In light of economic conditions, a Big 5 professional services firm needed to transform its face-to-face industry conferences to a more cost-effective virtual development experience. The virtual institute aims to equip practitioners to deliver industry insight to clients.

Emerson and the firm created a sustainable, flexible and innovative design that could be used across various industry groups. The design focused on leading-edge learning solutions and tools that will force interactivity and break the mold of “death by PowerPoint” webinars and “click after click” e-learning modules.

The resulting program is a four-week learning experience that accommodates a variety of learning styles by offering synchronous and asynchronous training. It also uses many learning modalities, including virtual classroom sessions, discussion boards, virtual panel discussions, and a client simulation activity. Virtual classroom sessions (one to two hours in length) bring all participants together twice each week in either plenary sessions or in small virtual teams of five to six teammates with the support of a coach.