Iken – supporting the HR community

17th July 2020
by Sara Peake

At Iken we are proud of being a corporate sponsor of the PPMA – Public Services People Managers Association and all the wonderful work they do to support the HR and OD community.

Throughout the Covid-19 crisis the PPMA have been running a series of ‘Lunch and Learn’ webinars which Iken were delighted to support:

  • Jennifer Curry, Iken Client Account Manager lead the session focused on,  “Securing business continuity – successfully adapting to change”. In this webinar Jennifer and Leatham Green, PPMA Executive Director, discussed top tips for business continuity planning including the technical aspects such as data mapping and workflows. To view the webinar, please click “Successfully adapting to change“.
  • Andrew Wilson, Project Manager from Iken joined Karen Grave, PPMA President in a session focused around, Training to thrive – essential top tips for delivering on-line training”, to watch the webinar recording, please click, “Training to Thrive“.

Throughout the incredible response by organisations to Covid-19 we have witnessed a rapid and shared digital transformation, most notably through the adoption of new communication tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. IT departments across the country have been rapidly rolling out Windows upgrades, Office 365, and new hardware. As end users the rapid pace of change, especially when removed from the office is difficult.

HR teams throughout the country have been adapting their working practices around the technology available but how are we approaching the remote delivery of training? Can a training syllabus designed for delivery in the classroom simply be lifted and moved on-line? Do we need to stop and recognise the challenges whilst also understanding the new opportunities on offer when training is delivered remotely?

In this important webinar Andrew and Karen discussed top tips and best practice for overcoming the challenges and maximising the opportunities of remotely delivered, on-line training.

Can you take us through the actions you consider at key stages – before, during and after training? 

  • Before:
    • Prepare materials  
    • Prepare and in advance share the agenda
    • Plan the format
    • Re-learn your subject, re-familiarise yourself with what you are training on
    • Always test your training system
  • During:
    • Clear introductions
    • Clear delivery and engagement
    • Maintain energy
    • Regular questions and re-cap learning activities
    • Manage ‘wall of silence’ if trainees struggling
    • Do not finish early, use the time for questions and re-runs. Go over areas of complexity
    • Record the session
  • After:
    • Follow-Up communication, share documentation
    • Share recording

With so many different technology options from GoToTraining, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business and maybe even Zoom how do you select which is right for you and what are the, ‘must have’ features worth looking for?

  • Different organisations have their preference. I personally like to use MS Teams
  • Must be easy to use and have ability to record sessions
  • Must have a messaging function
  • Must have the ability to do a “Virtual Hand Raise”
  • Security is paramount, both data and conversation
  • Do a trial run where there is any doubt of access

Is there an optimum number of trainees both in face to face sessions and remote sessions?

  • In my experience 12 is best for face to face training so you can cover all areas. However, this can be much higher, say 20+ for remote sessions.

What are the advantages of remote training over face to face training?

  • Less travel for both trainer & trainees, lower costs for client, less resources required from the client side e.g booking a training room
  • The trainee is in control of their immediate environment, they are not straining to see a screen
  • Trainees may feel more comfortable to ask questions and may absorb information more readily when in the comfort of their own environment
  • Ability to share screens

How do you overcome the lack of networking?

  • Keep engaged, even during a break. You will be surprised sometimes by small chat.

How do you keep the trainees engaged and do exercises help?

  • Exercises reinforce the training
  • Keep them involved in the conversation, do exercises, ask questions
  • Check that everyone is keeping up and understands where we are
  • Offer to assist those who struggle

Is the post event follow up different to face to face training?

  • Not really, you still need to follow up and check that you delivered the requirement.

Are you amending face to face for on-line use or designing training just to be used for remote delivery? What are the differences in the daily structure & content?

  • Yes, timings can be different. Offers the ability to cover more content.
  • You can spend a short while waiting for trainees to join.
  • Remote training can be more interactive and can minimise “Passive” learning.

How do you overcome the challenge of a silent group of trainees? How do you drive engagement and ensure they understand the training?

  • Ask questions periodically, generally at first then more pointed ones.
  • Periodically ask if they understand and follow what we are doing.

Everyone is considering what the ‘new normal’ will mean in their environment – how do you expect the world of training to look in 6-12 months?

At Iken we have successfully delivered on-line training for many years but with Covid-19 there has been a dramatic increase in the number wanting to receive training in this way. The experience all round has been very positive and as clients can see the benefits, I expect that over the coming months the majority will be delivered remotely with face to face, classroom based training being the exception.

Summary of top tips?

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare
  • Be organised
  • Clear delivery
  • Look after your trainees as a group & individually
  • Keep it fun
  • Seek feedback from trainees and take those lessons with you into future sessions
  • If you can record training then watch it back to learn lessons so you can improve for the next time

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