Virtual workshops are on the rise as an efficient and widely accessible alternative to traditional co-located classroom training and most of the training platforms available come with a host of tools designed to make delivering virtual training more effective and interactive.
What is virtual training? It is a learning experience that enables training sessions via the internet. Training occurs the same as it would in a co-located environment, only the coach and learners are physically separated from each other.
Fortunately, not only are there a range of platforms available in order to facilitate virtual training, but they are equipped with a range of different features and tools to make virtual workshops interactive and engaging.
7 virtual workshop tools to enhance your virtual training
Here are our top 7 virtual workshop tools to enhance your virtual training experience:
- Video capability
- Screen sharing
- Breakout groups
- The chat box
- Live polling
- Status indicators
We’ll explore each of these virtual workshop tools in detail below:
1. Video capability
Once, the world was incredibly shy about appearing on camera. In the rare days of a video conference, many of us would find some reason or another as to why we were unable to put on our webcam.
Now, in the wake of a global pandemic that confined millions to their homes, video willingness has taken a new leap. And it’s wonderful.
Enabling video allows for a deeper human connection to form between trainer and participants during virtual workshops. It brings a greater ease of communication as facial expression and body language can be read and considered and they go a long way in helping participants not speak over one another.
Practically every platform now comes with video capabilities and it is a real boon to be able to use them, especially given the benefits that it can provide for your workshop.
2. Screen sharing
Screen sharing is a widely available feature in most virtual training platforms, such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom, allowing for sharing of computer monitors and screens.
When the host of the virtual training or virtual meeting shares a screen, their participants can see everything that is being displayed on the host’s chosen screen, including the mouse movements, PowerPoint presentations, documents and typing of words.
Being able to share screens while facilitating virtual training means being easily able to show participants your slide deck, notes, or systems that they may need to use.
It allows easy collaboration within breakout rooms, no need for fiddly permissions or switching between slide decks or users.
Being able to share your screen effortlessly in any virtual training workshop has made things that much easier and we recommend that anyone looking to facilitate virtual training adds screen sharing to the top of their list of virtual workshop tools.
3. Breakout groups
The ability to use virtual breakout groups mimics small group activities that would normally take place in a traditional co-located training session. It allows participants to separate out into small groups to complete a task or exercise.
During these breakout groups, participants move into a separate private room where they can only hear and interact with one another, and occasionally the host. They can share screens, documents and whiteboards to facilitate the conversation and allow collaboration.
Breakout groups are a key virtual workshop tool, helping to enable engagement and small group discussion. Additionally participants can practice skills in the breakout room during the virtual workshop.
Watch our Platform tutorial playlist to find out how to set up virtual breakout rooms across three separate virtual training platforms; Zoom, MS Teams and Cisco WebEx Training Centre.
Gone are the days of writing on flipchart paper in front of your co-located audience. Instead, more and more virtual platforms are engaging the use of a virtual whiteboard. This is a go-to method of brainstorming, explaining, collaboration and more. Similar to the ability to share the host’s screen, using a virtual whiteboard gives participants a central canvas in which to work upon.
It can be used with a range of annotation tools, such as pens, text, stamps and shapes. Most virtual platforms used for virtual training have some form of whiteboard and annotation features, including Microsoft Teams, Zoom and WebEx Training Centre.
5. The chat box
The chat box function is a highly useful and largely underestimated tool in the virtual workshop arsenal. It gives participants a channel in which to voice opinions and create conversations in a way that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the workshop and provides excellent starters for group discussions.
Depending on the platform, the chat box has a variety of functions from being able to write direct messages to other participants or the host, to sending GIFs and emojis to one another.
It provides an entirely different method of communication and one which lends itself very well to the virtual environment.
6. Live polling
Live polls are a useful tool for quick, easy engagement. They can be used as powerful icebreakers that get everyone engaged at once and they can help collect valuable insights or set the tone for a meeting or workshop.
Most platforms, like virtual whiteboards, come with a poll function which you can use for quick snapshots of engagement. They are also handy to check on the understanding and direction of your workshop; whether your participants are obtaining a successful learning transfer.
7. Status indicators
Many virtual workshop platforms also have the feature of status indicators, such as raised hands, stepping away or agreeing. These can be used as an addition to quick polling, for facilitators to get a swift response from their participants. This allows them to read the group swiftly, using the feature to get snapshots of understanding, task completion or a willingness to move onto the next task, for example.
There you have it. 7 classic virtual workshop tools available in a variety of virtual platforms to help facilitate virtual training. Which ones do you find most useful?
If you need help getting started with, or would like help learning how to use these tools to their best potential, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. We will be happy to assist.