Designing Virtual Learning for Application and Impact: 50 Techniques to Ensure Results, by Cindy Huggett, Jack J. Phillips, Patricia Pulliam Phillips, and Emma Weber, is an updated guide to instructional design, measurement, and evaluation for “synchronous, live online, facilitator-led training with distinct learning objectives and a geographically dispersed audience.”
In the virtual learning addressed by the authors, participants in the class log in individually to connect, communicate, and collaborate. The focus does not include other flavors of virtual learning, immersive learning, or asynchronous learning. The context is post-pandemic instruction modeled on traditional classroom training.
The authors argue that there are probably too many books on measurement and evaluation, but this one is different. It is about designing virtual learning for organizations to deliver impact and ROI (return on investment), the most important outcomes of any kind of learning directed by learning and development groups, no less for virtual learning.
They succeed admirably in that aim, as you would expect. Cindy Huggett is an expert in virtual learning, with over 20 years of experience helping developers create virtual programs and upskilling practitioners in the use of the technologies required for the effective delivery of the programs. Patti and Jack Phillips have spent almost 30 years leading the measurement field, showing others how to conduct measurement and evaluation to improve results. Emma Weber is an expert on the critical focus of the book, the transfer of learning to the workplace. The publications, tools, and resources that she has contributed to the instructional design profession greatly improve the effectiveness of learning development.
The flow of the book begins with basic concepts that will be familiar to many readers. To begin at the beginning, the book helps readers ensure that they are on the right track: addressing the right business need with the right approach, avoiding any default assumption that training is the right solution. The heart of the book, six chapters on designing for application and impact, begins by showing how to create smart objectives to support the progressive levels of learning: reaction, application, learning, and impact. This sets the stage for presenting the steps required before, during, and after the instructional activity to support transfer of learning to the workplace, using technology and selection from among over 50 techniques. The concluding chapters show how to collect, analyze, and present data to stakeholders on impact and ROI so that the reader obtains a detailed “blueprint” that leads to better results in a continuous result. With so many techniques available in the book, an especially helpful feature is a worksheet that provides selection criteria for the techniques.
The authors of Designing Virtual Learning for Application and Impact have constructed an entire process that reliably delivers ROI through virtual learning. If your goal is to have an ongoing, sustainable, successful virtual learning environment, this book will get you there.