Classroom trainers need to upskill quickly, or get used to daytime TV
As the physicist and philosopher Niels Bohr once said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” Those words certainly ring true in these uncertain times – as many people the world over try to come to terms not only with what is occurring right now, but also what the future holds.
The coronavirus is having a huge impact on everyone’s lives – and is affecting every nook and cranny of the business world. When it comes to the learning and development arena, there will likely be casualties – but some companies and individuals will benefit from this horrendous, fast-evolving scenario. Typically, this is because they were either ready to pivot immediately – or they have been agile enough to do so rapidly.
Some educational institutions and training providers will close, while others will hold their own – and some, amazingly perhaps, will flourish. The ones in the latter group will be those which are digitally enabled, offering solutions that don’t require face-to-face interaction – or at least be rapidly moving in that direction, so they can easily accommodate the new ‘isolation era’, which could last some time.
After COVID-19 has passed, the learning culture across many organisations will have changed hugely – including those which didn’t have virtual classroom technology and virtual training delivery before but will then have it embedded into their way of working and learning.
So, what does this mean for those training professionals, lecturers and teachers who have – up until recently – only been used to imparting their experience and wisdom in the classroom? Well, when things return to normal (whatever normal is by then), we can obviously expect face-to-face training to return – but perhaps not to the extent it was previously. For starters, there will be fewer ‘traditional’ training companies around. Fact. It’s already happening.
Experienced face-to-face trainers won’t have forgotten how to train in this environment, but it’s likely that many more organisations who previously saw virtual delivery as a ‘nice to have if and when we get around to it’ will have invested time and money getting the platforms implemented and trainers skilled up to deliver online – and things will be reversed, with classroom training seen as more of a luxury.
The writing has been on the wall for quite a while – but now it’s in bold and in capitals. The Learning and Performance Institute’s annual learning survey has, for many years, found that one of the biggest skills gaps relates to the lack of experienced or qualified virtual classroom trainers. As far back as 2015, Don Taylor, chairman of the Learning and Performance Institute, stated that according to that year’s survey: “It is easier to hire classroom instructors than any other type of learning specialist. This can only mean one thing: classroom delivery is contracting. In contrast, and despite the best efforts of the Learning and Performance Institute and its Certified Online Learning Facilitator course, skilled online facilitators are very hard to find.”
Blue Eskimo’s annual Salary and Workplace Survey has, since 2010, consistently found that the salaries of most classroom trainers have remained largely stagnant, with notable exceptions in areas such as Agile and cyber security. This mirrors the Learning and Performance Institute’s findings – that demand for face-to-face classroom delivery is contracting. Given that face-to-face training delivery has been around since one cave dweller taught another cave dweller how to make fire, there is an overabundance of such training professionals. The economics of supply and demand determines the price – and that price is getting lower by the day.
Despite this gloomy outlook for the traditional classroom trainer, help is at hand. Some companies are still recruiting for trainers (as Blue Eskimo, a specialist recruiter in this area, can testify from the coalface) – but the numbers are dwindling. But whether or not you see a vacancy on our website that grabs your interest, we’re here to help – to chat things through with you (no chatbots allowed) – and to advise on how to polish your CV and do whatever we can to aid you with your job search. That’s what we’ve been doing for 17 years.
So what upskilling options are available for face-to-face trainers who have no online classroom delivery experience? Organisations like the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI) offer a variety of courses to help trainers learn how to deliver effective virtual classroom sessions which use Web conferencing and collaboration tools. For example, in about 40 hours (a week’s worth of daytime TV), you can become a Certified Online Learning Facilitator (COLF).
You’ll learn how to:
- deliver effective online classroom sessions using Web conferencing interactivity tools.
- re-purpose traditional classroom exercises for collaborative online learning.
- engage learner attention and participation in your online classroom events.
- work to best practice for facilitating live online learning events.
- develop comprehensive lesson plans, facilitator guides, presentations and participant materials.
As a recruitment specialist in this area, Blue Eskimo is already seeing increased demand for those with proven skills in online classroom delivery – and we expect to see this accelerating, as more organisations adapt to ‘learning without buildings’.
If you would like to discuss your next career steps, current job opportunities, or are looking to hire exceptional talent within the learning and development arena, then please get in touch on 01527 579 647 or firstname.lastname@example.org.