James Larter, Managing Director of RoleplayUK, shares his experience of helping organisations to move their training, development and assessment online.

The last six months have certainly been a steep learning curve for businesses and training departments all over the world, and RoleplayUK has been no exception.

No-one could have predicted the speed at which we have had to adapt access to learning, especially in a business like ours, which has always maintained a focus on LIVE learning and practice.

But, I feel proud in what we have been able to achieve, helping clients to move traditionally face-to-face learning quickly, and seamlessly, onto online platforms; making sure that their L & D momentum can be maintained, and their teams’ performance development is not compromised.

So how did we do it?

We listened, we talked, and we listened some more until we evolved, and quickly identified how leaners could best participate from their homes, and flex around the demands of everyday life that remain present such as partners, children, parents and so on.

  • We researched and resourced a comprehensive learning management platform, providing instant access course materials from a convenient single site – facilitating any pre-course preparation and reference materials in one place.
  • We diarised flexible contact times to join live sessions, keeping sessions to a maximum of 3 hours at any one time.
  • We recorded sessions to replay at learners’ convenience, if their commitments changed at last minute.
  • We varied the learning content to include a balance of presentations and team exercises.
  • We delivered innovative interactive sessions, supported with live actor simulations.

And above all, we maximised the opportunity to PRACTICE

Providing the opportunity to work closely with Practice Coaches and peers has had a fantastic impact on learning and performance. Practice sessions continue to prove invaluable in embedding newly learned skills  by ‘having a go’ and receiving immediate constructive feedback, learners feel equipped and confident to hit the ground running in their roles.

And what have we learned?

Just as with face-to-face learning, online learning works when:

  • Learning is active and not passive
  • Smaller groups can collaborate in breakout rooms
  • Cameras are kept on so that learners feel less isolated
  • Good facilitators ensure the inclusion of all learners, and engage the ‘room’
  • Participants have the opportunity to practice
  • Participants receive immediate feedback and the opportunity to try again
  • Participants continue to develop with access to ongoing practice sessions

Training will have to be accessed online for some time to come, let’s keep accessible and fun!