InSync Training

Jennifer Hofmann

Jennifer Hofmann
Jennifer Hofmann is the president of InSync Training, LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in the design and delivery of virtual and blended learning. Featured in Forbes Most Powerful Women issue (June 16, 2014) as a New England Women Business Leader, she has led InSync Training to the Inc. 5000 as the 10th Fastest Growing Education Company in the US (2013). Hofmann is a recognized thought leader in the field of synchronous learning. She is the author of The Synchronous Trainer’s Survival Guide: Facilitating Successful Live and Online Courses, Meetings and Events (Pfeiffer, 2003), Live and Online! Tips, Techniques, and Ready-To-Use Activities for the Virtual Classroom (Pfeiffer, 2004), and How To Design For The Live Online Classroom: Creating Great Interactive and Collaborative Training Using Web Conferencing (Brandon Hall, 2005). Additionally, she is a chapter contributor to The Handbook of Blended Learning (Pfeiffer, 2006), The AMA Handbook of E-Learning (The American Management Association, 2003), and The ASTD Handbook for Workplace Learning Professionals (ASTD, 2008). She has most recently co-authored, with Dr. Nanette Miner, Tailored Learning: Designing the Blend That Fits (ASTD, 2009), a book focused on taking advantage of distributed technologies to create the best blended training solution possible.
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Recent Posts

Lesson Learned: Virtual Facilitation is DIFFERENT Than Traditional Facilitation

Posted by Jennifer Hofmann on Jan 16, 2020 12:26:49 PM
Lessons Learned about Virtual Classroom Facilitation

In 2020, we’ll be sharing the lessons we’ve learned about the virtual classroom over the last twenty years, and we’ll link back to our more detailed content around these topics, in case you want to learn more! 

When organizations started to adopt the virtual classroom in the 1990s, the focus was on the technology-driven benefits it could provide - Reduction in travel cost, less disruption to learner schedules, and the ability to share subject matter expertise in a much more immediate and relevant way.

We could train everyone, when they needed it, and save money at the same time.

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Topics: Virtual Classroom, Virtual Classroom - Facilitation, Engagement, Lessons Learned

Hindsight is 2020 - 20 Years of Driving Digital Engagement in the Virtual Classroom

Posted by Jennifer Hofmann on Jan 6, 2020 11:51:00 PM
InSync Training 20 Year Anniversary Logo

On January 3, 2000, I created a company named InSync Training. To answer a commonly asked question, the name WASN’T a play on the name of a popular boy band of the time - back then, virtual classrooms were called ‘synchronous classrooms,’ so I felt the name would be compelling. 

At that time, the U.S. economy was coming out of the Dotcom era, and organizations were investing heavily in web-based technologies in all aspects of their operations (including learning and development) without any real understanding of what all this new tech would do for them. It was just assumed that the virtual classroom was the right choice for all modern training. I entered the marketplace with the vision of providing foundational, proven practices for training professionals to use and maximize virtual live instructional technologies in delivering training programs.

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Topics: Virtual Classroom, Virtual Classroom - Facilitation, Virtual Facilitation, Lessons Learned

Virtual Learning 101: Technical Disasters

Posted by Jennifer Hofmann on Dec 12, 2019 10:00:00 AM

133081759_sOne of the most common questions my team and I receive about virtual learning events boils down to technology: how do you make sure glitches don’t cause learners to disconnect?

I love this question! It means that stakeholders, designers, and facilitators care about the experience learners have in a session. Plus, it also speaks to program success – people who want to prevent technology from derailing training from achieving the bigger goal of improving performance and developing participants’ skills.

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Topics: EdTech, Virtual Classroom - Best Practices, Virtual Learning

Virtual Learning 101: Learner Engagement and Session Scheduling

Posted by Jennifer Hofmann on Nov 19, 2019 10:00:00 AM

89011256_sA few weeks ago, I responded to a number of fundamental questions about virtual learning. And in the process of reviewing the inquiries my team frequently receives when working with modern learners, new clients, and in established programs, I realized that much confusion remains around this learning environment.

Like the answers I recently provided to three common blended training questions, these answers also focus on practitioner core competencies and technology basics.

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Topics: Virtual Classroom - Instructional Design, Virtual Classroom - Facilitation, Global Virtual Classroom, learner engagement

Don’t Design Training Content like a Food Blogger!

Posted by Jennifer Hofmann on Nov 12, 2019 8:00:00 AM

85002819_sThis weekend, I purchased something new at a local farmers market: delicata squash.

It came highly recommended as an easy winter squash to prepare, with a nice light taste.

As I was getting ready to cook it, I had a couple of quick questions. At what temperature should it bake, and for how long?

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Topics: Virtual Classroom - Instructional Design

Not Another Recorded Webinar! How To Use Virtual Classroom Recordings

Posted by Jennifer Hofmann on Nov 5, 2019 8:00:00 AM

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When should we record live virtual classroom sessions, and how can we design quality, engaging recordings for on-demand audiences? 

I’ve never been fond of recording all virtual classes and making them available on demand. I’ve always felt that devalues live virtual instruction. After all, if there is no difference in the learner experience for someone to attend a live program versus a recording, then why deliver any live content?

Nevertheless, whether it’s an information-dense webinar or a hands-on, collaborative virtual lesson, most organizations have thousands of hours of recorded sessions in their training libraries.

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Topics: Webinars, Virtual Classroom - Best Practices, Virtual Learning

Virtual Learning 101: Answers to Three Common Training Questions

Posted by Jennifer Hofmann on Oct 22, 2019 8:00:00 AM

67049633_sMore organizations than ever have transitioned from traditional face-to-face training to virtual classrooms. And since no training element stands alone, most blends include live online components of some kind.

But, even as technology becomes more ubiquitous in corporate learning, decision makers and practitioners have questions about its efficacy.

My team compiled the questions they most commonly hear in their day-to-day work. When I reviewed them, I recognized that the answers speak to core best practices and the value platforms like Zoom, WebEx, and Adobe Connect contribute to enterprise training.

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Topics: Virtual Classroom - Best Practices, Global Virtual Classroom, Virtual Learning

Laying the Foundation for Virtual Classroom Facilitation and Design

Posted by Jennifer Hofmann on Oct 1, 2019 9:45:06 AM

47200126_s-1There must be an instructional solution between a one-hour webinar and a six-week certificate…

The virtual classroom allows us to create learning experiences that weren’t available 20 years ago. We can space out lessons over days, weeks, and even months so that our learners can reflect on everything they’ve learned and practice those skills before returning to the virtual classroom to learn more. This is an instructionally sound approach, supported by research, that allows individuals to apply what they’ve learned and see a path forward towards mastery.

For example, InSync’s primary training audience consists of professional facilitators, instructional designers, and virtual classroom producers. Most of these individuals are experienced in supporting traditional classroom environments and have a need to add mastery of the virtual classroom to their existing skill sets. For this group of professionals, multiple-week blended learning experiences with rigorously assessed final projects makes sense. 

This intensive model works for most types of training when the intent is creating a path to mastery.

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Topics: Virtual Classroom - Instructional Design, Virtual Classroom - Facilitation

7 Ways Facilitators Can Nurture Emotional Engagement in the Virtual Classroom

Posted by Jennifer Hofmann on Sep 5, 2019 9:00:00 AM

This is the third installment in a three-part series that explores actionable approaches virtual classroom facilitators can use to improve learner engagement through purposeful facilitation.

Heart_Words-1

We often frame corporate training as a compulsory process: complete these requirements and move on to the next task. It's a reinforcement of a "Push" learning culture that is content-centric, and not a personal experience.

Effective learning involves an emotional component. Employees want to do well on the job. They hope to have the skills required to meet their goals. They stress about balancing their professional responsibilities while upskilling. The training function has an obligation to recognize these emotions, and facilitators can improve virtual training experiences by addressing them in their delivery approach.

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Topics: Advanced Facilitation Learner Engagement

5 Ways Facilitators Can Stimulate Intellectual Engagement in the Virtual Classroom

Posted by Jennifer Hofmann on Aug 27, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Intellectual learner engagementThis is the second installment in a three-part series that explores actionable approaches facilitators can use to improve learner engagement through purposeful facilitation.

Can the virtual classroom actually achieve the same learning results as a face-to-face approach? Or is it a ‘second best’ solution?

I believe that, if our approach is authentic and well-designed, facilitators can ensure that virtual learning is REAL learning. And help learners recognize this as well.

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Topics: Virtual Classroom - Facilitation, Advanced Facilitation, Intellectual Engagement, learner engagement, Advanced Facilitation Learner Engagement