As with pretty much every other organisation across the world, CPI has had to deal with some interesting and unexpected challenges over the past few months. Our Global Professional Instructors provide some insight in to how they’ve been coping with a change in training delivery methods alongside juggling their own lockdown and working from home trials and tribulations.

Mark Bocker

What happens now and in the future is, in part, dependent on our ability right now to make the best use of this opportunity to address the value of blended learning. So, we are doing just that.

Our team has grasped, not only the concept, but the requisite skills and understanding of the virtual classroom environment in particular. We have practised, rehearsed and received genuine and robust feedback – alongside some serious micky-taking from each other which has enhanced our professional and personal relationships and hugely improved our performance.

Feedback so far has been strong and complimentary, but we need to keep improving and attempting to balance future programmes to the benefit of all our participants.

It’s a tough task to engage professionals in interactive discourse when you cannot see a face – those subtle reactions, body language, smiles, nods, laughter and quizzical expressions. But, we are making it work and we are learning so much that we can put to good effect in future programmes.

Lynsie Monro
Virtual background…check, microphone on…check…, video on…check, all participants on board and registered…check. Training remotely can be likened to a virtual aviation experience, complete with aircraft maintenance checks and GPIs expertly manoeuvring screen shares, steering through chat box questions to avoid major turbulence ‚Äčand keeping everyone’s eyes on the destination.
Despite the smooth running of each session hinging delicately on the temperament of seagulls outside my window and whether the neighbour has decided to complete her 267th DIY job since lockdown began, the experience has been a positive one. Connecting with the audience in a relational sense has been a challenge but I think all the GPIs have skilfully adapted to the new training environment. Participants have found the training insightful and it has given them food for thought as they plan for the new normal of the next academic year.
It’s also created space for us, as a newly formed team, to unite and embrace change in a positive fashion – in keeping with one of our key messages.
Simon Rogers

Embarking on the new experience of virtual training is certainly something that, while instilling some level of apprehension, is in fact incredibly enjoyable and worthwhile.

Naturally, the technology-based delivery, which is new-fangled to many, throws some elements of excitement into the mix, as does providing essential training to people who can now access it in their own homes.

It proves not only to be incredibly useful for all involved but also gives the opportunity for teams to comfortably interact and develop their approaches when otherwise this might not have been possible.

On a personal level, the way that participants quickly adapt and benefit from this is truly uplifting and something to be proud of for all involved. I sincerely feel that the opportunity for some teams, which are at times unable to meet face to face, have absolutely made the most of these special circumstances.
Huw Lloyd

It’s a brave new world for training and lots of new things to remember… have I muted my microphone? I don’t want the delegates to hear what I’m saying off camera about their wallpaper.

Have I turned my camera off when I’m not meant to be on screen, I don’t want them to see me eating a cheeky bourbon. Have I remembered to get the rest of the house off the internet? I don’t want to freeze mid flow as my daughters put on Netflix.

Throw in your usual considerations of content, delivery and engagement and virtual training has brought a new challenge, but I love a challenge.

It has been great to be able to reach schools that we wouldn’t normally have been able to reach throughout this period virtually and still be able to deliver training to schools who want it and the feedback that we’ve had has been positive.

Having been a senior leader in a school up until Christmas, virtual training was always a lottery, we always used to ask the questions, “why are we doing this?”, “what impact will it have?”, “will the staff engage with it?” and the final and most important one “is it any good?”

From the feedback we’ve had so far, I’d feel comfortable as a school leader being able to answer those questions positively and would be happy to have the training we have delivered to my staff.
Cathy Duncan

From the perspective of a new trainer, the virtual training programme was an unexpected twist to my induction. I was learning a whole new set of skills along with the 5 Pillars content.

Remembering that a live audience would be somewhere behind my screen, not only did I need to get up to speed with the content, but my slide transitions needed perfecting, the chat box required managing, and microphones needed muting and unmuting in a timely manner. All that while silently praying my kids wouldn’t start arguing in the background!

Surprisingly, this remote way of working and virtual training has strengthened our connection as a team, an aspect which I have welcomed and enjoyed being so new in my role.

As lockdown has continued, we have all become more familiar with the virtual training model. Along with schools, we are embracing the benefits and continuing to learn along the way. Technology has allowed us to ‘virtually’ carry on with many aspects of our daily lives and is quickly becoming the new normal.