With the world going virtual in the last few months, creating a training strategy that suits the time has become a necessity now. Learning and Development teams all over have now moved the in-class instructor-led training (ILT) programs into a ‘virtual’ classroom and now it is time to deliver.
Creating a successful training program is an art that is still being tried and tested by all. There are various elements under play here and it is vital to ensure that each factor is taken care of so that the end result is effective. Based on our own experience, I have listed here 5 easy tips that will enhance your Virtual sessions.
1. Test the Technology
Thanks to technology, virtual training software can today provide a ‘nearly’ identical learning experience for instructors and learners. However, before undertaking any session, it is important to test your technology. Dry runs must be conducted before the D-Day to ensure a smooth flow during sessions. This will help facilitators in testing both the technology as well as the tools. Also, security apprehensions have driven some organizations to ban certain tools. Some of the popular meeting apps that can be used are Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, WebEx, GoToMeeting, MS Teams etc.
2. Time your session
Online/virtual workshops must not be very long. Traditional training programs can go on for an entire day and it can still be effective. However, people staring at computer screens all day might not be a good idea. This is both from the perspective of the trainer as well as the trainee. An ideal one-day workshop should only be for a maximum of 4-5 hours.
3. Leverage online tools
One of the good things about virtual training is that there are a wide variety of tools that are available for use to ensure a better engagement level as well as learning intake. If you want to conduct a survey in between or even pre-session, there are Google Forms, Typeform, SurveyMonkey and many more. While a session is on, a breakout room, like the one available in Zoom is a good way to create smaller groups for discussions and activities. Such small-group interactions are effective ways to plan discussions on case studies as well as games.
4. Keep the Camera “On”
In order to ensure a successful workshop, one key need is for the facilitator to be able to see the participants. It is important to make eye contact and observe them as well as their reactions. This helps in changing the course content as per their responses and it can also improve interactions between the trainer and the trainees. One thing that people tend to shy away from is switching on their cameras. However, this must be insisted upon before any workshop as that is the only way that the facilitator will be able to gauge the participant’s engagement levels. Even with the cameras on, it is difficult but it’s definitely better than having them turned off.
5. Avoid Distractions
Before attending workshops, participants must be encouraged to find personal spaces within their homes. Many times, there are people walking behind the scene, children distracting, light issues, pets running around and much more. It becomes distracting for both the trainer and trainee. It is essential to create an environment that will ensure learning when one is at home. For the duration of the workshop, it has to be insisted that there must be no disturbances.
These are just a few virtual classroom techniques that can help you in facilitating an online course. There are many more things that we need to consider. Do you have a virtual training tip that has improved your session experience and learner engagement? Do share your ideas.