Make Your Instructor-Led Training Interactive

Instructor-Led Training (ILT) seemed to have had lost its sheen and eLearning had caught up big time. As a part of an eLearning content development company and involved closely with proposals and customers, there weren’t many ILT related proposals we got to work on. But since last couple of years, ILT have again gained importance and are in demand than ever before. My guess is flipped classroom and virtual ILT helped in this change.

We had quite a few of our clients thinking of ILT development, but were concerned about it becoming stagnant very quickly if developed the traditional way. Their learners would expect ILT to be equally engaging and interactive as their eLearning courses. That got us thinking. Apart from the traditional ways of engaging a learner in an ILT, what are some interesting ways to make it engaging and interactive?Converting Boring ILTs to Interactive ILTs

An important point to note is that an ILT will require as much instructional design as an eLearning course development. Even though the PowerPoint presentation is the backbone of the ILT, just a good looking presentation with numerous bulleted lists and graphics thrown in will not be able to sustain the learner’s attention. There’s a lot an instructional designer can do to add value.

Here are few guidelines to follow while designing an ILT-

1. Design a theme for presentation and the guides– Design graphical theme of the presentation in line with the branding guidelines. Follow the theme for the Instructor/ Facilitator guide (FG) and Participant/Student guide (PG). Once familiar with the theme, it will then not serve as an attention diverter.

2. Use appropriate amount of graphics and multimedia elements – Have less text on your slides. Make use of graphics, infographics, multimedia elements such as animations and videos appropriately. Less text on screen will ensure learner to focus on the instructor rather than reading the slide.

3. Take benefit of learners being together by designing activities which encourage their participation.

Some techniques that can be used for increasing learner participation are listed below:

1. Ice breaker session is a must. Get people to know each other. Only then will they interact. Instead of having it as the first session, have it once the participants have settled down and are comfortable with the instructor.

2. Use training games– There are various training games that can be designed by the instructional designer in collaboration with the SME and instructor/facilitator. Some such games are Card or Board games, Puzzles, Show of hands etc. For one of our customer we designed similar games using YawnBuster (http://www.yawnbuster.com/). YawnBuster provides some interesting group activities and game templates.

Interactive ILT Activities  Interactive Instructor-Led Training

Raptivity (www.raptivity.com) is another such tool which can help create variety of interactions that can be embedded into PowerPoint.

3. Role plays– By assuming roles and acting out scenarios that might occur in a situation, learners learn how to handle them before they face them on the job. It’s an excellent training technique for many interpersonal skills and sales training.

4. Quizzes– Design small end of topic quizzes or ask the learners to design one for you by jotting down questions on the topic and use these questions to create quizzes on the go. Reward the best question! Yes you read it right 🙂

5. Case studies– Discuss and analyze job related real scenarios that would allow learners to handle similar situations.

6. Crowd-sourcing– Get people to interact with each other. Encourage learners to learn from each other by designing small group activities.

At Harbinger we believe that ILT should not be designed as standalone training. They work best if they are a part of a flipped classroom or blending learning program. The ‘need to know’ content should be covered in the ILT and the ‘good to know’ content can be developed into an eLearning course to supplement learning. eLearning also acts as a good refresher to the classroom sessions.

A blended learning program could follow below format.

Blended learning program designAdditional learning components such as online discussion forums, reference reading material etc. could be added at appropriate places.

Are you seeing similar demands for ILT? What are some ways you make them interactive? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.

eACH 2016 Reflections

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eLearning Alliance of Canadian Hospitals, popularly known as eACH, is a much sought after conference amongst the eLearning fraternity of the Canadian hospitals. eACH 2016 was a grand affair and having attended it on behalf of Harbinger Interactive Learning, I must say that there is no way an eLearning professional not return home inspired to make a difference after attending it. The conference created an amazing atmosphere for all participants to network, engage, learn and grow as eLearning professionals. With so many experts under a single roof, the wealth of experience gained is always priceless.

The vast amount of knowledge shared around learning technologies and information deserves a special mention. Just to give the readers an idea of the conference sessions, it included workshops on some interesting topics like:

  • An Introduction to Storyline, By Tracy Parish
  • Better Than Bullet Points, By Jane Bozarth
  • Building a Strong Foundation, By Cindy Plunkett
  • Interactive Video for eLearning Designers, By David Anderson
  • Digital Storytelling: Making Educational Videos That Speak to the Learner, , By Sarah Dewar, Sharon Navarro

With so much to catch up on, I could only attend couple of sessions, but even those were immensely helpful and informative, as the speakers and topics were top notch.

Another big attraction was ‘Show & Share’ where a few eLearning developers showcased their innovative designs to the attendees. The designs included game based courses, scenario based modules, responsive designs, mobile apps etc. The examples were so good that it must have inspired many to implement some new techniques and strategies in their company’s training this year.

The exhibit hall which was very decently arranged, had significant traffic and there was much interest in our booth. Since most visitors had used Harbinger’s flagship eLearning tool Raptivity in the past, they were already familiar with the product side of Harbinger’s business. We had Todd Kasenberg, Interactive Learning Thought Leader and a Raptivity champion, join us at the booth. This time we were exhibiting the services side of our activities, which is customized development of learner centric trainings. Unlike most other vendors who were LMS companies, we stood out as being a service provider. Visitors to our booth appreciated the screenshots of our work and the live samples. Most mentioned that they would like similar quality of eLearning at their organization too.

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Other vendors in the exhibit hall were helpful and informative. I wouldn’t deny that the Harbinger team learned a lot from them.

It may seem unnecessary to talk about, but being a foodie, I can’t miss talking about the food. We were taken care of very well, and so were our tummies. The delicious breakfast items, lunch and ingoing shots of caffeine kept our engines fueled throughout.

As a concluding note, exhibiting at eACH provided Harbinger with an opportunity to interact with other eLearning professionals who are serious about advancing in their field. The networking opportunities were tremendous and the talks were insightful and relevant. All in all, a great event!