How to create a successful Virtual Training Strategy
An increasing number of organizations, either public or private, are utilizing virtual training to develop employee skill sets and keep them up-to-date with the organization’s policies and procedures. However, in many respects, creating a successful virtual training strategy is an art, and various elements should be present in order to implement an informative and engaging experience for the employees. But what are these elements, and which techniques should be utilized when developing a virtual training strategy that offers the best return on your investment?
- Develop a detailed outline and research core content beforehand.
One of the most important aspects of a successful virtual training strategy is organization. By creating an outline you can stay on-topic and more effectively structure your overall virtual training deliverable. If you aren't knowledgeable about the topic, speak with subject matter experts and gather their opinion on what you should cover and what information you can leave out. It's essential to have a guideline that the training session should follow to ensure that all vital content is covered. Another key component of preparation is creating the learning materials in advance, and verifying that they are effectively delivering the information. Take time to develop reference lists or even a course companion guide that will allow the employees to explore the topic further after the virtual training is over.
- Consider your audience and their primary objectives.
When creating your virtual training strategy, you should always have a firm grasp on who are your employees and what they hope to achieve through their training. These primary learning objectives will help you to select key pieces of information that should be included in your eLearning course plan, and will also help you to develop a virtual learning strategy that caters to their varied learning needs. For example, if your audience must learn specific job based skill sets during the virtual training event, then you can incorporate exercises, discussion topics, and real world examples that help to develop those particular skills. Likewise, learning about their experience levels and knowledge base will allow you to design a strategy that is more effective and to the point. I highly encourage you to read the 6 Key Questions To Effectively Analyze Your eLearning Course Audiences.
- Spread the word about the virtual training event/course well in advance.
Even the most carefully designed, well organized training strategy will go in vain if the employees aren't aware that such an event/course is taking place. So, you'll want to be sure to spread the word about the virtual training course or event well in advance, to boost employees' attendance. Build a buzz by sending out a company-wide email, post information about the event on bulletin boards or in common areas, and mention it in company’s newsletters.
- Focus on user-friendly content delivery.
Your virtual training should be easy to access, even for employees who aren't tech savvy. Navigation should be simple and straightforward, and every employee should know exactly how to log on to the system in order to attend the live event or webinar. You may even want to consider offering it on more than one platform, such as recording the event and uploading it to the company's LMS or website for future reference or for those who missed the live event.
- Ask engaging and thought-provoking questions to drive the discussion.
A live event is most successful when the instructor or facilitator has taken the time to create thought-provoking discussion topics and questions. Remember that you, as the eLearning professional, are there to guide the discussion and help to keep it on track. This means that you should be delivering the key pieces of information, and then asking engaging questions that make the employee think and interact. Propose a question or problem and ask the employees to type out their responses. Then, discuss each response, or ask them to pose questions or concerns of their own that can be discussed during the event. This makes them feel as though they are active participants, rather than just attendees at a lecture.
- Draw attention to important content and offer periodic recaps.
You can highlight important content by including it in an on-screen presentation that accompanies the live event. This will help employees to better acquire the information, absorb it, and recall it when needed. Also, you may want to consider offering periodic recaps throughout the virtual training course. For example, after you have covered a particular topic at length, quickly go through the key points that you discussed, so that the employees can understand what they should bring away from the training session. In addition, always be sure to explain how learning the skills or the information will be of benefit to the employees, so that they are more motivated to participate in the training process.
- Encourage group collaboration via social media platforms.
Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites can be invaluable tools for your virtual training strategy. Prompt employees to ask questions before the event by creating a post, or have them Tweet live during the event and read their questions aloud while you are delivering the training. This also encourages them to interact with one another through these social media platforms, which enhances group collaboration.
- Remember: Keep it short and simple to avoid information overload.
It's a proven fact that too much information at once can lead to cognitive overload. As such, you should try to keep sessions as short as possible. Also, you should only include the information that is absolutely necessary. That's not to say that you shouldn't include humorous examples that help the employees to relate to the content or interesting stories that illustrate your point. However, keep it on-topic and avoid verbose explanations, as this can result in boredom and employee disengagement.
By following the aforementioned steps your virtual training deliverables will be effective, engaging, and informative. Looking for additional tips that can help you to avoid boring virtual training sessions? The How To Avoid Sucky Virtual Classrooms article features 5 techniques that you can utilize to develop successful virtual classroom strategies.
Last but not least, you may also find valuable the following two articles:
- 8 Tips To Create an Effective Synchronous eLearning Strategy
In this article, I'll offer you a step-by-step look at how to create a synchronous learning strategy that is informative, engaging, and interactive. Regardless of whether you are developing a private or corporate eLearning plan and whether you are planning an event, lesson, or course there are certain synchronous learning tips you will need to follow.
- 7 Tips To Create an Effective Blended eLearning Strategy
In this article I'll go over on how to create an eLearning strategy that successfully integrates both synchronous and asynchronous eLearning design strategies, so that you can offer your learners a diverse and effective eLearning experience.