Mortgage Sales Trainer, Learning and Development
Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group
Many organizations faced with the dilemma of COVID-19 and training remotely simply have done away with training for the present, as they don’t offer online or remote classes for training purposes. When local instructors were not available to teach for NH Mutual Bancorp, Nancy was brought in as a seasoned distance learning instructor. This type of remote instruction has allowed students access to quality educators – without a concern of distance or safety.
The set up allowed students at NH Mutual Bancorp to interact from a number of locations while visually being connected to Nancy. What were some of the challenges experienced when teaching a multi-week course remotely? Nancy took time to share her experiences and the positive outcomes:
“I have taught webcourses with CFTEA for years. Webcourses provide the engagement of a live course while students are connected virtually. Before COVID-19, I had not had a lot of experience of me, as the instructor, being the one that was virtual while most of the students were together physically. The closest thing to it was a traditional classroom experience with one or two tying in remotely. As you can imagine, it is always challenging to remember to call on those that weren’t physically in the classroom. And this time, I was the one not physically in the classroom.
One key factor for success is that all participants turn on their cameras. It is crucial for engagement. It helps to keep interaction up and makes it feel more like a group. At first students might not be comfortable with a webcam, but the feedback has been overwhelming as they have gotten used to the engagement. By listening in, students can be passive – if they wanted. The cameras ensure accountability, add interest and provide a powerful substitute for being separated physically.
Remote learning that truly engages students by using technology is a unique experience, but it can be successful and mimic the important aspects of a traditional class setting. I’ve continued to challenge myself with the use of technology otherwise my teaching would have been stagnant and ineffective. I’ve found that I need to be creative when fostering a spirit of engagement. Taking advantage of polls, the chat window, breakout sessions and allowing group discussions have helped tremendously in making the classes feel interactive.
For example, the chat feature has been very helpful for me. It allows me to stop at periodic points during the class to address comments or questions. In a virtual setting, it could be easy to have conversations run into each other, but the chat feature gives structure to ensure all voices are heard.
The biggest thing I would say when encountering technical glitches or other unique challenges is have a backup plan. Make sure you are prepared for things to go wrong because they will, but just roll with it! Having flexibility in this scenario makes the world of difference.”