Using the Five Practices in an eLearning Environment

Nancy Duling

Q: What key factors should be considered when determining how to present The Five Practices model in an eLearning environment?

A: The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® is a robust model for designing and delivering a virtual learning program.

The first step involves choosing between synchronous (facilitator-led) training or asynchronous training modules. Is the program designed to be individually received or broadcast to a room of people? As I’m sure we all can agree, The Five Practices evokes rich discussion, which we believe is best supported by the synchronous approach. Starting from the well-known 16- or 24-hour live classroom delivery of The Leadership Challenge, the virtual facilitator-led format makes interaction with the facilitator and collaboration between students similar to the classroom experience.

The tools available during synchronous training include chatting, polling, emoticons, surveys, breakout rooms, and streaming audio and video, among others. But designing a virtual learning program goes beyond planning how to use the technology. The design needs to be focused on the learner’s engagement. In a virtual event, what is presented on screen becomes more important as that there is no in-person facilitator whose body-language or movements might be watched that would otherwise draw the participant in.

For example, the virtual module of Inspire a Shared Vision, from The Leadership Challenge, is enriched by a fully developed graphical story, where "driving through the fog" becomes an interesting and evocative storyline when told with graphics rather than words alone.

Reflecting on the foundations of credibility, The Leadership Challenge teaches us that credibility begins with showing up as honest, forward looking, inspiring, and competent. We have all sat through a "Death by PowerPoint" presentation where a likely credible-in-person leader shows him/herself to be woefully underprepared to meet the expectations of the audience. A credible TLC virtual facilitator must be disciplined in content knowledge, skillful in the use of virtual technologies yet flexible enough to "go with the flow" during the live session...all of these driven by the desire for participants to learn.

Nancy Duling is a Certified Facilitator of The Leadership Challenge® Workshop, developer of The Leadership Challenge Webinar Series, and a member of the consulting team at FlashPoint. Lauren Parkhill is Marketing Manager at FlashPoint, A Leadership Challenge Preferred Provider.

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