This month, guest contributor Jenny Holt explores the helpfulness of technology in supporting both virtual learners and virtual teams.
Studies show that conversation between colleagues boosts performance by 20%, but this can be challenging to make the most of when remote teams are increasingly split across the globe.
Training is an area of business where communication is absolutely key - the prevalence of remote and virtual teams places even more responsibility on the virtual trainer to bring teams together regularly and enable meaningful interaction between members. There are various aspects of technology that can be used effectively to make the training experience more streamlined, while also boosting overall team performance in the process.
Global Virtual Classroom,
Guest author Jenny Holt revisits the idea of outdoor learning in her newest blog.
Professional trainers must adapt to any learning environment, including those in the great outdoors. And when you consider where our learners work, understanding how to manage mother nature as a fickle classroom host becomes an important skillset for many L&D professionals.
In America, over half of all jobs require working outside, and this means that a large part of the training needs to be outside too. From farming and agriculture to forestry, construction, transportation and the hospitality industry, sitting at a desk in an office certainly isn’t the norm. The problem with working outdoors, however, is that sometimes the weather can be restrictive. For instance, if you are a tree surgeon, you certainly don’t want to be training on days when there are high winds.
So what can you do when the weather interrupts your outdoor training session?
As learning managers and leaders, your responsibilities extend beyond the modern classroom. Creating unity and trust within your team increases the success of your short-term projects and long-term goals. Guest contributor Jenny Holt provides guidance on how to build a sense of community within your department and connects the process back to what we do best: ongoing professional development.
If you’re not convinced of the effectiveness of team-building activities that allow your employees to develop professional skills while also learning more about the company and their colleagues, then you’ll be interested to know that poorly managed work groups are on average 50% less productive and 44% less profitable than well-managed groups.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool in our personal learning toolkit. It not only connects us with our peers, but enables us to network with thought-leaders and contribute meaningfully to discussion subjects about which we're passionate. Guest blogger Jenny Holt provides guidance on how individuals (and even teams) can use this professional networking social platform for professional development.
For the uninitiated, LinkedIn is often seen as a social network that is good for making professional connections and developing a reputation as an industry thought leader. But, that’s not all it’s good for. The LinkedIn Groups feature is becoming an increasingly popular option for sharing top tips, giving and receiving feedback, and engaging in online discussions.
Here’s how you can use groups in your learning strategy.
Learning Environment Design
For any business project to be a success, it’s important that all parties involved know their roles and responsibilities. Whether you’re overseeing a small team or an international collaborative effort, as a project manager it’s your duty to ensure that everyone under your chain of command understands their place within the company.
One way that project managers stay on top of task delegation is by utilizing a responsibility assignment matrix, also known as a linear responsibility chart or RACI model. These models offer a powerful organizational tool that helps to keep teams running smoothly and deliver quality results.
With modern blended learning, we strive to build skills beyond the classroom, and support learners in how they work and live. Guest blogger Jenny Holt explores an exciting aspect of the digital age. It's a helpful starting point for learning and development professionals asking, "How can we increase the impact of EdTech?"
Virtual spaces and video games are more than just a fun way to spend the evening after work or school. In recent years, researchers have been looking into virtual reality as a way for people to cope with a number of problems, both mental and physical, including:
- Overcoming eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, and obesity
- Fixing stuttering and speech problems
- Getting over phobias and irrational fears
- Stopping substance abuse
- Controlling negative behaviors associated with autism
- Sensory stimulation and pain relief
Modern Blended Learning
Many learning practitioners unexpectedly assume leadership roles within their teams. How do you make sure you're up to the task? Guest blogger Jenny Holt recommends you focus on listening.
From the monotone drone of the boardroom presentation that just won’t end, to the co-worker steamrolling your water-cooler story with a personal anecdote, it isn’t difficult to spot a stunted communicator. However, skillful communication is not dictated by one’s propensity to speak and be heard, but rather the ability to mindfully respond to what others say by employing active listening skills. In the case of a virtual training environment in a non-physical classroom, the value of this proficiency is heightened by the presence of mobile learners.
A good project manager needs to know that they are communicating well with their team - that he/she is hearing them and being heard. It is said that “the greatest enemy of communication is the illusion of it.” For a project manager, effective dialogue with team members is one of the most important skills to possess. Each person has a unique life perspective and an equally unique way of communicating. Add to the mix a team where some or all the members work remotely, and you have quite the project management challenge.
To avoid communication challenges, here are three common pitfalls project managers should look out for.
Perpetual learning embraces the idea that every moment presents an opportunity to create new knowledge or build on existing skills. How do you embrace this approach when faced with a limited budget, and a changing job market? Guest blogger Jenny Holt explores how training courses provide a potential solution.
In the traditional model of education and training, students learn from professors by physically attending classes at specified times. Not only is this quite expensive, but it is also difficult to find customized solutions that allow the unemployed person to see to their job searching and family responsibilities. Fortunately, due to technological advances in education, online training has become a viable option for those who remain unemployed following the Great Recession.
InSync Training operates under a thoroughly modern business model: the entire team works remotely! Guest blogger Jenny Holt provides some benefits and drawbacks of this arrangement.
Many businesses are moving away from having dedicated office space in their facilities for team members to work in. Instead, they are choosing to allow, and even encourage, workers to perform their daily activities from home.
As you might imagine, there are both pros and cons associated with remote teams. By analyzing the pros and cons of having remote teams in your workforce, you may be able to determine if this is a management strategy that might work for you and your employees.