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Virtual Training Best Practices For Remote Learning

With travel restrictions and social distancing in play, virtual training is the most sought-after solution today for remote learning.

If this is the first time you are moving to virtual training or you are looking for rapid conversion of your classroom training to the remote learning mode, designing and delivering high-impact virtual training for remote learners is a tall order.

eBook Release: Virtual Training Guide: How To Future-Proof Your Virtual Training Transformation
eBook Release
Virtual Training Guide: How To Future-Proof Your Virtual Training Transformation
Discover tips, best practices, and ideas you can use for your virtual training transformation.

To help you manage this transition to remote learning, I share several virtual training best practices you can adopt as you gradually transform your classroom training/ILT to:

  • Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) mode—delivered in the synchronous or asynchronous mode
  • Blended mode
  • Fully self-paced/online (eLearning/mobile learning) mode

Virtual Training Best Practices For A Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) Mode

Virtual Instructor-Led Training sessions or VILT refers to training delivered in a virtual or simulated environment where the trainer and learner are at two different locations.

In the changed workplace dynamics triggered by COVID-19, VILT is the first option to consider to handle your classroom/ILT sessions. This can be done in two modes:

  • Synchronous mode: live sessions.
  • Asynchronous mode: online access to VILT recordings and supporting collateral (prep material and handouts).

However, it is crucial to note that the ILT sessions, which held the learners’ interest and generated highly interactive and high-impact training, cannot be mapped directly to a VILT mode. For instance, the remote learners are not likely to sit through a 7-hour long VILT session—even when it is from the same trainer who was delivering the ILT session.

Instead, you need to plan as follows:

  • Schedule multiple sessions (not exceeding 30-45 minutes) offered via a learning path
  • Interject the learning journey with interactions, group exercises, peer interactions, and one-on-one interactions with the trainer to match the ILT session
  • Move some of the ILT content to online resources

Here are some virtual training best practices to make your VILT work:

  1. Ensure you have a feature-rich modern platform for your virtual classroom or VILT. An ideal one would support easy access, screen share, integration of different learning assets, polling, hand raising, breakout areas, and so on. You can also integrate highly immersive interactions like whiteboarding, design thinking, and game-based activities.
  2. Limit your session to a maximum of 45 minutes (preferably for 30 minutes) with a break planned in between. Keep some buffer to cover any unprecedented time loss during the session.
  3. Use open polls, status options, chat boxes, breakout areas, and similar features to make the session interactive and engaging.
  4. Have the session rules laid out in simple and clear sentences. This may include directions for breakout rooms, use of whiteboards, chats, and audio and video devices.
  5. Encourage all participants to dial in even if they are connected through VoIP. This will help avoid any complications that may occur due to poor internet connection. Provide the pre- and post-session resources online along with a recording of the session that learners can peruse.
  6. Use a good microphone or headset. Encourage learners to use audio options.
  7. Do not overload your slides with excess information. Use minimal text on the screen and spell out the rest yourself, so that they stay hooked.
  8. Keep animations to a minimum as they can be tricky during the online presentation.

Virtual Training Best Practices For A Blended Mode

Blended learning combines the best of two modes, that is, VILT sessions with self-paced as well as self-directed online learning. A median offering of the two modes, blended learning, is often considered the optimal mode for virtual training.

Here are some virtual training best practices to help you build an effective blended learning solution.

  1. Begin by creating the overall learning journey first. Identify which training components should be handled in the facilitated mode and which should be converted to self-paced and self-directed online training (mobile learning) mode.
  2. Remember that you cannot map the duration of the ILT components one-on-one to VILT. You need to break them down into shorter online sessions and interweave online assets in the overall virtual learning journey.
  3. Enrich the VILT sessions with similar interactions that were part of the classroom/ILT mode.
  4. Personalize the learning journey.
  5. Factor for online access of the VILT sessions and, additionally, plan for repurposing each session into a microlearning format; add intros, outros, and assessments to each. This will encourage virtual consumption and help learners clear each learning outcome at their own pace.
  6. Determine optimal assessment strategies that will help evaluate the overall learner performance as well as provide adequate participation hooks throughout the training.
  7. Provide online resources, including useful tips, references, and job aids they can refer to on the go, post the training sessions.
  8. Plan to leverage learning with others (social learning), with peers as well as with facilitators/experts. You can use techniques like forums, threaded discussions—including moderated ones—sharing and commenting, and so on.

Virtual Training Best Practices For A Fully Self-Paced/Online (eLearning/Mobile Learning) Mode

Self-paced learning today includes both eLearning and mobile learning.

Here are some virtual training best practices that will create the difference by matching the delivery to what the learners want.

  1. Go micro; chunk the content into smaller bite-sized pieces.
  2. Leverage microlearning-based learning paths and adopt immersive, high-impact strategies ranging from AR/VR, gamification, scenario-based learning, and interactive story-based learning. In particular, invest in video and interactive video-based learning.
  3. Tailor the learning journey to suit your learners’ specific needs. Keep it relevant and personalized.
  4. Make sure that the learning journey has a combination of formal learning courses as well as resources that they can use at their time of need.
  5. Plan the learning journey to have microlearning nuggets that enable learners to:
    - Learn
    - Apply
    - Practice
    - Review/refresh or move up the proficiency level
  6. Factor for Just-In-Time learning aids that they can access when they are stuck/need help solving a problem.
  7. Create learning journeys that map the learners’ interests, aspirations, and can help them as “career pathways.”
  8. Leverage curation to keep them connected, enabling continuous learning.

I hope my article gives you the required cues on how you can use the featured virtual training best practices as you shift from classroom training to remote learning and make your virtual training delivery a success. Download the eBook Virtual Training Guide: How To Future-Proof Your Virtual Training Transformation and discover all you need to know for your virtual training transformation endeavor—packed with tips, best practices, and ideas you can use! Join the webinar, too, and learn what is the ideal-long term approach for remote learner.

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