COVID-19: Choose between our familiar (but now socially distanced) classroom training courses and our excellent new live online courses.
A trainer's experience of giving the first Wise Owl classroom course in 4 months
What was it like giving the first classroom course for Wise Owl since the middle of March? There were good and bad points, as this blog explains.

Posted by Andy Brown on 24 August 2020

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Classroom training in a post-COVID world

In the first week of August I gave my (actually, our) first classroom training course in nearly 4 months, in our new bigger, better London training room.  I thought I'd record my impressions!

Thanks to Puc - and to Rebecca, Ahbab and Tunde - for being my guinea pigs!  As you'll see from this blog, it wasn't all swings and roundabouts.

The Room

Our new room is on the first floor, so much easier to get to (we all took the stairs, rather than the lift):

The new room

The room is much bigger than the previous one, I'm happy to report.

The biggest difference by far from my point of view was that I couldn't freely wander round looking at people's screens (instead I could see what everyone was doing using a separate private screen at the front of the room, as shown in the picture).

Coffee and refreshments

The thing that everyone was most impressed with?  The individual supplies:

supplies 1 supplies 2
Sanitiser ... ... and cute little teabag containers.

Everyone got their own little milk jug too:

Cute milk jug

These milk jugs are cute, but they needed constant replenishment.

 

Social distancing and other precautions

I was under strict instructions from our COVID consultant (Jenny) to sanitise my hands every time I entered or left the room, and also before I used the kettle (and to ensure that everyone else did the same).  I think by and large we all stuck to these precautions pretty well!

As to the room, here are the distances:

Social distancing

In practice it felt pretty spacious, but I missed being able to pace up and down the middle of the room, and look at people's screens from behind their shoulders!

 

Lunch

I offered people a choice between getting sandwiches and eating them in isolation or going out to lunch.  By unanimous agreement everyone chose to go out; to The Alchemist on day one, and Ekachai on day two.

For me this was the best bit of each day: this is the one bit of classroom training you can't hope to replicate on an online course.   However, I can see that many people would prefer to just get sandwiches and eat them separately.

My conclusion

i was really surprised how different it was running a classroom course without being able to go next to people to see their screens,  I was expecting it to be like this:

Pre-covid courses

I thought socially distanced classroom courses would be very similar to normal classroom courses.

Instead, I found classroom training post-COVID to be more like this:

Post-COVID training

Classroom training now is about halfway between normal classroom courses and online courses.

It made a surprisingly big difference not being able to prowl round the room!

The hardest part of all, however, was not being able to shake people's hands when I first met them, or even when we said goodbye.  Very strange, and very much against human instinct!  From a training point of view, though, I'd still (unsurprisingly) rather give a classroom than an online course.

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