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Skills practice: Face-to-face is a given but does it need to be in person?

By James Larter

Posted 29/11/2018

I wholeheartedly believe that skills practice is the critical element of embedding learning – the ‘doing’ which enables participants to hit the ground running when they return to their workplace following training. But where does it best fit into the overall programme?

Getting the timing right is crucial

We’re often asked by third party training providers and in-house L&D teams to resource professional roleplayers, experienced skills coaches, who can support the final stage of a development programme. It’s a great way for participants to put their new learning into practice and test out alternative approaches to real conversations, especially when they can work with experienced professional roleplayers, and benefit from immediate personal feedback on the impact of their behavioural approach and choice of language.

But what if the timing’s too soon? Sometimes you need participants to return to their roles and reflect on how the learning actually relates to their job, so they can target their skills practice to meet real needs.

Or perhaps you’re looking to build skills practice sessions into your comprehensive blended learning solution?

Historically, the logistics of arranging a follow on skills practice session have been prohibitive; we all know how difficult it can be to gather participants together and justify more time away from their desks.

Which is why we’re finding remote skills practice is really gaining momentum.

Personalised practice at a time to suit

By giving participants the opportunity to access a professional roleplayer direct from their desktop or laptop, they can arrange their personal skills practice session at a time and place to suit them. We’ve found that participants appreciate the time to consider the conversations and scenarios they’d really like to practise, so that they can really focus their attention on improving a targeted delivery.

Flexibility without compromising face-to-face contact

Nothing can replace the impact of face-to-face interaction, which is why we’re finding more people are opting for remote skills practice sessions, as an alternative to working with a skills coach actor in person. Not only is it a very convenient way to practise and embed learning following a development centre, but it also provides easy access to refresher sessions, whenever the individual needs to practise their own particular conversation.

I believe that remote roleplay and remote realplay have a distinct part to play in catering for effective, individual skills practice – exciting times!

If you want to know more about how we can support your training programmes, or how you can trial our PRO (Professional Roleplayers Online) platform, please get in touch.

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