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Creating a Collective Commitment to Hybrid Virtual Learning

Creating a Collective Commitment to Hybrid Virtual Learning


Creating a Collective Commitment to Hybrid Virtual Learning


How Learners and Facilitators Share Responsibility for Engagement in Hybrid Virtual Learning Environments

As more and more corporations are turning toward hybrid learning environments for their training and development programs, it has become critical to establish some guiding principles to ensure the success of virtual classroom training programs. Hybrid learning environments can be complex and challenging, making it harder for learners to focus and engage in the learning process.


To address these challenges, corporate training departments need to consider what exactly they expect from learners in the hybrid environment.

Rules of Environmental Engagement – A Collective Commitment to Learning

Ground rules in a learning environment serve a purpose beyond merely ensuring efficiency: they're instrumental in providing everyone with an equal opportunity to learn. These guidelines foster an atmosphere of respect and inclusivity, where every participant feels heard and valued.

By actively practicing the ground rules, learners take part in creating a robust and engaging learning environment. With each individual adhering to these norms, the level of environmental engagement across the group is amplified.

But why is this outcome the case? It's because ground rules establish a shared understanding and expectation for behavior, promoting open communication, active participation, and a sense of community. This collective commitment cultivates a more dynamic and interactive learning experience, in turn boosting overall group engagement.

Building a Collective Commitment: Six Principles to Ensure Virtual Learner Engagement

Cultivating an engaging environment in a virtual learning setting is not solely the responsibility of the facilitator; it's a shared commitment between the facilitator and the learners. This collective pledge to engage and participate actively is what truly drives the success of hybrid learning environments. With this knowledge in mind, let's explore six fundamental principles by which learners should abide to contribute to group success and explore how a virtual classroom facilitator can lead and support this process.

  1. Learners should prioritize the learning experience and minimize distractions for optimal focus.

Hybrid learning environments can be noisy with distractions like emails, phone calls, social media notifications, etc., which can all negatively affect the learning process. To achieve the best results possible, it is essential that the learner prioritize the learning experience above all else. Participants should minimize distractions by notifying friends, family, and colleagues that they are unavailable during the learning period and avoiding multitasking. 

Virtual classroom facilitators can assist learners by providing clear guidelines on expected behavior during sessions and using technology tools that help manage distractions, such as turning off notifications, setting "do not disturb" modes, or even using virtual backgrounds to maintain a professional and distraction-free visual environment. They can also structure the session in a way that includes regular breaks for learners to catch up on pressing matters outside the learning environment, further encouraging focus during active learning periods.

  1. Learners should actively participate in all activities.

Active participation is key to successful learning, especially in a virtual session. To promote active participation in virtual learning, trainers must create opportunities for engagement through a varied means such as interactive polls, quizzes, group discussions, virtual break-out rooms, and so on. 

Virtual classroom facilitators can assist learners by implementing these interactive elements in their sessions and encouraging students to voice their thoughts, questions, and ideas. They can also provide positive reinforcement for participation, such as verbal acknowledgment or feedback, to foster a more engaging learning environment.

  1. Learners should practice respectful, open, and transparent communication.

Effective communication keeps everyone on the same page. In hybrid learning environments, communication becomes even more critical than in the old "normal," as participants are not in the same physical space. Effective communication requires being respectful, open, and transparent in all interactions. Learners must be able to keep their microphones muted when they are not speaking, use non-verbal cues like raising hands, and always respect other participants' viewpoints, even if those are different from their own. 

Virtual classroom facilitators can assist learners by modeling these behaviors in their own communication and reinforcing the importance of respectful, open, and transparent dialogue. They can set clear guidelines for how and when participants should communicate, provide structured opportunities for individuals to share their thoughts, and ensure that all voices are heard.

  1. Learners should demonstrate cultural awareness.

With hybrid learning environments being accessible across borders and nationalities, it is essential that everyone respect and acknowledge cultural differences. Learning in a culturally diverse group can be challenging, but it can also be a great opportunity for participants to learn and appreciate different perspectives. By creating a respectful and inclusive atmosphere, trainers help participants feel welcomed and appreciated, leading to a positive learning experience. 

Virtual classroom facilitators can assist learners by proactively acknowledging the diversity of their learners and demonstrating sensitivity to different cultural practices and norms.

  1. Learners should foster inclusivity and respect in their interactions.

Inclusivity and respect are essential values for successful learning. In a hybrid learning environment, more than just respect across cultures is necessary;  making all  individuals feel included and valued is essential for everyone to learn effectively. A trainer who fosters an inclusive and respectful learning environment can create a positive and empowering space where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. 

Virtual classroom facilitators can assist learners by creating clear guidelines that promote respectful interactions, actively encouraging diversity of thought, and ensuring that all voices are heard. Facilitators should be vigilant in addressing any instances of exclusion or disrespect, reinforcing the importance of maintaining an inclusive and respectful learning environment. 

They can use inclusive language, intentionally provide equal opportunities for participation, and ensure that their teaching materials reflect the diversity of their learners. By doing so, facilitators not only foster a sense of belonging among participants but also enrich the learning experience with diverse perspectives.

  1. Learners should fully utilize learning technologies to communicate, collaborate, and contribute.

Technology plays a vital role in hybrid learning environments, enabling remote learners to participate fully. Participants should familiarize themselves with the learning technologies used in the program, such as video conferencing and virtual classroom platforms, chat applications, and shared virtual documents. Having this basic knowledge will help them communicate with the trainers and other participants, collaborate with others, and contribute effectively to the group's work.     

Virtual classroom facilitators (and producers!) can assist learners by providing instruction on how to navigate the various technologies being used in the classroom. They can also offer technical support or direct participants to available resources should learners encounter difficulties.

Unlocking the Power of Hybrid Learning by Ensuring Engagement

Transitioning to a hybrid learning environment may initially appear to be a complex endeavor, but with the right strategies and mindset, it can transform into a rewarding journey. By establishing appropriate ground rules, effectively using technology to communicate, and fostering a culture of inclusivity and respect, your organization has the potential to create an enriching and engaging experience for all participants.

The key lies in placing the learner's experience at the forefront. Active participation, transparent communication, cultural sensitivity, mutual respect, and effective use of learning technologies are the building blocks to that end. When these elements are in place, learners can truly unlock their full potential and reap the benefits of a robust hybrid learning experience. So, let's commit to some basic principles, uphold our collective responsibility, and pave the way for a successful hybrid learning environment that benefits all.

Would you like to learn more about how to engage your learners online in the hybrid training environment? Join us for "Ready, Set, Learn How to Engage Online!"an immersive and interactive workshop that peels back the layers of virtual learning.


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