Learning Can Happen Anywhere. A Surge in Demand for Virtual Training amid Coronavirus Outbreak.
Updated: Jul 15, 2020
The catchphrase “Suspending Classes without Suspending Learning” has become so popular these days. The social distancing measures to avoid the spread of novel coronavirus infection has put virtual learning in the limelight. Not only the educational institutions but also the organizations have scrambled to make the switch from in-class to virtual training in order to continue the learning in times of upheaval.
While most of the digital learning platforms are fairly easy to use, however, when it comes to the actual delivery of program content and the facilitation of participant engagement in the virtual classrooms, it is a different story. Many trainers may find it challenging to transfer the real classroom training into highly effective, interactive and engaging online lessons. They may encounter challenges such as difficulty in keeping online participants interested and connected throughout the entire programs, having fewer tools to support multimodality, etc. So, how can trainers go the extra mile to make the virtual training impactful, and enjoyable?
We recently delivered a facilitated, interactive online training program to 50 newly promoted managers of a listed company with a great success. In hopes of promoting best practice and raising the bar for the profession, we held an online Virtual Training Sharing Session last week to share our first-hand, invaluable experience in virtual training with over 50 training practitioners in the community. To further help virtual trainers alleviate frustration, we have come up with a list of top 15 tips for facilitating effective virtual training.
Digital Literacy – Make yourself familiar with all the functions and tools available on the virtual training platform so that you can make the best use of them for designing interactive learning activities.
Pre-program Pilot Run – This is crucial to a seamless learning session. Having a run-through can help you foresee the difficulties you might encounter during the virtual training. Make sure to check the program flow and test all the technical requirements and tools (e.g. breakout rooms) before the actual delivery.
Technical checks – To reduce technical problems during the delivery, ask the participants to log in 10-15 minutes before the session and perform technical checks on internet connection, sound volume, video, etc.
Co-Host - Invite a co-host to take care of the technical aspects of the training so that you can fully focus on the content delivery and process facilitation.
Water - Prepare a bottle of water. You will need to recharge and refresh yourself throughout the delivery.
Connecting Activity - Use ice-breaking activities to make the participants familiar with the function keys on the virtual platform while helping them to tune in early. For example, ask the audience to introduce themselves by using the online whiteboard.
Engagement Rules – Set specific, action-oriented engagement rules. For example, participants should use the ‘Raise Hand’ function to ask for permission to speak whenever they have questions/difficulties, or things to share. They should also turn off phones and emails to ensure they can focus on the learning.
Turn the Video On – Encourage the participants to turn the video on in order to better connect and engage with the group.
Session Objectives – Set the learning objectives for each training session before diving into the content too quickly. This allows the audience to get mentally prepared for the learning and also sets the scene for later involvement.
Content and Visual Aids – Use fewer words to express a thought or idea. Make appropriate use of headlines, bullet points, graphics (e.g. fun memes) and videos to make your presentation organized, lively and attractive in order to keep the participants’ attention.
Interactivity – Think of creative ways to bring the interactive classroom activities online. Involve the participants from time to time by using text chat, shared whiteboard, breakout rooms, polls, quizzes, raise hand, etc. Add humour to your presentation if appropriate to make the virtual learning a friendlier experience.
Learning Modalities – Adopt a blend of learning modalities in your virtual training delivery in order to keep your participants interested and engaged while sustaining the learning momentum.
Post-learning Engagement – Ensure the participants are able to transfer and sustain their learning after your virtual training session. Follow-up online coaching sessions and additional learning resources are good examples.
Learn to Fail, but Don’t Fail to Learn - Give yourself the permission to be human. You might get stuck on a technical problem during your delivery. But remember, do learn from the failure. You will find the virtual training experience a rewarding one.
Learn from an Experienced Coach – Before delivering your first-ever virtual training session, consider hiring a coach who has solid virtual training experience to give you a tutorial on how to design and deliver successful virtual training.
We now offer short virtual training programs on Effective Virtual Meeting Facilitation, Virtual Training & Facilitation, Engaging Team & Driving Performance in the Virtual World and Managing Stress & Cultivating Positive Emotions in Times of Uncertainties.
If you are interested to know more about these programs as well as how we can help with your needs for virtual training, simply contact us through 3728-1248 or firstname.lastname@example.org
With the right skills and techniques, you will find the virtual training experience a rewarding and enjoyable one.