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Virtual training

Video 32 of 50
10 min 52 sec
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Now virtual training has been around for a long, long time, but since lockdown, we have done a lot of virtual training. So we have started it off with different modules, different courses through lockdown and from then we have developed on. So within the ProTrainings dashboard, there's a whole set of information you can use on there and features on there to use virtual training. Now this starts with linking your Zoom account with your ProTrainings dashboard. A very simple way of doing it. So when you create a class on ProTrainings, it automatically creates a class on Zoom. Now, when you are doing virtual training, you can either do it where all of your students are virtual or you can have what's called a hybrid lesson, where some are in the class and some are virtual. Now, if you are doing a hybrid class, this can be quite hard because the people in the class, it's much easier because they are actually there they interact better.

Whereas the virtual people also the... Your fraction of a second behind the rest of the class in time. So it is sometimes a little bit more difficult to work, but most of the times you are running courses, you are running them as virtual or you are running as in class. But if you are creating class and system, do it in normal way. Set the dashboard up. Set the Zoom account. I would always recommend you do link your Zoom account directly because the way our system works, is to give a code or the link to the student, but it's a link that is different. So if you did change the Zoom code for any reason, or you go and see a client and they insist on using Teams, you can change it on your dashboard, but you will never run the risk of a student looking at an old email and logging into the wrong thing.

So we thought as much as we can, but what I do now is have a look at the sort of technology you are going to need to run a virtual lesson. Now, we have got quite a lot around here in this classroom here, but all you really need is a laptop or a tablet where you can actually run the lesson from. That's the initial and the cheapest possible way around of doing it. And it will depend on the subject you are teaching and what sort of demonstrations you need to do. So initially we always say is have a a laptop. The next good thing to have is a second monitor. So you have the PowerPoint maybe on your computer, then you got the camera on the computer, on the laptop, for example, and above it have another screen. So you can have your students on one and your PowerPoint on the other.

That makes it a lot easier to keep track of the students who are on the class. The other next thing to invest in would be decent lighting. The most important thing is it does light you up. What you don't want to be doing is sitting with the window behind you. So always sit with a wall behind you so it's darker. So do make sure you are lit up as much as possible. You can get some very cheap lights from Amazon or any electrical company who sell them. And they are low cost and you can just light them up. It's exactly what we are using right now. Now you can take this as far as you want. Now with us, obviously we are doing quite a lot of instructor courses as a virtual courses. So the technology's a little bit different, but also we run hybrid lessons.

So I just want to quickly describe how we do it at this level. So what we have got now is the camera we are looking at is straight over in that direction. Below it is the PowerPoint and above it will be another television which we have the students on. So it is quite easy for us to do it. And I would frame that up so that I'm in line here so everyone can see what's what. We also use the screen at the back to show the PowerPoint as well. So if we have got a hybrid class, the students can see it. But also virtual students, you will be able to see the PowerPoint on this as well. Because sometimes when you are doing it, you don't want to necessarily share the screen of the PowerPoint, you just want to refer to it if you are teaching.

So from here I can point and aim at that screen as well if I need to. So it works quite well because you are directly talking to the students in front of you. It works nice and simple on that side. So the other thing we have got here are other cameras and other screens. So the main control unit we use with this, the whole meeting, the Zoom meeting will be controlled on this MacBook. And that's where the Zoom is. So we have this, and this is mirrored up. So the screen above the camera, the screen on here with the students goes up there. But we leave the participants and the chat feature on this screen here. We have then got an output screen here where I can see all the different outputs. So the whole thing is then controlled by this box here, black magic box.

We have four buttons on there. The first button is used in the main camera, the one in front here. The second one is PowerPoint. So that will be using this laptop here and it imports straight into that box so the people on the meeting can directly see the PowerPoint. Also with this box, I can do picture in picture. So although the PowerPoint is showing, I can put my video in the top left, right bottom, left right corners. So you are still making the lesson personal. It's not just the PowerPoint they are looking at. The third input on there, it's another camera. So we have this camera, which is a basic webcam type camera or you can use this particular one's a camcorder. And you can set that for closeup stuff. So if I was doing a demonstration here or wanting to show a product to somebody, I can hit the button, go to camera three, show that directly on here, and then I can switch back to the other camera afterwards or onto the PowerPoint.

And back to this screen here, it will show all of these outputs on there. Button four. What we use on it is we have another laptop. So for example, if I was showing you how to use our dashboard, I will have another laptop here and I can talk straight up to HDMI. That means I can show exactly how everything works. So if you are running a lesson, then showing them a website, something like that, you can hit button four and go onto this computer. Because we have got a hybrid class here, we have also got another television over on that wall. So with the students in a U-shape it means that we can have all the students on a hybrid class be able to see the students in the class would see the PowerPoint here. But they would also be able to see the students on both of these cameras over here. That's these televisions over here. So it means that you can interact with classroom students and virtual students easily. So this is a little bit higher tech of finally the microphone here. So we run with the mic that goes straight into this as well, so we get a better quality.

So this microphone is linked to a cable that goes over to the camera. It goes up through the ceiling and it goes onto here. Now as far as connecting onto the internet rather than using WiFi here, which is hardwired straight into the router it just takes away some problems. Now the biggest nightmare of a virtual lesson is losing your internet connection. It's terrible. I know because it's happened to me. We had a failure of the internet, so what we had to do is have a redundant system. So we have got two cables running through. So there's a spare cable as well. So if something did happen, there's a fault with a cable or when to test the cable, we could switch over to the other one. Also, the machines will also run on WiFi, so we can directly link with the main router on WiFi.

Also if that has not worked, you can use a hotspot on your mobile phone as WiFi. We have also got a 4G router as well that we can directly plug into. So should something go wrong with anything to do with the the wiring here, we can still access the internet directly through a 4G system just to make sure that there's enough backup. Now, do you need to have all that?

Not Really. But having it hardwired to the router helps, or having good WiFi connection will help when you are doing your lessons. So once you first start with your lesson, it's always a good idea to maybe get a friend or someone just to see that it all looks okay. So what I would typically do in here if I'm teaching a virtual course is I will get someone in the office just to dial into the meeting, have a look, have a chat with them directly. So make sure they can hear me okay. Make sure I'm using the right microphones on, okay. Make sure that I'm lit up correctly and also do a quick test on the buttons here. So it's always good to thoroughly test it. Now, if you are running a virtual lesson, then what we would do is we would start, for example if we were running virtual Pet First Aid course, I would get in here early.

So we would always make sure you get set up just so you get all your techs sorted out. But I would set up the Zoom meeting, start that. But I would push over here to have the PowerPoint, to have the introduction screened and on our virtual PowerPoints because you have got a virtual version and also a classroom version. On the virtual version, it has welcome and it says your class will start soon. So if someone does log in early, they will see that screen and they will know that the class is there and they are in the right place. And then what I will do typically is we will open up the class around about half past 08:00 for a nine o'clock start. And as people come in I say hello to them, make sure their connection is okay, I can do the ID checks and things like that with them, and then tell them that the class will start at 09:00 for me I will get a drink and then it's fine.

It makes it nice and easy process and make people feel welcome. Now with virtual lessons, it can be that your students aren't quite happy about the tech side of things, but it is quite straightforward and very quickly they will work out what's what. One of the biggest issues we would have, is knowing who's on the screen. So, if they are using someone else's Zoom account, for example, you may have someone with a partner's name, so they can easily change the name, just tell them how to do it. Just go to the bottom corner edit the name so at least you have got the person's first name on the screen and also everyone else can see it. So if you have got two virtual students want to talk to each other, they know that the person's there, they can talk to them by name.

It makes it a bit easier. So what we have here is a little bit more high tech for what you would need unless you are doing a lot of virtual courses. But doing virtual courses does open up courses to the world. You know, of course we did just recently, we had someone on there it was a Pet Instructor course, but not only did we have people in the UK, we had someone from the Channel Islands, someone else from New Zealand. And previous courses we have had them from China, we have had them from Australia, all sorts of different countries. So rather than you just teaching your subject within a geographical area where people travel, having the option to do it as a virtual course will open it up to the whole country or even the whole world to give you a maximum chance.

And then when you are advertising courses on our system, you can actually click, say it's a remote class, and then our system will advertise your courses to anyone who's interested in that, who comes up. So it can work well. Finally with training, there are some courses you cannot teach a 100% virtual, so you just need to make sure that they can be taught. But you can have a look on and in the each of the courses there, they will be a little icon on the corner and it will say that you can teach that course virtually. So just make sure you do teach them virtually.

Now, the other thing would be if you are doing a practical exercise for example, back when I was saying doing these pet instructor courses what we would do with those is post out a dressing pack to the students before the lesson. So they would use their own toys, bits and pieces to practice on, but the actual dressing pack would go. So, for you, you can just buy these straight off our website, just little bag, and they have all the dressings relevant for the particular course you are teaching. So with the pet one which has got the cohesive bandage and the bits and pieces they need and gloves. So while I'm doing the practical modules, I can do my demonstration, they can do their practical bit, they can hold it up to camera and they can pass the skills that way round.