Monday, February 11, 2008

Synchronous vs Asynchronous training

The big difficulty I see is the concept of taking a face-to-face
presentation approach, and just delivering it over the web. That is,
turning your in-class delivery into an over-the-internet approach. You
can indeed keep your presentations "synchronous", but you could also consider expanding them for "asynchronous" delivery.

Synchronous delivery does work effectively if:
1. Everyone has a good network/audio connection
2. Everyone is NOT at their own desk. That is, you can ensure that the
audience is not multitasking and answering their e-mails
3. Everyone speaks your language at the same proficiency level,
including slangs and idioms
4. Everyone can allocate the 1-20 hours for which you will be presenting

I believe the real power of eLearning (as with the real power of Google
search) is that the material can be available whenever the learner is
available (asynchronous), rather than only when the instructor is
available. If you restructure your content (giving multiple
presentations of the same material using different approaches), give
good nonlinear navigation (so the audience can go where they want rather
than where you want), make the material light (so it delivers quickly,
and does not require special computer reconfigurations), and several
other modifications, you'll be able to reach a larger audience not
constrained by time schedules, not overwhelmed by prerequisites that
aren't possessed, bored by material that is already possessed.

If you plan to continue giving synchronous training only, my suggestions
1. Give the training to several people sitting in the next room, and
every hour or so, find out what they like/don't like.
2. Have one of those people give the training - you need to be the
audience too, in order to experience what the audience sees.
3. Try checking your e-mail, answering your cell phone, talk to your
boss, etc. while you are an audience member. How easy is it to
re-engage with the presenter?

No comments: