Virtual Design: Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them
Virtual design is a huge field with plethora of rules to learn. It is during this process that Learning & Development teams can feel despondent that their program will never go live as it will never be good enough.
It is incredibly important to ensure that virtual training is designed with the participants in mind. But if trainers hold back on releasing their course due to the fears of not being ready, they will not receive the feedback and experience that they need to make it better.
That being said, there are some significant virtual design mistakes that can be avoided to ensure that participant needs are met. Courses don’t need to be perfect in order to start but being sure to avoid these common mistakes is key.
Need virtual training content designed from scratch, or existing classroom content virtualising, or anything in between?
Trainers Just Read the Slides
Every schoolchild knows that when using a slide deck as a tool for relaying information, it is always much better to use the slide as a prompt with bullet points than a wall of text.
Trainers will find that they quick lose their participants’ attention and trust if they simply read word for word what is on the slide in front of them.
Instead, encourage your trainers to use the slides as prompts and ensure designers keep the information that is displayed on the slide minimal, so as not to tempt trainers to use them as a crutch.
Want more on Virtual design? Steps by Steps Process to Design for the Virtual Classroom
Overloading on Information
Information overload happens when trainers get carried away with their material and depth required for them to go into. Particularly when it is a topic that they are passionate about or has a lot of research around it.
This isn’t necessarily a content issue as an organizational one. Everything included in the course may be beneficial, but if the slides are too information-heavy, trainers will find that their participants quickly become overloaded.
Instead, each session should be structured around one key point, one specific outcome that the trainer wants to achieve and split the rest across more workshops.
Virtual training is designed to be bite-sized and one of the benefits to its online format is the potential for more regular, shorter workshops, rather than longer, information-heavy ones.
At VTT specifically, all our workshops are a conversation, not a presentation. We want our participants to be as much an integral part of the workshop as the trainer.
Many organizations get this wrong and their virtual training takes on a more ‘webinar’ style format. It becomes one sided, a download of information for the participants, rather than the interactive, engaging session it could be.
Breaking up large sections of information with activities and group discussions is a great way to ensure the participants remain engaged and focused on the workshop at hand, and not wandering away to check emails or answer Team’s messages.
Poor Activity Choices
While as we have highlighted above, activities are important to keep participants engaged and focused on the workshop at hand, choosing the right activities is also key.
Gamification and activities that have clear objectives that push the participants towards the required outcome are important. They should provide participants with the opportunity to acquire knowledge independently.
Using the technology of the chosen virtual training platform, exploring the functionality and tools available can greatly help to reinforce learning, but only if they are used in a way that furthers the process. If they are just being used for fun, they there will be content included in the design that doesn’t serve the end purpose of the workshop.
Text to Image Balance
How we learn and process information relies heavily on how we view things. Keeping a good balance in the virtual design between text and images is important.
When confronted by a wall of text, participants are likely to shut off, be less engaged and less likely to retain that which your trainers want to impart.
To avoid this, aim for a careful balance between images and words. As with the first point on this list, keep text short, sweet and precise. Also, don’t worry about filling every available space on the slide with something; text or image.
In fact, having some white spaces can help participants to process information better. Be wary of your text and image usage, try and strike a good balance between to the two. Don’t overload your slides.
There is always room for improvement. We are all always learning and picking up new experiences which we look to incorporate into our own materials.
It can be tempting to view online material as permanent, but the reality is L&D teams should be updating their content regularly based on their growing experiences.
And if after reading this article, you have realized there are some of these errors lurking in your latest course, there is nothing stopping you from going back and making some updates.
If you would like some help with your virtual design contact our Virtual Design Studio for assistance!