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eLearning Expert Uses Web Conferencing for Dynamic Online Training

Pete Lubeski, Sr. Manager of Learning Development for PGi, experienced the evolution from in-person training to eLearning throughout the 1990’s and into the new millennium. Pete shares his experiences, industry trends and expert advice to help corporate trainers deliver dynamic eLearning using the newest technologies, like web conferencing solution GlobalMeet.

PGi: How did you get into corporate sales training?

Pete: I started by accident in 1997, working for a company that was later acquired by a major financial institution. The company wanted to engage in eLearning to save resources, so we had to convert everything we did in person and figure out how to do that online. I helped implement that strategy for PGi’s sales teams.

PGi: How can corporate educators deliver eLearning that is just as effective as traditional classroom training?

Pete: In face-to-face training, you have the trainees trapped inside four walls and there’s one door. When you’re online, there are only doors and you have to figure out how to keep them in their seats. A couple easy ways to do this are:

  1. Really examine the content for what is absolutely necessary. Online, you have to make sure the information is absolutely vital to keep their attention and help them retain the information. If not, include that content in pre- or post-work.
  2. Have a list of your attendees beforehand. To make participants more attentive, I call them out by name. That makes the listener more attentive because they never know when I’ll call on them next.
  3. In GlobalMeet, make use of the status indicators like the laughter icon, raise your hand, poll them for understanding, etc. If they’re always doing something, they’re engaged in the training and less likely to be distracted.
  4. GlobalMeet allows participants to drive the slides. This is part of keeping the audience engaged, so let a random trainee forward the slides. Your audience can also annotate right on the slide – have them do check marks, sign their names, write “yes.” This keeps them engaged and focused on the meeting.
  5. If people aren’t reacting, kick them out. And at the beginning of a session, let them know about the “away” button. If they have to go to the restroom or take an important call, the trainer knows they’re busy – not just minimizing the screen and multi-tasking.

PGi: What about participants that can’t attend or are in a different time zone?

Pete: With our new ability to record the training in Flash format, you’re going to see GlobalMeet more and more. For every hour of training, it takes about 20-30 hours to develop the message and content. Recording allows the trainer to get the message exactly the way it needs to be, so it can be distributed and viewed by all the employees no matter where they are – even off the network

PGi: Your training team is scattered across the U.S. in Chicago and Salt Lake City. How do you coordinate messaging and schedules internally?

Pete: When we’re working on a document or presentation, we meet in GlobalMeet. With screen/desktop share, we collaborate and talk about the document and make those changes on the fly right inside the virtual meeting. It saves us so much time and energy to collaborate on the screen rather than “Will you send it to me, then I’ll send it to you?” We utilize GlobalMeet every day.

About Blakely Thomas-Aguilar

Blakely is a work-life juggler with three little monsters, Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book-a-holic, Atlanta transplant and PR/social/content strategist (and presentations nerd) for PGi.

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