The Top 8 Training Methods for Virtual Classrooms
Maximize learning in your virtual workshop approaches with these training techniques
Your chosen virtual training methods for the virtual classroom should always support your learning objectives, but they also need to be highly engaging and appropriate for the type of training that you are delivering. Not all techniques will be viable for every virtual workshop though, so consider their applicability carefully when designing your session.
Virtual Training Techniques
- Teach with visuals
- Group discussions and breakout sessions
- Case studies
- Mentoring or coaching
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Teach with visuals
In the virtual classroom, the most common form of delivery method is for the trainer to present alongside a presentation slide deck (usually using Microsoft PowerPoint or other presentation software).
The slide deck is used to visually reinforce key concepts and increase learner engagement by using visual cues, so it is worth spending some time thinking about what is included in your slides and how best to use them.
Visual cues are important during a virtual training session. They provide ample opportunities for engagement and keep participants focused on the tasks at hand. We recommend a thorough practice session incorporating any technology you might use in your session, to ensure you can facilitate its use seamlessly.
Polling is a hugely popular tool in virtual classrooms. It helps to increase engagement, highlight gaps in learner knowledge, and provides a voice for learners who may not participate as readily in discussions to provide feedback.
Many virtual training platforms come equipped with a polling tool as standard, but there are external, third-party tools available as well.
As before, you should take the time to familiarise yourself with this software before seeking to use it in a session, so that you are entirely comfortable with its functionality.
Group discussions and breakout groups
Group discussions are key in a virtual classroom. They can be used to break large learning groups into smaller ones, allowing participants to discuss topics or concepts more intimately.
They can include verbal discussions on a specific topic or work together on a shared whiteboard or question.
Separating large learning groups into smaller breakout groups can be achieved through most popular Virtual Training platforms, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Trainers need to be familiar with this process of placing participants into groups and retrieving them back to the main room, so we recommend you practice this process before using it live.
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Trainers can use the aforementioned Microsoft Teams or Zoom breakout groups to facilitate an idea-storming session between their participants. This allows them to create and work through a list of viable solutions or suggestions that could be used to collaborate on a work project or create new processes.
Idea-storming sessions can be a great way to increase participants' engagement and interaction during a session. Also, if participants use the whiteboard tool, these can be saved for future reference!
Sharing Case Studies
Case studies are useful for sharing real-life examples with participants. These can be in either a written or video format, depending on what you want to achieve. Sometimes, simply sharing a real-life story verbally during discussion can help with participants’ application and understanding of a learning concept.
They can also be used in breakout sessions, to help further participants’ understanding by inciting deeper discussion in smaller groups.
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Gamification is a key component of effective Virtual Workshops. It can include both competition and achievement, include rewards, or simply be about fostering competition between participants.
Use the opportunity to get creative with your games, either in creating them yourself through clever PowerPoint use or looking into purchasing more serious games from a third party. Whatever you choose, it should reflect the topic and tone of the workshop at hand.
Like polling, quizzes can help increase participant engagement, highlight those areas in which the understanding isn’t as strong as it should be, or even help identify participants who are struggling.
They can also be a key part of gamification, providing a fun way to measure ongoing understanding and keep up participation from the learners.
Coaching in a virtual classroom usually involves close interaction between pairs using audio and visual technology. Participants can be paired together in breakout rooms to discuss and coach one another on the topics at hand. This allows them to gain new insights from one another and to explore ideas and processes in more detail.
This allows you to foster better relationships between participants and provide different ways of learning, helping participants to make connections to the training topic and strengthen their learning transfer.
In the virtual classroom, the training methods you choose will depend on many different factors; including the type of training you are delivering, time, the technology available, and your participants’ needs.
The techniques above all have their pros and cons. It will be up to you to decide which one best fits the topic and training situation you are in.
In the end, the true goal is to create the best learning experience for your participants and have fun along the way. So, always keep this in mind when choosing your training techniques for your virtual classroom.