How to convince your L&D team of virtual training

As organisations adapt and evolve, it might be time to consider incorporating some Virtual Instructor-Led Training (or VILT as it is commonly referred to) into your L&D offering.

VILT classrooms are an increasingly popular online alternative to face-to-face (F2F) classrooms as VILT participants log in from wherever they are, regardless of location, along with their facilitator, to learn, share ideas and practice skills together using a virtual platform. It’s classroom learning, but the classroom is virtual!

Maybe you already know this. Maybe you are convinced that VILT is the way forward and have found success in convincing your exec to take it forward. Now, it’s time to convince your L&D team too.

As the people on the ground, they will be integral in making VILT happen, but if they still have concerns about its effectiveness or applicability, then you’ve got some persuading to do. Happily, we are here to help.

Transitioning from face-to-face to virtual training

Let us introduce you to Annie. 

“I’m Annie, a Management Development Trainer for an international bank and I love my job! The best aspect of my role is the people. I work with some amazing colleagues at our offices around Europe and I enjoy the travel element of my job too.

I’m a bit worried about the future though and the way my role will change. We have been told that we need to move some of our F2F training across to VILT – virtual training, so we can become more digital and reduce travel costs as a business priority. 

The last 5 years of F2F delivery have been great and I am not sure the VILT approach will work as well.

I will have to convert some of my Management Modules into VILT workshops and deliver them virtually, using a tech platform. I am not a techie person at all! I work my way around PowerPoint and Excel, but to run the tech of a virtual workshop whilst also delivering the training seems a challenge too far!

I’m worried that I will have to spend so much time running the tech side of things that I won’t be able to focus on my learners.

It’s a big shift moving from the excitement of days away, hotels, networking and meeting new colleagues, to training on a computer.

I’m not sure how I’ll be able to connect with people the same way. I get a real buzz from being with people in a training room. I’m energetic and passionate and this is often mentioned in my feedback comments. How can I achieve the same through a computer screen?

I know VILT is supposed to be interactive, yet what if it’s not! What if the tech lets me down? What if I get those tumbleweed moments where I tell a story or ask a question and get nothing back from the group? Gosh – how de-energising will that be for me and my participants? The whole thing makes me nervous. I want to see people; want to be able to engage and respond to them. 

I do appreciate that we need to embrace more technology in our L&D offering. I’m just worried that I won’t be good at it. I’m concerned that I won’t master the tech, participants will be checking their emails and not paying attention, my feedback scores will go down and my work will be questioned.”

Poor Annie. Maybe you know someone who would identify with Annie and her story. Her commentary reflects the common and very real concerns F2F trainers have when needing to make the move to delivering in VILT environments. 

It is course entirely understandable why Annie would be concerned. She is worried that she will be less visible, less successful at what she enjoys and will have to learn ‘tricky’ new skills when moving to VILT training methods.

If you have people like Annie in your L&D team, they will need your help to encourage them towards delivering VILT successfully. 

In our experience of working with different L&D teams getting started with VILT, there are 4 stages of response that colleagues tend to transition through before they become fully committed. 

Infographic: Convincing your L&D team of Virtual Training

Download our infographic to see how you can move your trainers from being content with the current way, through the stages of discontent and exploration, through to find commitment in embracing VILT. 

In the infographic, we detail how to acknowledge and understand each stage, so we can assist out colleagues in moving forward to embrace a different way of learning. The aim is to recognise and move through each stage successfully, rather than leap immediately from the beginning to the end. Change needs to be understood and undertaken with planning, skill and patience. 

Change and transition can be unsettling, and it can cause individuals to question their capabilities, worth and future in their role. Asking your L&D team to adopt a VILT approach is a significant change! By you spearheading the way, demonstrating understanding, patience, and providing a structured pathway for success, your team will more likely embrace VILT in the same way you do. 

Click on the link here and access all our free resources to help you in getting started with Virtual Training.

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