval Structure
This 4 X 4 interval is effective for learning in two ways. First, spreading the training experience across a greater number of sessions consisting of shorter periods engages a mode of learning called “distributed practice.” This style is characterised by spacing out the instruction. These spaces between instruction are critical for driving retention.
Second, spaced learning allows for more immediate practical application. That is, learners have an opportunity to apply what they have learned earlier in the training experience. This characteristic is in critical contrast to traditional classroom learning in which concepts are not applied until after the sessions are complete. On-the-job application means sales professionals can return to the next session with an understanding of how the concepts work in real selling scenarios. We have leveraged this benefit in our methodology by incorporating “on-the-job assignments” in which learners are tasked with applying the concepts to real-life customer engagements, then reporting on results in the following VILT session.
Meaningful Learner Engagement
Our VILT solution prioritises interactivity. This feature is critical for the learner’s success in a virtual setting because it avoids the disengagement that pervades traditional “watch-and-learn” instruction.
We have included several interactive tools into our methodology, including polling, chats, and breakout groups. These elements not only expose learners to input from other participants, but they also create a cooperative learning environment. This cooperation is what makes our VILT solution effective. Learners interact over video rather than exclusively through chat, which, if overused, can in fact dissuade interaction. The chat function is effective but only when used sparingly and thoughtfully.
Cooperative learning seeks to develop the individual’s skills through group engagement. The effectiveness of cooperative learning is that participants share knowledge and work together to make each other’s understanding of the material complete. Students become active participants in the learning process rather than relying entirely on the instructor.
Printed Materials for Ongoing Reference
Participants will receive printer-friendly materials that serve as a reference. These materials consist of five parts:
- Getting Started: Our “Getting Started” materials set expectations, an overview of the course, and a best practises guide to using Zoom.
- Workbooks: The workbook includes the material used during the workshop and includes concepts and lessons.
- On-the-Job-Assignments: The on-the-job assignments are specific tasks to be executed on real, existing sales opportunities. This practical application drives retention and engagement by giving learners a chance to see the effectiveness of concepts learned in training. Each assignment consists of four parts: review, prepare, reflect, and share.
- Resource Guide: The Resource Guide is a complete guide to all of the concepts and practises covered in the training sessions.
- Learning Content Map: The Learning Content Map is a one-sheet guide that distils all of the concepts and ideas underpinning the effective selling behaviours shared in the course.
A Classroom Experience From any Location
We replicate the classroom experience through the use of video to make the participants visible to each other rather than simply acting as a two-way mirror in which learners only view the instructor.
Learners are encouraged to raise their hands, as they would in a classroom, rather than click a button. Facilitators will periodically stop using the “Screen Share” function so that participants have a view of their colleagues. This approach reminds the group that they are in a cooperative environment and that participation is part of the learning routine.
To further encourage participation, we engage smaller VILT class sizes (10 – 12 participants), compared to in-person training. This environment is conducive to a more fluid exchange of ideas, more focused role play scenarios, and an intensified level of engagement. Smaller class sizes also keep learners alert because they know there is a greater probability that they will be called upon, a regular practice in VILT. Learners are asked to elaborate on their responses, answer follow-up questions, or offer their thoughts on a colleague’s response to a question.
Our smaller class sizes also provide learners with the opportunity to become more detailed in their discussions of real-world selling challenges. When a participant volunteers an idea or remark, they have the freedom to offer granular details because they are in a setting with fewer people, which allows each person to talk for a longer period. This dynamic leads to more customised application of the skills learned.
Faster Results with a Scalable, Accelerated Framework
Leaders are discovering that ROI justification is easier when the substantial cost of travel and related non-selling activities can be removed from the equation. A training programme yields financial benefits earlier when the required financial outlay drops.
This case for virtual training becomes even stronger when put in the context of competitive advantage. By making the move to virtual training now, a business will outpace competitors who choose to wait for conditions to change. Those who take proactive steps will already be yielding results that remain out of reach for those opting to “wait and see.”