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Earlier this year, as a result of the pandemic, many companies had to make the bold leap of faith from face-to-face training to online lessons. Quite a terrifying concept for some, especially for those whose in-person training sessions were already a huge success – why would anyone want to change this for something that seemed less personal and more disconnected? And, some people asked, what even is Zoom?

Fast forward a few months, and companies and delegates have realised the amazing benefits of online learning. In many areas, the balance has been tipped, with online lessons coming out as having advantages that can outweigh face-to-face training. However, not all training providers are as good as each other, and you should choose wisely. Look for a high quality training academy that will offer the best teaching from industry experts who will take you on a learning journey to further your skills; and offer you support over the years ahead. Find an academy led by teachers who are specialists in a specific field, rather than a generic training provider; and you’ll be in good hands.

What Should I Expect from my Training Academy?

For your experience to be relevant and worthwhile to you personally, your pre-course care should not be overlooked. This involves having contact with delegates in advance of the online course, to chat through your needs to ensure a more targeted and tailored course. Neither you nor your tutor should simply rock up, without finding out, in advance, what your current skill set is, and what you would like to get out of the course. Building up a bit of a rapport before the online learning session begins, ensures that you feel more at ease at the start of the course, and makes it easier for your tutor, too!

So, you’re all set up, laptop on, poised and ready for the Zoom session to begin: this situation is easier for some than others. You might well already be a tech whizz, or your buzzing social life might mean that you have virtually clinked a few glasses of prosecco over the lockdown period with friends during Saturday nights in. For others, this may not be an experience that feels so comfortable, and this is where delegates often feel the benefits of that pre-course introduction. You also have to remember that 2020 has got a whole generation of Grannies on the Zoom software – enough said.

Zoom’s Sophisticated Software

Using Zoom for training purposes is very different to using it to toast your cousin’s birthday at a weekend virtual gathering. Used to its full capacity, it is a very efficient, smart and sophisticated piece of software thanks to its many interactive capabilities. Being able to annotate everyone’s screens actually puts training via Zoom a step ahead of face-to-face courses where the tutor potentially needs to go round the room attending to individual delegates; possibly holding up the natural flow of the course. With Zoom, screens can be shared, regularly rotating throughout each of the delegates during the course; meaning that everyone can see what everyone else is doing. This sharing experience can also build a sense of camaraderie equivalent to in-person courses.

The ability to have easy, group interaction is a feature of Zoom that should not be underestimated, as it can bring a much needed sense of community at a time when currently many are working from home and feeling quite isolated. This way of upskilling in a social setting also offers a renewed sense of optimism and empowerment for those who can’t get to face-to-face training at this time, yet want to improve their skills and future job prospects.

Networking opportunities might be an added bonus too – as often happens when a like-minded group of people come together. Furthermore, online learning has logistical and monetary advantages, as it fits in well around tighter timescales and finances: no travel or overnight accommodation needed here.

Once the course is over, that shouldn’t mean the end of the support – personalised help and post-course support should be readily available. The online lessons can, and should, be screen recorded. Your training provider can then hand this to delegates (preferably free of charge), with other useful course materials. This post-course care is just as important, if not more so, as the pre-course involvement.

Do your Research

When choosing a course, look at both the quality of the course and tutors, as well as the after-care provision. Full support through video calling, emailing and phone should be offered, and delegates should be encouraged to utilise this service. Hopefully, this will then ward off the dreaded ‘forgetting curve’! The forgetting curve suggests the decline of memory retention in time; a graph showing that humans tend to halve their memory of newly learned knowledge in a matter of days or weeks unless they consciously review the learned material. Now, there’s no point shelling out money on a course to simply forget half of all those gems of wisdom a couple of weeks later! Therefore, these post-course materials and support are a huge benefit to your online-learning experience.

Finally, make sure you check out the reviews of any course before signing up. You should be trained by experienced, industry experts who are passionate about what they do. Find the right training academy for you, and you’ll be zooming to online learning success in no time!

To find out about the Archilime Academy and our range of courses, including SketchUp and V-Ray for SketchUp Pro, do get in touch – we’d love to hear from you! Call us on: 01364 654 267 or email: academy@archilime.com

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