Principal Consultant, Steve Hough, shares behind the scenes insight into how we’ve adapted our training to the virtual environment.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Steve Hough at his desk
Author: Steve Hough, Principal Consultant.

As part of the changing demand due to Covid-19 we’ve worked hard over recent months adapting elements of our training portfolio for virtual delivery; no small task!

Adapting a face to face course is not just a case of uploading a PowerPoint presentation, and delivering it online, it can be challenging for many reasons. Considerations include:

Will the content work when adapted to a virtual course?
Will a full day course work as a full day course online?
Our training is very interactive and participatory, how will that work in a virtual classroom environment?
We focus on the delegate experience; how do we match this in a virtual classroom?
Will the training exercises work, how can we best adapt them for a virtual environment?
What about technical considerations and possible problems?
We understand how tiring virtual training can be from a delegate’s perspective as it can be difficult to maintain concentration while staring at a laptop screen for hours at a time. To optimise courses for the virtual world, we’ve adapted the duration for virtual courses to be delivered in half day sessions. Regular breaks have been included to maintain engagement and a productive learning experience. As we’ve all become used to using Zoom, Teams and Skype in our lockdown lives many of the previous barriers to virtual delivery have disappeared; delegates and instructors have become very comfortable communicating through online meeting platforms which has made the transition from face to face training to virtual training all the more natural. To avoid technical problems and associated downtime in the morning we contact delegates in the week prior to training to test software compatibility and connection, and to iron out any IT problems. Our product and training experts have also adapted the course content and training exercises to suit the virtual experience whilst maintaining that vital element of interactivity which make our courses so engaging.

Having been involved with the development of our virtual classrooms, I was delighted to be asked to deliver our EASA Air Operations Requirements – Effective implementation course virtually. It’s is a popular course which we’ve delivered many times face to face in our Aviation Safety Training Academy in the UK and on-site at client locations. This was the first time the course was to be delivered virtually and also my first time delivering a virtual course, so I had some trepidation at first. Thankfully this disappeared as soon as I greeted our online delegates. I quickly got into the swing of things and enjoyed focusing on delivery. I had three screens to allow sight of and interaction with all delegates whilst delivering; one with the presentation, one with the delegates and the other a shared screen.

The delegates were in various locations across the UK and I was in my home office in Stockholm, having rapidly repurposed the guest room TV as a 3rd screen to run “mission control”.

Adapting the course involved a lot of work but it was definitely time well spent. The course was enjoyable to deliver and, as always, the interaction and sharing of delegate experiences is what really makes it. Much time is spent making sure the course meets the needs and objectives of our delegates and we received some great feedback:

“It has given me the confidence to find my way through the regulations and a better understanding of the structure”

“This was my first virtual course and I have to say that I preferred it to the classroom environment”.

I’m looking forward to delivering this course again in October.

See more on our virtual training courses