TETHER YOUR SPACE JUNK: a Systematic Approach to Managing Asynchronous Learning

Virtual training is great – except when it’s not!

For those just getting into the virtual methods, synchronous training involves real-time training with a live instructor while asynchronous training is more self-paced, allowing the learners to log on when they can to read, complete assignments, post discussion questions, etc.

Although the synchronous training out there needs a lot of tending to in order to honor adult learning concepts, make it interactive, increase retention, etc., it’s the asynchronous training that is suffering the most.

We received a steady stream of calls this year from folks that say, “We have so much stuff OUT THERE but no one is using it!” Each time I heard this, I imagined space junk just floating out there in cyberspace.

Before adding to the vast growing space junk, please keep the following quote in mind:

“Just build it and they WON’T come!”

So what DO you do? From a learning standpoint, you need to frame it and support it. Why are they doing this? How does this tie into something they’ve already learned? How are they going to use this new knowledge? And then don’t leave them hanging. Provide a support person/mentor/advisor for them to hook into to ask a question, clarify a term, provide an example, etc. In other words, just because the learning is self- directed doesn’t mean you do away with a facilitator!

Next, even though it’s asynchronous, you can still make it interactive. Depending on your learning objective (yes, asynchronous learning needs objectives, too) you can spice things up by having the learner complete a self-assessment, take a quiz, post a question, join a discussion group, link into someone on a collaborative platform, conduct a virtual scavenger hunt, etc.

And lastly, how are you marketing this learning? Are you incorporating it into your Corporate University virtual catalog? Highlighting it in your virtual newsletters? Speaking about it during managers’ meetings? Recognizing folks who have completed a series of asynchronous sessions and earned a certificate? Remember, if no one knows it’s there, no one knows it’s there!

Create the buzz to make them curious and they will come.

What are YOUR thoughts about space junk?

Maria Chilcote & Melissa Smith

The Training Clinic