I caught up with Matt Turner, Director at Live Time Learning, before he put the final touches to his Virtual Learning Show (VLS) session about why there is sometimes a slow move to the virtual classroom. Matt said that he “really enjoyed last year’s VLS including the useful content, good mix of people and similar set of interests” though commented humorously that you could get “headphone fatigue, so you need comfortable headphones!”

In the description of Matt’s 11.00am session on day two, 27th of June, it states “some decision-makers still appear fearful, confused, or even downright scared of adopting virtual classrooms”. Matt explained that “it’s a type of avoidance. They haven’t done it and don’t know. There are people who want to do it but get nervous and worried about what people might think about it. Some clients are gung-ho and say ‘wow, everyone should do this’ and we have to reign them in! It’s down to not enough shared understanding or referencing. Lot of clients don’t like e-learning: virtual classrooms are another step on. What you say ‘let’s do some training or some e-learning’ people are generally clear about what they are and their differences. With a ‘webinar’ though some people laugh and ask ‘what’s that?’ It’s a long term challenge to overcome and we all need to work hard to make sure the client understands it in L&D and then the users need to understand it. It can be painful at times,” Matt laughed, “but once people get into it they love it”.

When focusing more on L&D professionals and their part in being open to virtual classrooms Matt commented, “a VC is a fundamental basic thing of linking humans to humans. We meet online because it’s too expensive or inconvenient to do so in another way”. Shifting focus to whether the technical side of the industry needs to take on more responsibility for the mind-set of businesses, Matt said “no, I don’t think so. In personal experience IT people, when you interact with them, are great at overcoming challenges. We all need to work to ensure people know the benefits and understand online learning. Platforms could be a little more stable, but when things go wrong it’s the exception now. It’s just the same as the projector not working or the classroom being double booked! The same with any other aspect of technology, it’s the service from the providers that can be improved”.

Finishing up by looking ahead to Matt’s session, he’s encouraging people to contribute to it. He would like people to bring with them “their own experiences and a strong point of view – disagree with me, let me know and we can discuss! I want this to be a stimulating, enjoyable big chat, not a boring webinar! It can be an emotional subject and I want to get to what people think”.

After the stimulating and enjoyable conversation I had with Matt, I’m sure his webinar will be the same.