Live VILT – record it or not?

category-virtual-classroomOur eLearning Guild Academy courses are a blend of live virtual instructor-led (VILT) sessions supplemented by a knowledge sharing platform for asynchronous learning (although sometimes it’s the other way around with live VILT sessions supplementing the asynchronous learning) . The duration of the courses range from two live, 2-hour sessions over one week to eight live, 2.5 hours sessions over 8 weeks always with additional independent and collaborative activities.

It is my opinion that if live VILT sessions are done right, all parties need to be truly present and participating. So for that reason, I made a decision early on NOT to record the Guild Academy’s live VILT sessions for any courses.

With the assistance of my colleagues, I even made an attempt to define what ‘done right’ looks like so it could be communicated to our instructors.

“Course Standards” means a rigorously designed course that uses content in a coherent, high-production value presentation to provide the learner opportunities for a rich set of interactions and assessment, resulting in a meaningful learning experience that significantly transcends static content (i.e., self-paced tutorial, lecture, webinar/webcast).

I made an exception for one course we offered several months ago (it was a pilot) and was not at all surprised to see participation and engagement decline rapidly when we started recording after the second session. The experience bolstered my initial opinion. When you record a live VILT session – even one designed “right”, I think you end up with little more than a webinar/webcast (a form of performance support). You’re really just observing from a distance – not doing.

It seems to me when you want to learn how to do something new or learn more (i.e., the first two needs of Gottfredson’s and Mosher’s “Five Moments of Need”) you can’t expect someone to accomplish that by watching a two-hour video of a rigorously designed session that included activities in break out rooms and white boarding.

It seems the best mix for the type of courses we are currently offering is a combination of live VILT + the asynchronous platform for activities and resources (when it makes sense, we use super short recordings of key things from the live sessions to support the activities).

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you decide.

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