Instructor-Led Training, which uses instructors and trained facilitators to develop employee skills, has been one of the most physical training modalities. Nevertheless, the latest global tendency is for organizations to start gravitating toward digital platforms to train their employees. Before we dive into the tips, let’s see why you should consider switching to Virtual Classrooms in the first place.
Benefits of Virtual Classrooms
There are many benefits to conducting vILTs online. For instance, Virtual Classrooms save significantly on travel costs. Also, Virtual Classrooms make training available globally at the same time. Moreover, it allows people to connect throughout the globe by enabling small groups of learners to benefit from others’ knowledge.
In addition, learners can take advantage of digital tools and technology while still being guided by a trained instructor. Last, but not least, you can record vILTs for future use, saving more time, money, and planning efforts.
Despite what is usually thought, most classes are fit for virtual environments. For example, if you are teaching a class about the process and skills to mount and install tires on vehicles, it’s helpful to have the equipment handy for practice and demonstration. To enable learners to practice, you’d need to send resources and implement safety precautions, but it is still doable.
That said, here are a few key tips to help you transition to a Virtual Classroom.
Tip #1 – Know When to Add and Remove Content
ILTs and vILTs are both great training techniques that use a trained instructor to facilitate the course, and they both aim to accomplish the same goal: developing employee skills. The major difference is, of course, where the instructor facilitates the training.
As stated before, many ILT activities easily convert to vILT with the digital tools available. For example, online breakout sessions replace group discussions. Moreover, with digital tools available, there are many ways to create activities that are only possible on a digital platform. When planning your own vILT based on an existing ILT, you can break it down into segments. Then, consider whether each segment can be converted to vILT with the tools available, or if there is a more engaging way to conduct the segment online, taking advantage of digital tools.
Tip #2 – Divide and Conquer
ILTs don’t have many time restrictions. Some may even go the full day or multiple days! vILTs are a little different. Most don’t exceed 90 minutes of seat time. Without the person-to-person activities and physically moving around, 90 minutes is a good window to keep your learners interested and engaged the whole time.
The idea of breaking down content into smaller chunks is not new – the most obvious example is micro-training. On a much larger scale, breaking down ILT training into smaller bits (not full-day adventures) will keep your learners active and informed without taking too much out of their day or attention span.
In addition to that, you can make the most of technology to create a blended learning experience with synchronous and unsynchronous content. That means you can have time with the trainer (synchronically) and allow learners to go through part of the material on their own time.
Tip #3 – Get Creative to Engage Interest
Wherever your learners may be participating in a Virtual Classroom, they likely have more distractions than in a physical classroom, including their phones and emails. vILTs are a great excuse to get creative and use explosive graphics and different learning modalities to switch things up and keep learners engaged.
Using multimedia like videos and infographics is an effective way to present information while activities and group breakouts give learners a chance to engage with the content in their own way.
Tip #4 – Keep it Personable
ILT is obviously beneficial for face-to-face interactions, which leads to more personal discussions. It can be more challenging to get to know learners through a webcam and mic, but there are ways to incorporate discussion into the vILT to learn more about the people you’re training.
You can use warmups and icebreakers in combination with the available digital tools, so learners get comfortable with the environment and each other! For example, you can use the whiteboard and ask everyone to draw the state or the flag of the country they’re from. By knowing the people, the Virtual Classroom will feel that much more personal, like what you’d expect from face-to-face interactions.
Give your learners a place to grow and learn together. Virtual Classrooms give you instructor-facilitated classes with options and tools to get creative with your training approach. If you need ideas, request a demo and we’ll show you what we do!