7 expert tips for successful virtual training
By Jason Kinsella – 8 April 2018
Delivering successful virtual instructor-led training isn’t easy. Here, we share 7 tips from a virtual training industry expert:
1. Be prepared
One of the key obstacles to moving physical classrooms online is the amount of effort required to convert traditional classroom content to be suitable for a virtual classroom. A significant amount of effort and preparation is required to ensure that the content is well suited to learners who are not in the same room, and removed from the instructor! In many ways, preparing for virtual instructor-led training (VILT) is more involved than preparing for a face-to-face class.
In virtual training, learners respond well to structured content. Structured content = improved consistency of delivery. Training programs with structured content are more scalable and can reach more learners. When content is structured, instructors also have more space to guide the learners in session, and add real value to their learning experience.
2. Know your virtual training tools
Virtual training instructors have a responsibility to be proficient in the tools that they are using. In saying that however, it’s also important that the tools they are using be easy for them to use, so that delivering the virtual training is as seamless an experience as possible.
We’ve all attended training where there’s been a problem with the equipment. We couldn’t watch the video, or couldn’t log in, etc. It’s easy to become dis-engaged as a result. In the virtual classroom, make sure the equipment is tested in advance, so you can safely start the class without there being technical difficulties.
3. Be approachable and available
This is one of the main ways to build trust and rapport with learners. And in some ways, this is no different if the classroom is physical or virtual. As with face-to-face training, set some ground rules from the outset. Let your learners that you are there for them. Let them know when it is appropriate to ask questions. Aim to resolve questions as they arise, as long as it doesn’t disrupt the flow of the class. If there’s question that can’t be answered on the spot, or needs more investigation, provide options as to when this can be discussed further outside the classroom – either in a break, via a phone call or email.
4. Give learners hands on practice with real-world scenarios
Building in practice scenarios or tests to complement your training delivery is a failsafe way of knowing whether what you’re teaching is being understood. The easiest way to include these is by using a virtual labs platform where you can see and interact with the learners’ virtual machines. That way, you can give instant feedback during a VILT session, reinforcing learning even more. When feedback is shared, everyone in the class can benefit from the learning opportunity.
5. Understand that everyone learns differently
All people learn in their own way, and any good instructor knows they need to manage for this. In VILT, it’s even more important the instructor recognize this, by ensuring their content helps people learn, regardless of their learning style. A variety of methods are used to achieve this in a virtual classroom. Experienced instructors balance this requirement by delivering a portion of the class verbally, to satisfy the auditory learners. Then, often they will include a demonstration of the task to satisfy the visual learners. Finally, they include a hands-on scenario for the kinaesthetic learners to practice for themselves.
6. Check in, regularly
One good way to do this is to have a regular points to check how everyone is doing in each training session. How and when you check in will depend on the size and duration of your class respectively. Specialized virtual classroom software makes this easy, with features that allow you to do a virtual check in, such as a poll, or group chat.
7. Make the most of your virtual training participants!
One of the benefits of virtual classrooms over physical ones is that there are lots of tools available to enhance online collaboration. Learners can offer their view and in doing so, learn from each other. Often this type of group discussion leads to improved retention of the training content. Furthermore, learners feel more confident and more enthused about collaborating, because there is less judgement in a virtual classroom.
Our free whitepaper, How To Deliver Amazing Training With Virtual Labs, will give you insight into the hands-on nature of virtual labs.
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