6 Tips on Creating an Engaging Virtual Training Session
As remote working becomes the norm, organizations are increasingly moving to hybrid, virtual or self-pace training. It is also becoming increasingly clear that virtual training sessions are here to stay. This may not be a necessary evil as they have several advantages, making them a popular choice in the future, including:
- Flexibility in program design
- Reduced travel costs by training your employees, partners, and customers from any geographical location
- Increase in efficiency with the ability to launch training quickly
Building an effective virtual training strategy for your employees or learners can be a meticulous and grueling process. The challenges lie in the various elements it must contain, such as being informative but interactive and engaging for learners while serving to provide an excellent return on investment (ROI) for your organization. Here are some tips and hacks to ensure you provide a good, engaging, and informative virtual training session.
- What is Virtual Training?
- How to Create an Engaging Virtual Training Session – Tips and Tricks
- Final Thoughts
What is Virtual Training?
Virtual training leverages technology and tools that allow instructors and learners or participants to interact without being in the same room or location. Virtual training takes the core elements of face-to-face, classroom training and replicates that experience online, in real-time.
Did you know that virtual training sessions can involve synchronous as well as asynchronous learning? Additionally, keep in mind that a virtual training session can include simulations or various forms of self-directed learning.
With continuous improvement in virtual training techniques and tools, such as virtual labs, cameras, and increased usability, companies can offer more training sessions or virtual workshops in live virtual classrooms.
How to Create an Engaging Virtual Training Session – Tips and Tricks
1. Setting Clear Goals and Expectations
Setting and jotting down training goals, and objectives are some of the most significant yet most overlooked phases in the training and development cycle. The use of interactions and activities should help the participants or learners reach a goal you set at the start of the planning process.
Start your virtual training session by asking all participants to shut down all other programs and activities and put away all their devices. Begin every virtual training session with some guidance and you can also provide an overview of the presentation. Let your learners know beforehand if there will be any quizzes or questions during the online presentation so that they can be fully prepared and focused.
Technical difficulties and issues are almost impossible to eliminate. Still, note that careful planning and preparation can go a long way in lowering the risks of such problems during the training session.
2. Break Down Your Learning Sessions
Provide plenty of breaks and let the participant know upfront how you have structured the day. Did you know that 90 minute virtual learning periods followed by 15-20 minute breaks work well for many audiences? Learners are less likely to feel distracted and bored if they know they will have 15-20 minutes to themselves at the end of each training session. And, it is best to resume your virtual training session after a break with some activity, such as a poll or quiz.
Ensure that you stick to the session timings you have promised! Sitting for several hours at home and attending long training sessions can be a stressful and exhausting learning experience in any virtual environment.
Loss of attention or interest makes for loss in effective information transmission. Communicating and learning can be more difficult than you think, especially since there are several factors that can hinder prompt and effective communication, such as emotional disconnects, information overload and lack of familiarity.
3. Leverage Technology
Probably the most crucial thing to consider when adopting virtual training sessions for your company is researching and commissioning a robust and reliable platform to run your online training sessions.
When switching to virtual training sessions, you have to utilize reliable, secure, and robust technology that is also simple to use. You can use virtual labs to simulate real-world scenarios and video conferencing tools to streamline and optimize the experience. Virtual labs are very handy for software/product training and onboarding sessions. It is a great platform for learners to practice in a safe online environment.
4. Encourage Active Participation
Encouraging active participation is important for all virtual training. Here are some suggestions on how you can capture and keep the learners’ attention through active participation:
- Encouraging interaction and participation when the training session starts. For example, by introducing the learners to each other, pairing the learners together, and sharing information through a chat function, you can easily encourage inclusivity and contribution from the outset.
- Introduce breakout sessions and other group activities to help attendees get to know each other. They will feel involved and share experiences and insights to deepen and improve the learning outcomes.
- Improve the effectiveness and engagement level of your online training sessions with virtual labs and assessments. With labs, you can simulate real-world scenarios in your course, and your learners can interact with them directly. With assessments, you will have insights into how your learners are performing.
5. Provide Feedback and Insights to Your Learners
Given the dynamics of virtual training, learners usually feel distant and isolated during the training course. One of the best and simplest ways to keep your attendees from feeling this way is to provide personalized feedback. And with data collection tools, you can personalize your feedback for each learner. A study showed that learners who receive personalized feedback tend to have considerably higher levels of course satisfaction than attendees who receive collective feedback. Providing feedback and insights helps your learners improve.
Modern learners are smart, savvy, and well-informed since they harvest new information constantly. You can use real-world examples as well as case studies to heighten their engagement. The use of tools like surveys and polls, creating assessments and asking simple questions during training sessions help improve your training effectiveness.
6. Engage with Your Learners Before, During, and After the Session
An excellent way to develop interest around the training is to contact participants in the weeks leading up to the training session. You can also create interest in the training session by posting information through various means, such as emails, bulletin boards, company newsletters, and videos.
Encourage learners to actively participate and engage in conversation during the session. It is important to provide participants with opportunities to exchange ideas, ask questions and check their understanding. To facilitate virtual sessions and make them more engaging, you can use tools and features, such as virtual labs and virtual breakout rooms where participants can see each other and interact with one another.
Keep in mind that people will likely forget a lot of the information and ideas you teach them in a live session. That is why it is important to have notes your learners can review later to reflect on the lesson outcomes and ensure they stay on track. You can also provide your learners with a way to stay connected with you after the session, either in a dedicated forum on your learning platform or in the communication tools they use.
As facilitators, trainers, and Learning & Development (L&D) professionals, we all have been given an excellent opportunity to improve our virtual training skills, and Alemira understands that. Alemira Learning Management Solutions encourages active learning, intelligently adapts to your learning journey, and enables collaboration with your instructors and peers. Our extensive portfolio of products includes Learning Management System (LMS) that allows you to create, manage and deliver courses efficiently, track progress and performance, collaborate effectively with your team, and our labs empower you to create virtual software training with real-life scenarios.
Virtual training requires strong facilitation as well as careful attention to detail. With this focus and attention, you can create an engaging and interactive learning environment that effectively enhances employee skills, productivity, and job performance. By following these effective and simple tips, you can easily create an experience that will be informative, persuasive, and engaging.