Implementing a multi-day virtual training solution for a large bank
Each year, our client, who is a large, public bank headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, makes a significant investment into their newly hired analysts by putting them through a 9-week training program, seven days of which are with GAAP Dynamics learning about U.S. GAAP. 2020 would have been our fifth year delivering the in-person training, which teaches accounting and reporting issues faced by the banking industry through a number of example scenarios and explanations that make U.S. GAAP seem “simple and easy to understand."
But COVID-19 did its best to put a damper on the festivities. We were scheduled to teach in mid-July, but in March those plans were put on pause. In late May, our client made the decision to deliver all nine weeks of training virtually, which included our 7-day course that was rescheduled for mid-August. The client’s first thought was to convert each day into its own separate webinar. But can you imagine sitting through an 8-hour webinar for seven straight days? Neither could we!
We quickly put together an alternative plan that included a variety of interactions (and some fun!) throughout the day:
- "Wake-up" webinar: This 30-minute Zoom meeting with the participants kicked off the day at 8:30am and gave GAAP Dynamics an opportunity to answer any questions from the previous day, go through the daily schedule, and set the tone for the day. Additionally, it provided participants a chance to earn points by answering trivia questions. We also had daily themes, which included Cleveland day, Beach day, College day, Wacky Wednesday, and USA day.
- Online, self-study course: Utilizing our online learning platform, the Revolution, we provided the analysts access to several of our self-study, eLearning courses, which they were required to complete. Throughout the 7-day program, participants completed a total of 16 online courses on the Revolution, complete with a bank-branded home page. Included on the platform was an “ask the instructor” feature, meaning that even though they were working independently, participants were never really alone.
- "The real-deal" webinar: Each afternoon, we’d host a 2.5-hour webinar, where we summarized the information covered in the self-study courses, discussed example scenarios, and reviewed how U.S. GAAP was being applied by the bank. We also administered a "daily quiz” to ensure that participants were absorbing the key learning points. We believe one of the key parts of the training is our detailed review with participants of the client’s Form 10-K. How many employees get a chance to read their new employer’s financial statements! Each participant received a hardcopy of the bank’s most recent 10-K, and we encouraged them to take notes throughout the training. We also developed a scavenger hunt game where participants had to find answers to questions about specific disclosures within the 10-K.
- Group work: Each day ended with group work. The class was divided into teams for the purpose of developing a group presentation to be presented to the entire class on the last day of training. The presentations walked through a specific accounting topic, using financial statements of a peer bank as an illustration. We even offered “virtual office hours,” giving teams the opportunity to ask any questions on the content and share their presentations to get our thoughts and suggestions.
The participants had fun! There was interaction and engagement! The presentations were great! And they LEARNED about U.S. GAAP! Of course, there were some slight technical difficulties (as to be expected), but overall, the training was a success! We really did have to completely redo the design of the training (in a tight time frame), but we could not have done it without the flexibility and support of our client. And we could not have done it without the amazing participants that, despite the situation, gave it their all! They played along with our theme days, they answered and asked questions during the webinar, they took advantage of the group presentation office hours, and they showed they are committed to their new employer. Here are a few comments we received from some participants:
Definitely enjoyed it. I liked how you made it interactive and funny for us! You kept me interested in a topic that can be boring! Thanks!"
You have made this experience so fun for us! Thanks so much for all of your effort and enthusiasm -- it's so appreciated!"
I really enjoyed hearing the explanations from the perspective of the experts. Not only that, it truly helped me understand the topics, even taxes! Great way to teach!”
We really enjoyed the seven days, and even though it was a bit different than what we are used to doing for this program, we proved that good training can be delivered virtually. And we are looking forward to next year, where, hopefully, we can be in person again. But, if we can’t, we’ve got a plan!
Do you need assistance in converting in-person training into an interactive and engaging virtual delivery? Let's talk!