Tips to Make Any Virtual Training Experience Better

by Carrie Cinosky

Recently I spent time on a remote learning session with my two children. As school closings are announced nationwide indefinitely, we are entering an unprecedented time focused on online learning exclusively. The lesson was centered around creating animations, and while the instructor was fantastic (and a well-known animator) the drawings were mirrored and the audio was poor, resulting in key steps missed along the way. The resulting masterpiece was an upside-down giraffe that when asked, they were unable to recreate the next day.

As learning professionals, we are not unfamiliar with the rapid shift to online learning in the workplace. In 2019, 59% of learning and development pros spent more of their budget on online training than they did three years ago. When it is done well, virtual training is an unexcelled solution. The key consideration in that statement is “done well”

How can we ensure successful delivery as we navigate a broader shift? Below are some tips to consider while supporting VILT (virtual instructor-led deliveries):

  • Ensure that content is appropriate for online repurpose. Maybe part of the in-person instruction was focused on knowledge transfer. Could that be repurposed as an infographic to set the stage before you deliver any remote instruction? Added bonus: you will end up with post-training quick reference material.
  • Teamwork makes the dream work. Preparing virtual facilitators with the understanding of tools and providing the right team for VILT will drastically change the delivery. For example, using chat with a colleague monitoring the room and addressing technical questions allows questions to be answered in real time while keeping the facilitator focused on instruction and any disruption at bay.
  • Keep it simple and engaging. We’ve all been guilty of ‘click-through’ online training. Defining and understanding your audiences WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) will help nurture retention; coupled with easy to read PowerPoint slides and basic polling questions throughout to keep your participants engaged.
  • Build the feedback loop. Some of this can and will happen naturally in the session so use it! Chat Q&A is a great way to look at common questions, and ensure intentional changes are made to make any continued deliveries more robust.
  • Make sure your learner is ready. This may sound redundant, but I’m still very surprised how many remote learners I find have no understanding to basic access and proper remote learning etiquette (I’m looking at you, bathroom attendee). Over communication of the best way to participate upfront will result in a successful delivery for both you and the attendee.

Virtual learning does not – and should not – be the only option. There, I said it. Outside of our current circumstances, virtual training should be one of a multi-faceted approach: live training, self study and other digital mediums; the value of each I will discuss in the coming weeks. This is certainly a trial by fire, but with enthusiasm and understanding of remote learning, we will begin to uncover the untapped potential of further incorporation of blended approaches into learning and instructional design. As we embrace this shift, use insights to begin to create a blueprint for what works best within your delivery capabilities.

Learn more about Skyline ATS virtual training.

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