Recently we conducted an ISO / FSSC 22000 Virtual Training Course for a global, blue-chip energy drink manufacturer (you know who you are, and thanks guys for great feedback). We learnt a lot in the preparation and delivery of this course and now offer all courses listed on this website as a virtual training option. This particular virtual training course, called Understanding and Application of ISO 22000:2018 was put together to help the 8 auditors quality personnel engineers that were on our virtual training course, to understand and to effectively be able to audit verify suppliers who hold certification to ISO 22000:2018 or FSSC 22000 v5. Here’s what we learnt in terms of how to conduct a successful virtual training course
Preparation of the course
Like most courses, this was delivered on PowerPoint. We knew that the dynamics of a virtual training course would be quite different, when you have candidates sat at home, as was the case during the recent lockdown. The slides therefore had to be precise, capture all elements of the ISO / FSSC 22000 standards, easy to follow and diagrammatic as much as possible. That’s because it can actually be more difficult to hold attention when there are potentially home distractions. The order of slides, and transition from subject area to subject area was also made as clear as possible to enable the candidates to always know where they were in terms of the given course agenda, which was sent ahead of the course.
During classroom courses the group workshop exercises are essentially paper based and are handed out to groups. This clearly wasn’t going to be possible or practical. One option would have been to send a pack and ask all candidates to print out and use at home. Having been recently on the receiving end of that as part of CPD training, I had already concluded that this didn’t work so well and it is a bit of a cheek really to get your candidates to print everything. So all exercises were reworked and placed on slides appearing during the course, for the group to discuss together, or to consider individually and come back together after a nominated period of time. Even this we had to consider very carefully and all exercises were limited to 5 to 10 minutes maximum, again to counter the potential for distraction or attention drift. Most exercises were presented as reproduced mock procedure, which required assessing against the ISO 22000:2018 Standard itself, ISO 22001-1 on PRP’s, FSSC v5 scheme requirements, photographs, or diagrams requiring candidate to spot and discuss “real life scenario” compliance issues.
Trainer notes and course timings
This was a crucial element of preparation of this ISO 22000 virtual training course, and one that worked particularly well. The whole course was outlined on a matrix, used by trainer, which held trainer notes for each slide, precise timings, when to break out for exercises, when to bring the candidates back to together to discuss the exercises, and when to break, to allow candidates to move away from the screen and to take refreshments. We decided to start at 9 a.m. break every 90 minutes and finish at 4.30 p.m. This worked well in terms of attention span.
Verify the virtual platform used!
We chose to use Zoom as we hold a premium account. The week before the course, we asked all candidates to sign in to the link provided. This enabled us to check that everyone could connect, be heard, hear the trainer, and see the slide contents clearly (a couple of example slides were shown). It also allowed for the chat box and reactions icons to be understood for use. The timings of the course were also confirmed. The whole exercise took less than 10 minutes but we think is one of the most crucial factors in preparing for a virtual training course.
The above helped the day to be immensely enjoyable and immersive for both candidates and trainer. The feedback received placed the course at score of between 9 and 10 out of 10, across the board, which is fantastic and validates the fact that a virtual training course can be engaging and problem free! As a result MQM Consulting has decided to offer all food safety, HACCP, GFSI “Understanding Requirements” and internal audit training courses with the option to be conducted virtually. Even as we gradually lift out of lockdown, businesses may well realise that, with the time and costs saved with virtual training (for instance travel costs), and the engagement and effectiveness that is possible, virtual training is the way to go!