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Online training practice in synchronous and asynchronous settings

A famous joke goes like this:

“A guy goes to New York to attend a concert but loses his way. He spots another guy on the street, carrying a violin case, and asks him: Sir, can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall? The other guy answers: Practice, practice, practice!”

This clever punchline captures the essence of almost every learning process: we need practice to master a skill. We need to practice a lot if we want to be among top performers, as Carnegie Hall musicians usually are. The same goes for online training practice.

In online training, delivering content has its challenges. Still, perhaps the most challenging task for all trainers out there is to make sure that learners have the opportunity to practice, ideally at their own pace and with plenty of support. Training sessions can quickly turn into boring lectures that focus on content delivery only without the proper opportunity for practice. This is not what learners want or need.

Consequently, any trainer should consider that practice opportunities are a must and that they should be organically included in all training programs. Both synchronous and asynchronous practice sessions can be designed for a wide range of training programs and a learning platform can offer many tools fit for purpose.

Let’s see what trainers can use in synchronous and asynchronous settings!

Online training practice in synchronous settings

Synchronous training is probably the most popular one on the training spectrum. It’s a go-to for companies because it’s familiar for learners and trainers alike. Synchronous training relies heavily on web conferencing and it has the advantage of offering plenty of practice opportunities.

  1. Breakout rooms for great debates

    For synchronous training sessions, practice opportunities can be quite challenging, especially when large groups are involved. However, trainers should make an effort and come up with effective solutions to enrich the attendees’ learning experiences.

    Can we imagine an effective soft skills training program without role-playing? Breakout rooms available through tools such as Zoom allow attendees to work in teams and practice their skills. It might be challenging to monitor all groups simultaneously, but we should not disregard the value of peer learning, as attendees can learn a lot from each other.  

    Read more: 4 Tips for holding live training sessions via Zoom

  2. Quizzes for quick assessment

    In synchronous sessions, trainers can also integrate different learning tools which allow attendees to solve problems and share their experiences. For instance, quizzes can be used to create sets of closed-ended questions and trainers can see the answers on the spot.

    They can be a useful indicator as far as the learning process goes. Trainers can see if additional explanations are necessary or not. Plus, learning platforms already have a quiz feature so there is no need to use a different tool.

  3. Virtual labs for a great online training experience

    For certain fields, such as Science and Engineering, virtual labs are an excellent tool for practice. They can emulate an environment as close as possible to the real-life experience and allow attendees to practice a set of specific skills. And with all the VR tools available, the practice opportunities are virtually endless.

    Read more: Combining the perks of VR training with xApi

Online training practice in asynchronous settings

Asynchronous training has the advantage of allowing attendees to spend as much time as they want or need to practice a certain skill. Trainees also have the freedom to choose when they can practice and integrate the learning process into their busy schedules.

A learning platform can come in handy as it allows trainers to create specific practice tasks. However, it’s important to provide engaging practice opportunities in asynchronous settings.

  1. Forums for brainstorming

    Forums might prove time-consuming for trainers, as moderating one is not an easy task, but it’s worth your while. Forums are a good tool for collective problem-solving tasks, brainstorming, group assignments, collaborative writing, and more.

  2. Display creative work

    Tools such as Padlet are an excellent choice for displaying artwork or creative writing assignments. Learners can give each other feedback, but it’s also easier for instructors to give their input. In this way, attendees can be motivated to practice more and show the results of their work to the entire group.

    Read more: How to enable innovation and creativity in remote teams

  3. YouTube channels for educational vlogging

    We tend to associate YouTube with superficial entertainment, but let’s not forget that Khan Academy or CrashCourse are educational channels that have excellent content on a wide range of topics.

    For example, the instructor can create a channel (either public or available only to the attendees) for learners to practice their skills and share their results. For instance, role-playing can be recorded, and the entire group can learn from their peers’ experiences.

Online training practice makes perfect

That guy carrying a violin case was right: we need to practice a lot to learn and develop new skills. Although online environments might seem challenging, technology offers many solutions for online training practice in synchronous and asynchronous settings.

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