Our virtual reality

‘How do we make the virtual experience as good as face-to-face?’

This was our starting point when turning our face-to-face leadership development programme into a virtual offering – we are deliberately disruptive and have a value of remarkable quality after all!

We consistently got feedback that what makes us special is the connection we create, the trust we build, the tribe we set up. It is challenging to do this virtually, especially with the groups sizes we want to work with (larger numbers mean extra stretch when completing certain skill building activities such as pitching or feedback and a wider network to learn from) – but not impossible.

The Ivy House design focuses on 3 key principles:

Interactivity

We definitely do not deliver webinars or presentations. The virtual programmes are interactive, proactive, engaging and memorable. We ensure the delegates have to ‘lean in’ at least every 5 minutes – whether that is to type into the chat box, use an icon, answer a polling question, take part in a group word cloud, grab a pen and paper, shut their eyes, break out into a pairs discussion or group activity, turn on webcam and mic to ask a question,  be coached live or download an interactive worksheet to complete. We use multiple facilitators to ensure there is a mixture of voices during any one workshop. There is a focus on ‘do’ not ‘listen’.

Build relationships

We have a high coach to delegate ratio to ensure the experience feels personal despite the larger group size. Coaches join home group activities and provide radical support and radical challenge. We ensure every single delegate has ‘air time’ – joins the lead facilitator on the virtual stage with their webcam and mic on, introducing themselves and asking questions, interacting with the facilitator. The multi-channel learning approach means more people can get involved, delegates use the chat box to ask questions which supporting facilitators answer during the sessions and also use it to reiterate any key points made by the lead facilitator. We focus on creating a community pre and post the workshops using a closed LinkedIn group and the Ivy House HUB. We also use 1:1 coaching and Virtual Coaching Groups in between masterclasses and live workshops to connect with the delegates 1:1 and in smaller groups.

Fun and playful

Online learning can sometimes seem serious and loses its fun. We don’t let that happen. We set the tone at the start that this is a safe space to play, experiment and have fun – we know more learning happens with more recall in these conditions. Energisers and peak ends are different virtually compared to face-to-face and we have had to be really creative here, but have come up with a list that the groups love and link to the content – including chair yoga, virtual heads and tails, using the break to find an item that depicts your passion… even come back wearing a hat when discussing courageous learners!

We are very proud of our face-to-face NPS score which is 95. Our first virtual NPS was exactly the same – 95 and we even have had a feedback comment: ‘It’s been run so flawlessly I don’t feel I am missing out in any way by it not being face-to-face! I also never thought I’d be on a leadership programme in my slippers!’

If someone could just invent the virtual hug we would be happy to never go back in the classroom again!

Now that you’ve had a peek into how are virtual programmes have been created, why not check out the content?

By Ivy House
5th August 2020

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