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ANAB: Surviving the Pandemic in the Training Industry

Similar to many businesses around the world, the ANAB Training Institute faced unprecedented challenges during early 2020.  It seemed like overnight everything stopped and continuing with “normal” training operations was no longer possible. In a matter of days, we went from reaching maximum registrations to having only self-paced training gain any interest. We knew in order to be able to continue offering our training, we had to act and act quickly. 

Our team, at that time, had been together for less than a year and were still getting to know one another, fleshing out our roles, responsibilities, and capabilities when everything was turned upside down. Now, we were faced with the challenge of needing to change the mode of instruction and delivery of training for the vast majority of our in-person training course catalog.   

We knew one thing – Live Online – was the only way we could continue operating in this new world of quarantine, but how?  What system would be best suited for live, instructor-led online instruction? And how would we deliver training in such a way as to maintain ANAB’s long-standing high-quality reputation as a high-quality provider of accreditation related standards and technical training? The internal auditor, and lead and technical assessor courses, which are our most popular, were traditionally done face to face, as these types of courses have a great deal of interaction among the participants and the instructor. We found ourselves asking, is the ‘one approach fits all’ the best way to go or should we take each course and decide how to structure it? How would we overcome the disconnect between trainer and trainee when such interactions are so vital to learning success? What about distractions and overall screen fatigue? And most importantly, how would we keep the participants captivated and involved, and monitor their progress without the typical visual clues one sees in the classroom? We had to answer all these questions in a very short period of time. We were spending days educating ourselves on online systems (e.g., Zoom, WebEx, Go-To-Meeting) and figuring out what would work best for us. All the while, in quarantine and without the ability to be in the same room together, talk about screen fatigue!

We were not successful from day one, our first month of completely online offerings sold very few seats. In addition, we had few instructors with online teaching experience. About two months into the launch of our online training, we finally started to see improved results; we were getting participants and our courses were starting to fill. After our first private training request for an instructor-led online course and with the conversion of all our courses to online delivery, we were confident that this would actually work. Fast forward a year, our operations are back to normal; well, back to the “new” normal. We learned many tricks along the way and are still learning, every session brings something new and continual improvement is constant.

Our current instructor-led online courses are more interactive now than they ever were. We were able to incorporate every in-class exercise to an online exercise and utilize online tools to maximize participant interactivity. In addition, 100% of our in-person course offerings have been transferred to instructor-led live online training. Yes, we even learned that the Internal Auditor, and Lead and Technical Assessor courses can be successfully and effectively delivered live online, using small group exercises, an e-version of flip charts for discussions and debriefs and most importantly various instructor tools and tricks to keep participants engaged. Even our biggest instructor skeptics now happily instruct in this new virtual environment. We may not even be able to convince them to go back on the road! Well, that’s another bridge we can cross when we get there.

We knew then, and are even more convinced now, that this COVID pandemic has changed the way we do business forever. The world is more connected through electronic means now than ever before and it is not necessarily a bad thing. This reality opened-up a tremendous number of opportunities for businesses and individuals. The ANAB Training Institute will never be the same, and we do not want it to be. We are now reaching more participants across the globe than we ever did just short of 2 years ago. We can deliver private and open registration courses to people globally without the expense of travel. The diversity that we are seeing in our open registration courses enriches the experience for all participants. The discussions and exchange of experiences is something we would never have been able to achieve in pre-COVID era.

We hope one day we will be able to go back to face to face training, but for now, our customers are telling us it is not the time. People are not ready, and we are ok with that. Our early 2022 schedule is still fully live online, and although we are open to face-to-face private training, over 90% of our customers request for the instructor-led live online delivery. 

Remote everything will pick up momentum and will not go away, whatever the future brings we have it covered. 

ANAB Training Institute – We are open for business in this new virtual world.

ANAB Training Institute Team

From top left Amy Levasseur, Emma Dutton, Melanie Ross and Natalia Larrimer. Missing from the photo Roger Muse.