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From physical training to e-learning: what changes will trainers see?

By necessity, many learning and development departments are having to offer an e-learning service. The switch overnight from analogue to digital has not always been an easy one. But with change comes opportunity too, not least for trainers. Trainers still matter, in a digital setting too, even if it means moving with the times. With it, comes learning new skills. How will teaching skills evolve when you switch from offline to online (or blended) teaching? 


Trainer turned developer 

It might be stating the obvious, but this is also true: the teacher is an expert when it comes to content. He or she has the key task of teaching new subject matter or skills to course participants. Online teaching will not change this basic fact. 

Nevertheless, the learning content, the course and the teaching hours will have to take on different forms. The traditional PowerPoint presentation is no longer adequate. Because students are no longer there in person, the pattern of questions and answers will change. But so too will teaching methods: how can hands-on teaching be given online? It’s a tricky one and requires a new line of thinking. Not quite such an easy task: developing e-learning (or more precisely, blended learning) requires new perspectives, knowledge and skills. However, this remains one of the primary tasks of the teacher. 

Good lesson planning or course design is a prerequisite: drawing up a curriculum, providing a right blend of text, images, audio and video, and combining these with exercises and tests. To do this effectively, you must be au fait with the technology, not only to get maximum access to students, but also to teach them in the most efficient way. 

It’s vital your trainers do not feel left in the lurch. That’s why it’s good to call on a partner who can help you find the right methods for your e-learning, or who can assist in making instructional videos. Such partners can help you set up digital tests, guide you in the design of advanced organisers, and provide support when you upload material into a CMS or LMS. 


Trainer turned supervisor 

So, everything has been digitised, now the course can start …  

Not quite. Although teachers, now more than ever, must leave their students to their own devices, it is essential to keep your finger on the pulse. And what better way to do this than via interaction? 

It’s vital to arrange moments of contact, provide direct instructions, and to explain more difficult content through face-to-face contact. To do this effectively, cues need to be built into the system: moments at which you can check on whether the student is up-to-speed with the subject matter. 

Moreover, feedback is just as important as before, even though – from a digital point of view – this can be done in different ways. The trick is to find the most effective way. This also applies when selecting exercises: moments along the way for exercise and revision, digital portfolios, electronic assessments, etc. 

Trainer turned coach 

Teaching is not all about achieving results. Providing course participants with support is equally valid. A trainer should structure his or her contact with course participants, coach them along their learning path and in their individual learning process. He or she creates a community and does everything possible to maintain this situation. With fewer face-to-face meetings this requires a somewhat different approach, because you cannot always observe your students’ non-verbal communication. With e-learning therefore, holding coaching sessions is a key part of the teacher’s tasks. 

Teacher turned examiner 

In the case of e-learning, permanent assessment takes on different forms, but is equally important. In this way, the teacher is able to follow the progress of the student. Last but not least, the teacher is also responsible for the overall testing and assessment of his or her students. This might also take on different forms: from a traditional written or oral exam, to digital tests or the submission of (digital) assignments. 

What opportunities do you see for your trainers with e-learning? 

It makes sense that your trainers may be somewhat unsure about the role they play in this new way of teaching. E-learning, and certainly blended learning, has plenty of benefits, for course participants and trainers alike. 

It is a process which is subject to constant change. And for each change, the following also applies: take it step by step and ask for help when needed. It is question of listening properly, staying informed, getting involved, and creating, testing and adapting collectively. Would you like speedy feedback to your current e-learning approach? Do the Acco Learn Quick Scan to get advice.