The Virtual Classroom Producer: Learner Advocate

The Virtual Classroom Producer Learner Advocate By Leigh Anne Lankford

Long before the office shutdown of 2020, training teams conducted webinar training for occasional sessions. Before the shutdown, most of us in L&D would take turns acting as the technical backup for whoever was tapped to facilitate the virtual class. However, when everyone was sent to work from home, complex and in-depth training classes suddenly needed to be facilitated virtually by trainers who were not skilled in virtual classroom facilitation. Thus, a new role became the rising star in the L&D world: The Virtual Classroom Producer.

The Virtual Classroom Producer role existed before 2020 and was slowly growing in popularity, but since the shutdown, the role has become a strong career path in L&D and has even grown in scope. The professionals in this role are now more than simply technical support. They are classroom advisors, technical coaches, and – the subject of this article – learner allies. The classroom producer serves as an advocate for the student by optimizing content delivery for the virtual platform, advising on and implementing interactivity in the class, acting as a liaison, and creating a welcoming virtual environment.

Advising on Content Delivery

The classroom producer is often now consulted by the facilitator on best practices for content delivery, such as how to optimize the use of platforms such as Zoom, Adobe Connect, or WebEx when the facilitator wants to enhance engagement and interaction. They can advise for inclusivity by suggesting accommodation methods for learners with specific disabilities or language barriers, ensuring access to content through alternative means. Through in-depth experience, the producer should be able to offer advice on pace, timing of breakouts, and breaks to help reduce student cognitive overload.

Advising on and Assisting with Interactivity

The virtual classroom producer also advocates for the learner through advising on and helping with classroom interactivity. The wise facilitator meets in advance with the producer and walks through the classroom material and activities. The producer can show the facilitator how activities for engagement can be accomplished using the virtual classroom tool. The producer provides practical support through activities to make sure all learners have the links, handouts, instructions, and other tools needed. Finally, the producer assists the facilitator in monitoring the learner’s questions, chats, breakout rooms, and other communication streams through the activities to ensure all learners can participate.

Acting as a Liaison

Acting as a liaison between the facilitator and the learner, the virtual classroom producer serves as a vital communication link, ensuring that the learning happens in session for the students and that the facilitator can concentrate on delivering content within the allocated time frame. At the most basic level, the producer makes sure learners have access to all relevant course materials and resources. They monitor and answer questions while the facilitation is happening. They plan and utilize pivots in the content to read group comments and questions for the facilitator to address before moving forward with the content. They also will notify the facilitator immediately if the learners are not keeping up with the material, engagement is dropping off, or if any of the participants are not engaging with the content.

Creating a Welcoming Virtual Environment

There are many ways a virtual classroom producer can collaborate with the facilitator to create a welcoming virtual environment. Before the class starts, they can advise on creating classroom guidelines to promote positive interactions. The producer can invite students to reach out via private message to communicate any challenges that need accommodation. The producer is working to provide timely answers to questions and feedback in real-time while the facilitation is occurring. And lastly, the producer is in the position to monitor and recognize the learners as they make a breakthrough or make a great contribution to the conversation.

In summary, the Virtual Classroom Producer plays a pivotal role in advocating for learners’ needs and enhancing the virtual learning experience through expertise in content delivery, interactivity, communication facilitation, and fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment. Do you want to raise the bar on your virtual or hybrid classroom by adding a virtual classroom producer? Talk with one of our industry-expert Relationship Managers today.

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Leighanne Lankford

Leighanne Lankford lives life outside of the lines. From walking on fire to rappelling down buildings, she lives by the mantra, "playing it safe isn’t good enough." In her 30 years as a Learning and Development practitioner, thought-leader, and now business owner, Leighanne has always pushed boundaries and done things her way.
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Leighanne Lankford lives life outside of the lines. From walking on fire to rappelling down buildings, she lives by the mantra, “playing it safe isn’t good enough.” In her 30 years as a Learning and Development practitioner, thought-leader, and now business owner, Leighanne has always pushed boundaries and done things her way.

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