Everybody’s talking about VILT (Virtual Instructor-Led Training) nowadays. But what about providing performance support in a VILT approach?
Training and Performance are two terms that are intricately interlinked in the world of L&D. But in reality, they are separated by one undeniable factor: Time! It would be wonderful if all employees grasp everything from the training and apply it to their work immediately. Unfortunately, as time passes, most of the learning from the training is forgotten (remember the forgetting curve?), and there is little effect on employee performance. According to groundbreaking research by Will Thalheimer, people have very different rates of forgetting that can vary between 0% to 94% of what has been learned. This is where performance support comes into the picture.
Performance Support in VILT?
- Reinforces what has been learned
- Supports training activities
- Saves employee time
- Cuts down training cost in the long run
- Supports mobility in learning and working
Performance support refers to any kind of guidance or resource that learners can use at the moment of need – right before performing a task, during action. This can be of many different kinds, ranging from simple text document guides to in-depth ‘how-to’ videos.
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In a virtual instructor-led training course, learners are already challenged by several barriers due to the ‘virtual’ environment itself – physical absence of peers, connectivity issues, unfamiliar equipment, etc. As L&D professionals, we must do everything we can to help learners take what they have learned in training and apply it effectively to their jobs. Here’s how performance support can help make this possible.
What makes Performance Support Vital in VILT?
1. It Reinforces What has been Learned
The skills and knowledge learned in the VILT session must be cemented time and again so that they can be applied in work situations weeks, months, or even years after the training has been completed. It’s performance support that helps employees when it comes to real-life work situations.
Performance support provides simplified and ready-to-apply content that can help the employee quickly recall what has been taught in the training and strengthen his/her understanding of the concepts for immediate application.
Say, you provide your sales team a VILT session on the latest updates of a product. Weeks later, when an opportunity pops up to sell the product to a prospect, it’s very likely that the learner has forgotten several key aspects of the product. For them to go back and watch the entire recording of the VILT session again would not be a very practical solution. On the other hand, if you provide the overview of the updates in an infographic on your Learning Management System (LMS), they can quickly access it and apply the knowledge efficiently.
2. It Supports Training Activities
Given the COVID-19 situation, several companies are switching from classroom ILT to VILT sessions. And as most trainers are new to VILT, they may be laboring under the misapprehension that performance support is only needed for self-paced eLearning modules. That, however, is not true. Performance support plays just as important a role in VILT as it does in eLearning.
A VILT session might cover a variety of topics; however the learner may not be able to grasp all the information and apply it at the time of need. You can pull the important points covered in each topic discussed in the VILT session and create performance support material which can be used by learners according to their needs.
Learners must be informed about the performance support that is available on the LMS during the VILT session itself. The instructor can inform learners about all relevant performance support material during the VILT session through the chat box.
3. It Saves Employee Time
The more time it takes employees to access information from previous training courses, the less their productivity.
For example, if an employee wants to operate a new piece of equipment as part of his/her work, they will want to quickly check how to do that. They may already have attended a VILT session on that topic, but may just want to refresh their knowledge and learn the steps to be certain and avoid accidents.
If a learner spends a lot of time trying to recall how to do that or reading an entire instruction manual, that time is as good as wasted. If they can quickly access the reference guide instead, all that time can be used productively.
4. It Cuts down Training Cost in the Long Run
With memory not being very reliable, especially for training topics among adult learners, most companies are forced to provide the same training over and over again. Organizing new VILT sessions can be very expensive on your training budget and also eat into the productive working hours of your employees.
Providing refresher courses may be necessary in some cases, but if you find that the same information is being repeated time and again, you may want to cut down on these costs by pulling out the relevant information and creating performance support from it.
You can improve your ROI to a great extent by providing performance support which will improve the applicability of what has been learned. A ready reckoner eBook can easily replace an entire day of repetitive training or an hour-long online training.
5. It Supports Mobility in Learning and Working
Learners cannot be expected to take detailed notes of their VILT sessions. Even if they do, they may not carry them everywhere they go. It can get tedious to access learning on-the-go though notes, if they are traveling or working from home amidst a million distractions.
Performance support material which is placed in an LMS which supports mobile learning is a great solution to this problem. Quick reference guides, infographics, and job-aids facilitate providing information quickly and conveniently for immediate use anywhere, anytime.
Summing it Up!
These are just a few of the many advantages that come with providing performance support in your VILT courses. Given the chaotic situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, VILT seems to be the go-to option for many corporate training programs. There’s no doubt that performance support is extremely useful for any VILT session and can add a lot to your employees’ productivity.