How to Create the Classroom of the Future, Today
“What is classroom training of the future going to look like?” As a training solutions company, we get asked this question all of the time. While we can all probably agree that virtual training is one of the hotest training industry trends, I don’t think the answer is as simple as converting your traditional classroom into a virtual environment. If you’re jumping on the virtual bandwagon and putting all your eggs in one basket, you’re not going to be happy with the outcome. Regardless of training modality, the successful management of the learning experience is paramount.
Traditional Classroom Environments Are Not Going Away
Traditional classroom environments, as in brick and mortar, should not and will not go away. They have critical value and serve as a credible model for supporting a balanced learning experience of:
- Rich interactions
- Learning by example
- Hands-on and hands-in exercises with measurable knowledge transfer.
These classrooms should be complemented and blended with virtual components to create fully integrated, hybrid environments that will support synchronous and asynchronous delivery and learning experience equality, and in order to do that, you need to prepare both the instructor and the students.
Therefore, the classroom of the future is really the classroom of today. The difference will be in how you extend the virtual training environment and equalize the experience for on-site and off-site students. The secret sauce lays in how you retrofit your traditional classroom, instructional delivery for the virtual modality of delivery (and by the way, that’s just not A/V integration or instructor skills preparation anymore).
Effective Virtual Classroom Training
All too often, virtual classrooms become impersonalized and desensitized. You really need to enlist a team of experts who know what they’re doing to create an environment that will lend itself to optimal learning. In other words, adding a webcam to your classroom and calling it “virtual” will not create an equal experience for distant learners. While it may seem like the hip thing to do (who wants to be sitting at a desk when they can be learning from home), chances are that your students will not like it better than the traditional classroom and truly feel “distant” in a distant learning class.
How do you create a model that is successful? You start by determining what makes a traditional classroom successful: experience, relationship and, most importantly, the ability to hear and comprehend and to see and comprehend, then interact with confidence. The language of training isn’t just an instructor presenting… it’s the language of interaction and involvement.
When you take a hybrid model and enable those things to happen, you create an environment where remote learners feel empowered. When participants can interact with the instructor and control what they are seeing and hearing and interacting with local classroom-based student, you’ve created an equalized environment. A successful model of hybrid learning is the classroom of the future, today. Learning is a personal experience in a teamed environment, it’s just enough, just in time, just for me, regardless of where you geographically sit.