How To Design Interactive Virtual Classroom Training
Developing virtual classroom training doesn't have to a chore. In fact, once you know each of the steps involved in the process, you can create deliverables that effectively improve employee skills and job performance, regardless of the subject matter. Even dreaded compliance training can become an engaging and exciting experience for your audience.
- Determine your goals and objectives.
The first thing you'll definitely want to do before diving into the actual design process of your virtual classroom training is to define your performance goals and learning objectives. This will help guide you through the design and development of your virtual classroom training strategy, as you will be able to select the learning materials, tools, and methods that will serve these goals and objectives. For example, if you are trying to enhance the customer service skills of the employees, then you may want to opt for scenarios and simulations over virtual slide shows, as these learning activities can help employees to get invaluable hands on experience without the risk. In addition to the goals and objectives, you may also want to determine the skills, core ideologies, and important knowledge that will be the centerpieces of your virtual classroom training. To do this, you may want to speak with a subject matter expert or the department heads, so that they can let you know about the key takeaways that you'll need to include in your virtual classroom training strategy.
- Choose the ideal method of delivery.
In order to gather the tools you will need to produce your virtual classroom training, you must first decide how you will be delivering your content. Consider how the employees will be accessing the virtual training classroom. Will they need to be able to learn on-the-go or during work hours via their mobile devices, as is the case with moment of need learning experiences? Will the content be delivered to them in a physical classroom environment as part of a traditional blended learning strategy? Also, you will want to choose the proper multimedia that supports the instructional design models and theories that you have in mind. This will enable you to select the most ideal learning activities that you will need to integrate into your virtual training classroom.
- Pair visuals with explanations that prompt employee discussion.
Pairing visuals with detailed explanations that are thought provoking is always a good idea, especially if you want to boost employee engagement. This is due to the fact that it can spark discussion, as employees will be encouraged to interact with the subject matter and their colleagues, remotely or otherwise. To trigger employee discussion, you may want to integrate some form of online collaboration, such as Google Chat.
- Create interactive learning activities that encourage active participation.
Active employee participation is key to a successful virtual classroom training experience. The most effective way to achieve this is to create learning activities that engage employees and prompt them to think about how the subject matter relates to their own lives, either personally or professionally. So, consider creating activities that immerse them, such as scenarios, games, or rich eLearning presentations. It's often best to keep your virtual classroom training under an hour long, and to encourage interaction, in any form, every five minutes, or so. This will prevent boredom and trigger employee engagement throughout the duration of the virtual training. You can also break the class up into small groups. This can be done virtually by asking them to use Google apps such as Google Hangouts or project management platforms, and complete group collaboration assignments.
- Develop a guide for facilitators and instructors.
If you are going to involve facilitators or instructors, you may want to create a guide that they can use to moderate the virtual classroom training experience. Be as detailed as possible, so that they have a step-by-step manual for how to conduct each virtual training session, their role, and what the employees should ultimately get out of the overall training experience. If you create an effective and thorough guide, they can conduct virtual training sessions without the aid of the eLearning professional. Be sure to include expectations for the facilitators such as the schedule they will need to follow, featuring their preparation and class hours, as well as an outline of the training activities, curriculum, and the goals of each virtual training session.
- Give it a test run.
Even if you think that you've perfected and polished every aspect of your virtual training classroom, you should always give it at least one test run in a realistic environment to make sure that everything will run smoothly after launch. Conduct a focus group or have the facilitator conduct a “mock” session, where you can iron out any issues and ensure that there aren't any glitches that can hinder the overall success of the virtual training classroom. Make sure that everyone is able to log-in to the platform, and that all of the content is accurately displayed, so that there aren't any surprises when you hold the first training session.
These virtual training classroom tips can offer you the chance to develop deliverables that provide your audience with the best possible virtual training experience, so that they can hone their skills, expand their professional knowledge base, and boost on-the-job performance.
Looking for tips on how to create a successful virtual training strategy? The article 8 Steps To Create A Successful Virtual Training Strategy features 8 simple tips that will allow you to achieve your organization's training goals without devoting resources to on-site instructors or printed learning materials.