As the world continues to evolve, so too does the world of training. In recent months alone, there has been a major shift into the virtual world. So how can your team deliver effective virtual training using the skills that as Learning & Development professionals, they have already acquired as accomplished face-to-face, co-located trainers?
5 Best Practice Methods to Deliver Effective Virtual Training
The virtual environment is different to the physical one, so virtual delivery needs to reflect this difference. Simply taking slides designed for face-to-face workshops and delivering them virtually will not work without making some integral changes.
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Here are 5 key best practices for virtual training that will help your colleagues to be better virtual trainers, giving better engagement from participants and enhanced learning transfer.
1. Get Tech Smart
It is important to be familiar with whichever platform has been chosen for the delivery, be that Zoom, MS Teams, Citrix WebEx Training Centre, etc. Trainers must invest the time to explore the full functionality of the platform and discover its limitations and practice seamlessly using all aspects.
Your trainers need to be able to navigate the platform confidence throughout their virtual workshop, so that they are equipped to deal with any complications that may arise and give their participants a clear feeling of competence.
The tech should enhance the quality of the virtual training being delivered, not detract from it.
For extra help with some of the popular virtual training platforms, check out our YouTube channel for some useful platform tutorials.
2. Use Your Camera
Using your camera to deliver training is a viable asset. It enhances the feeling of co-location, makes it easier to form connections and read facial expressions and body language within a session. Encouraging your participants to also have their camera on can really enhance connection within groups and can make communications easier too.
Things for presenting trainers to be aware of are:-
- Background – what does it say? Is it professional enough?
- Lighting – is there enough light to keep the trainer clearly visible to their participants?
- Noise – is the location appropriate? Is there a lot of background noise to contend with?
- Disruptions – pets and children can cause distractions during a session; sometimes this is more appropriate than others. Consider creating a distraction free workspace.
It is also good practice to look into the camera when speaking. This creates a great ‘eye contact’ connection between trainer and participants, fostering a strong positive experience and high engagement.
3. Keep to Time
Time feels different in the virtual environment. In order to deliver effective virtual training, trainers must anticipate tasks taking longer online. This calls for a more ruthless approach to editing included content, which means keeping that which is critical to the learning objectives and knowing where the trainer can flex. This allows rich, natural conversations to take place without needing to rush content later.
Setting the right pace from the start is key, so that the workshop keeps moving without the participants feeling rushed or hurried. Breakout groups take longer in a virtual setting, so factoring in this additional time is key.
Keeping to time is key as the virtual world has enabled much busier diaries. Often participants will be going to another meeting or task, so staying to time is greatly important, in order to ensure a positive learning experience.
4. Create Conversation
In the virtual environment, an important tip for delivering effective virtual training is to create conversation with participants. Many trainers dread the tumbleweed moment, the long silence after a question, so rather than pose a question and wait, trainers will have a better response rate if they direct participants how to respond.
This can be through chat, the functionality of the platform, i.e. on the whiteboard, or by sharing an emoji. Once this has been completed, trainers can then ask participants to expand on the responses verbally.
Preparing questions in advance, keeping them short and to the point and included in the slide deck will help trainers to create conversation and engagement more easily.
5. Be Personable
Trainers new to virtual training have much to think about; the tech, their slides, their timekeeping, the chat box etc. But the real glue that holds it all together is them; their personality and individuality, and some trainers can forget to be themselves in their workshops.
Encouraging them to relax and bring their full selves to their workshops can enhance the experience for the participants, allow for easier conversations and increase trust within groups.
It is key to remember that if the trainer is enjoying themselves, the participants are likely to also.
Delivering effective virtual training takes an additional set of skills to ensure trainers create an engaging and useful learning experience for their participants and successful learning transfer. So it is important to invest the time and effort in ensuring those skills are honed, allowing for full preparation and time to practice in order for a positive experience.
If you find yourself needing some help on how to get started in giving your trainers those skills or confidence, we can help.