5 Moments of Need

How to Successfully Go Virtual

Published On: March 23rd, 2020
How to Successfully Go Virtual

This blog
is excerpted from
Performance Matters Podcast where Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher discuss our
new “normal” and the absolute need to go virtual with our training—in the

Bob Mosher (BM): Welcome back friends! It’s an interesting time in our world and industry.
I am more than honored than to be joined by my dear colleague, Dr. Con
Gottfredson, as we go into our topic today.

Con Gottfredson (CG): Thank you, Bob. As always, it’s great to be with you and talking about
these important things that we are privileged to discuss.

BM: It truly is. This is a challenging time. We are thinking of all of you.
Thoughts and prayers are out in our industry as we all struggle to deal with
this personally, while at the same time, we continue to do our best to serve
those that we do through learning. In many ways, re-evaluating and re-inventing
who we are. And that is what today is about.

We’re hearing a lot, Con, in the world today about virtual instruction. I
was on a call the other day and I must have heard, literally 50 to 100 times,
“We’re going virtual! We’re going digital!” And we all get it. That’s the only current
option as we are being required to literally work out of our homes. But almost
immediately after those comments, came, “Who knows how to do this? How do you
design it?”

Just “going digital” is the easy part. How do you design learning and how
do you deliver it? That’s tougher, right?

CG: Yeah, well. There’s a vast chasm between the word virtual and the
word learning. Or the word virtual and the word instruction.
Making sure that people can actually learn virtually and that we are
instructionally sound in what we do virtually. That’s a big deal. And
unfortunately, it’s not going to happen if you just dump a traditional
face-to-face learning model into the virtual world.

BM: And Con, I think I’d push it a bit farther
than that because, of course, this is our rallying cry, I’d even push it past
learning to performance. How do you go virtual and impact performance? I think
the means is instruction. The means is delivery. The design. But I think with The
5 Moments and our performance-first mentality, I think we have a unique

Out of anything
in life there is opportunity. Now is the time to get the funding, to get
support, and to do things radically different. And I think our opportunity here
as learning professionals is to turn this industry on its ear so that when we
emerge from this, we may not be who we were.

BM: So, let’s talk about the GEAR model which
we came up with a number of years ago.

CG: Yes, our virtual workflow learning model.
We have since operationalized it again and again and again with remarkable
success. Today, we want to take a high-level look at this model to help you
understand the instructional elements behind it.

BM: So, friends, GEAR. G-E-A-R—the word “gear.”
I’ll take a crack at the first part, Con. And to Con’s point, we’re going to
stay fairly high-level today.

“G” for Gather.
Why not? That’s what we pivot on now. We get people in the classroom. We
gather virtually. I think when people think of virtual instruction they put a whole
lot of weight, if not everything, on the fact that this is what we’ll do. We’ll
get people together virtually versus physically and we’ll teach them.

So, one to
two-and-a-half hours was the average people could cognitively handle, depending
on the complexity of the content. The other thing that’s powerful because we
have that EPSS running—we’re going to keep coming back to that—you do not need
to, nor should you, teach everything. Don’t chop up eight hours of class into
eight different hour breaks. You probably can do four hours of an eight-hour
class in smaller chunks because you have the EPSS to help during the workflow
work. So, the Gather is saved as a gather should always be—physical or
otherwise—for what we call the most critical skills that you identify that an
instructor must be sure are taught, practiced, and communicated.

CG: Gather initiates the learning
process. It doesn’t close it. Gathering initiates learning and then you move
from that Gather, or virtual session, to the workflow where with the help of an
EPSS or performance support, you have what we call Expand and Apply

The Expand
activities in the workflow are intended to provide access to resources that
would allow people to deepen their understanding of what they need to know. But
also to translate what they’ve learned in that Gather session and what
they need to be able to do in their Apply activities to translate all of
that understanding to their own work environment—to think about that, to
reflect on that in terms of their work. So, it’s a deepening and expansion of
knowledge and adapting that to their world.

That’s the Expand—the
“E” part of GEAR.

The Apply
part of the Gear Model is just that. This is where, in the workflow, the
learners apply what they have learned and what they have picked up in their Expand
activities to the real world of their work in meaningful chunks and in
meaningful groups of activities that will further their skill development. All
of that supported by the EPSS.

BM: Sure. And one another thing with Apply
that I think is important to emphasize too, Con, is that in Apply you
can go beyond Gather. Right? We said earlier we were only going to cover
the critical skills in Gather. But in the Apply activity—and when
you wrap a real-life scenario around it—the less-critical skills are going to
be needed. They are going to need to be learned. They are going to need to be

One of the
common things we get with Critical Skills is, “So you say you’re skipping
We’re not
skipping anything. Especially with the Gear Model, we’re going to move those
lessons, those learnings, into the workflow while doing. They’ll still be
covered, they’ll still be learned, and in the final stage of Receive
feedback, we’ll be sure it’s all understood.

So, here’s
where I want to circle around to the beginning. When we do our final analysis,
you Gather them in groups. You let them review their work. They turn it
in. We give them feedback. We use rubrics to give all kinds of feedback and
such. They learn from each other. They Gather as a group. They hear each
other’s experiences and they see some remarkable examples.

And in the
end, friends, this is where the real learning happens. Because we’re not
talking and reflecting on a practice. We’re not talking and reflecting on
something said during Gather. That’s all covered during Gather.

Here, they
get to talk about what they did in Apply, which is the application of
true learning. And they get great feedback, positive and otherwise, and they
get to learn from each other. And the pilot group said unanimously—that in the
end—through Gather we think that’s virtual learning, getting them on
line, virtually gathering—they unanimously told us that of the four letters G,
E, A, and R, R was by far the most popular, that’s where the most learning
occurred, followed closely by Apply. The last thing was Gather.
They knew it was important, they knew they had to do it. But the least
impactful part was what we think of as an industry and traditionally view as
virtual instruction.

So, a really
powerful model to take people through.

To learn more
on the GEAR model and how you can begin implementing it—listen to the
entire episode.
And don’t
forget to subscribe to 
The Performance Matters
 to stay up-to-date on all the latest conversations and guests in The
5 Moments space.

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