I’m a teacher by trade. High school math, science, and technology, to be specific. So when I think of a virtual classroom, I still envision K12 and higher ed applications, with students sitting in front of a computer somewhere instead of in a classroom or lecture hall. My colleague, Dr. Nellie Deutsch, runs great classes for lifelong learners and seems to quite naturally take a broader view, despite having more than her share of time in the classroom. However, there is another aspect of learning that can be served particularly well by the WizIQ virtual classroom. It’s not terribly sexy. In fact, it borders on the mundane, but is actually quite critical: Corporate training.
But first, a story
When I first started teaching, I had jumped out of private industry and the drop in salary, along with my ill-timed decision to build a house, left my family in something of a financial bind. This was before I started writing in earnest, so I took the first job I found that I could fit into my schedule to supplement my income. I became a night stocker (not a night stalker) at our local grocery store. I kept that job for six miserable months. Part of the misery, of course, was working all night, taking a quick nap, and then getting back up and trying to teach math coherently. But a larger part of the misery was the training, retraining, counseling, and evaluation we all underwent.
Everything from occupational safety to ways to improve our productivity as we put out boxes of pasta, cans of vegetables, or little boxes of Jello (Jello was the worst – go to your local market and try to get all of those Jello boxes straight – I dare you) was shoved down our minimum-wage throats. If we didn’t stock enough product in an evening, we could count on some sort of training that week to ensure that we stocked more, faster. If the store introduced a new product or decided to rearrange shelves, more training. Most of this training was done ad hoc and repeatedly and was painful for everyone involved.
Get the basics out of the way
Training that is repetitive and can be delivered without any real student-teacher interaction should happen virtually. Prepare it once, record it, and make it available on-demand. Require a brief assessment at the end to ensure that folks were paying some modicum of attention, and move on. There’s no need to waste management time or employee hours trying to get a trainer and trainee available at the same time and the same place for basic information dissemination. Everyone needs OSHA training? No problem – outside of highly dangerous workplaces, there is no need for human interaction here. Make your recording of the training and any slide decks, videos, or other documents in WizIQ and then give people the link to the recording. Add a simple assessment and you’ve just saved a lot of time.
There is also, in fact, no need for this sort of training to be delivered locally, by line managers who could be spending time on improving customer service, building processes, or thinking strategically about outreach or sales or whatever. Platforms like WizIQ allow organizations to centralize training and have standardized messages make their way to trainees. Again, record it once and make it available organization-wide to those who need it. Line staff and peers can handle remediation or individual employee development.
Serious professional development
So far, we’ve talked about the painful training, the stuff we all hate sitting through, the sessions that are required to cross corporate t’s and dot bureaucratic i’s. This basic training is easy to get out of the way using the asynchronous features of WizIQ. However, if done right, training can be an exciting perk for a job. The best organizations allow their employees to pursue certificates, advanced degrees, and really serious professional development opportunities either on the job or through the organization. Although this represents a significant investment for these organizations, the rewards in the form of loyal, skilled, and motivated employees can be remarkable.
WizIQ is a highly scalable platform that allows corporations to either develop their own internal programs for professional development or to partner with colleges, universities, and training organizations to deliver everything from language courses for employees traveling abroad to full degree programs.
Imagine as well the possibilities of an on-demand professional development library recorded from previous courses and offerings. As an employer, wouldn’t you rather hire people who are curious and driven and see this vast library as a reason to work for your company? Not to mention, a resource like this becomes the ultimate FAQ, addressing questions and nuances independently and on-the-fly in ways that manuals or documents simply can’t.
Bottom line, the use of a platform like WizIQ can save organizations money and time. The money and time saved on mundane training needs can be devoted to offering important professional development opportunities for staff. Staff PD translates not only to increased skill levels and effectiveness, but also to reduced turnover and improved morale.
Sure, these sorts of programs could be developed in person and face-to-face, but WizIQ is uniquely positioned to let organizations scale their training operations quickly and cost-effectively, while still increasing opportunities for human interaction and development, whether staff are flung to all corners of the globe or to all cubicles of an office.