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But isn’t it better to be in the classroom face to face?

But isn’t it better to be in the classroom face to face?

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It’s January 2012 and I had been a self-employed trainer for four years. As a consultant I was booked to deliver one and two day training course on the full Leadership, Management and Communication portfolio for national and multination companies. I was based in London and had an exciting time flying around the UK and Europe delivering courses. London to Edinburgh and back in a day. London to Amsterdam to Stockholm and back in three days. For those of you who travel for work, you’ll know it’s not always glamorous but it is fun. The presence and inspiration you can create in the training room is life changing and I revelled in the energy created and the feedback I received.

So that January when I was asked if I wanted to learn how to deliver live online via a virtual classroom I was dubious to say the least! Training over the internet? Why? Why is this better than being in the classroom? How will I interact? How will I see my participants? How will my passion and energy come across? Let’s be honest, I thought it was a dud idea but I was up for some free training so I turned up, sat in the back row with some of my training colleagues and was a truly sceptical participant, sorry David!

I was shown the platform, Adobe Connect. Everyone could speak, see video, share PowerPoints, write on a whiteboard, type in a chat function, complete polls, raise hands to speak, virtually clap and smile, agree and disagree and there is a way to put everyone into breakout rooms! OK, now I’m interested… You see I saw there is nothing that I would do in a classroom that I can’t do online. Now I’m listening.

So I took the two day course and started facilitating live online. Generally, these courses were shorter in duration… Participants could attend live from the office with no inconvenience of travelling. Interesting.

Then in July 2016 a door opened for me I never thought would, to fulfil a lifelong dream, to move to the beach… I got a permanent visa to emigrate to Australia. Hmmmm how this mixed thing up. You see travelling around the UK and Europe is pretty easy. From London flights to Glasgow, Manchester, Dublin, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Paris basically takes about an hour flight time. Easy to pop over to Scotland. But based in Perth it takes five hours flying time to get to Sydney and that doesn’t include transfers. Let’s be honest, you can’t ‘pop’ around Australia in the same way you can Europe. And to add complexity, I am now based in Western Australia the largest of all states that basically fits in to the whole of Europe. My local area is now vast.

So when people ask me But isn’t it better to be in the classroom face to face? I am a bit challenged. Yes, for those few people who work for cash and time rich companies that can fly people round, no problem… but that’s just not my reality right now. I find as budgets get cut, training get canned and none one is getting any training. You see, when I arrived in Perth in 2012 it was cashed up and revelling in the mining boom. But, it was never going to last and with the global recession WA was hit bad and continues to be. And what about national or global companies who want to train their staff in Perth Sydney and Singapore together. Good live online training is revolutionary in bring everyone together. But let’s be honest we have all been on terrible virtual calls so if we are going to embrace this new way of working, it’s got to be excellent and we need to learn how to not just manage the tools, confidently fixing the technology fails but facilitate engagement live online, get your participants involved, contributing and have fun… Chat to me about how I can help you.

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