Humber College’s Corporate Training Solutions (CTS) department helps organizations stay competitive and reach their goals.   

CTS facilitators have traditionally delivered in-person training through one of more than 180 courses. 

The training can help industry players to develop a more strategic, efficient and competitive workforce. 

In the last few years, the department has been creating online versions of the courses. 

“We started working on transitioning material online before COVID-19. We developed a virtual instructor-led training program  we offered for all our facilitators and faculty ,” said Nadia Desjardins, Associate Dean of Corporate Training Services. overhead view of a man sitting at a laptop, typing

In late 2019, faculty started to train in how to deliver instruction online as facilitators. 

The facilitator training took months. 

“We have a team of great facilitators and faculty who are engaged and they want to continue grow and keep up,” said Desjardins. 

Facilitators must modify their training sessions to better fit the virtual delivery. So far 55 courses have been modified with more to be added this Fall. 

The virtual delivery is called synchronous learning, meaning the learning happens in real time. Traditionally, online learning was asynchronous, without real-time interaction.

Better engagement, better outcomes 

Engagement is the key driver in how CTS courses are converted to virtual delivery. 

“You want to ensure you don’t turn it into a webinar where people are passive and not engaging with each other and the content,” said Desjardins. 

Facilitators keep trainees active every few minutes through chat or open discussion or a breakout room. 

Sessions often include interactive polls to further engage the audience. 

No session is longer than three-and-a-half hours. 

A producer is paired with a facilitator for each training session to support the interactive elements.  

ACCES Employment recently had clients complete a course focused on leading and managing in a Canadian context for its Leadership Connections bridging program. The course helps newcomers land senior leadership roles at Canadian companies. 

According to Bridging Services director Han Tran, the trainees were well-supported by the facilitator and producer. 

“Adobe Connect worked well once the clients got familiar with the tool. It was great to have clients call in by phone for those who had technical issues,” she said. Carolynne Wintrip

Clients were engaged in the virtual session. The group found real-time interaction via video chat to be especially helpful and Han hopes to see the method used even more. 

“It provided an opportunity for the clients to engage and interact with the facilitators and other clients,” said Han. 

The facilitator, Carolynne  Wintrip, the founder of Luminus Learning, adapted the leadership course for virtual delivery. 

She delivered six different training sessions to ACCES clients. 

“It went really well. We created a learning experience where they could leverage and develop their knowledge and skills as they prepare for new roles. They got to know me  and developed a relationship with each other,” she said. 

Wintrip says it’s “incredible” that online sessions allowed for such strong engagement and collaboration, which she says is essential to high quality leadership development.   

“It does continue to stretch me creatively and every time I do a virtual session I learn as well.” 

CTS associate dean Nadia Desjardins says it is an especially important project as social isolation continues – and that it will stick around. 

“We knew this was the way of the future,” she said. 

“This will change how we do business.”