5 Best Practices for Virtual Instructor-led Training (2021 edition)
You know you’ve lived through 2020 when you catch yourself using Zoom as a noun. Who knew Zoom fatigue was a real thing?Video conferencing software kept us together in the past year, but it’s also reshaping our future. Online meetings aren’t going away. For training companies, it’s the perfect time to launch or expand your virtual instructor-led training (vILT) strategy.
If you have a learning management system (LMS) with a Zoom integration, then it’ll be a snap to get started. All you have to do is implement these 5 best practices for virtual instructor-led training.
1) Win the Battle Against Distraction
Unlike in-person workshops, vILT participants don't feel any social pressure to pay attention. In fact, you’re fighting against their daily web browsing habits. The average user only spends 15 seconds on a webpage. Your participants might be switching tabs or checking their email during your virtual session.
Prepare a pre-activity for immediate engagement, suggests training expert Cindy Huggett. Your activity will engage learners as soon as they log-on. They won’t be browsing the web because you’ll be keeping them busy. You could give them a fun quiz, a reflection question, or a game. The key is to nip distraction in the bud.
🔎Learn more about engaging learners in our e-book, Dreaming of Recurring Revenue? Engage Learners Continuously.
2) Keep Learners Engaged with Interactivity
That’s how often virtual trainers should interact with their learners, according to Huggett.
Fortunately, you have technology on your side. With BenchPrep’s Zoom integration, you can poll your participants, share whiteboards, and even role play. Plus, you’re managing everything from within the platform.
Just because you’re training virtually doesn’t mean you need to give up small group discussions. Zoom allows you to create breakout rooms. You can even save and share each group’s work on virtual whiteboards.
3) Focus on Value, Not Length
If you’re in the midst of a digital training transformation, then you’ve already shifted from counting course hours to focusing on learner value. One minute of classroom training does not equate to one minute in the virtual classroom.
In fact, the average length for virtual instructor-led training is only 60 minutes.
Even though it’s less time, you can actually deliver more value. A full-day training may turn into 3 one-hour sessions over a week. This flexibility adds value because learners retain more information with spaced repetition. Plus, when you integrate the vILT into your LMS, you have access to your LMS’s data analytics. The data reports will show your clients how your training delivers results.
🔎 If you want to improve the value of your training program, check out our e-book, The 3 Pillars of an Effective Learning Program.
4) Resist the Temptation to Add More Seats
Just because you can do something with technology doesn’t mean you should. Adding a large number of participants to your virtual instructor-led training fits in this category. Why pay for a virtual instructor if you get the same experience in a free webinar?
Facilitators, virtual or in-person, need smaller numbers to deliver value. Participants love in-person training because it promises collaboration and networking. You’ll lose this value with too many participants.
Luckily, the trend in instructor-led training engages 25 or fewer participants per course. In fact, 77% of organizations use vILT for 25 or fewer participants, according to the State of the Virtual Training 2020 survey.
5) Maximize Your Course Value — Hire a Producer
Tech challenges topped the list for issues with virtual instructor-led training. By choosing an LMS with a Zoom integration, you’ll luckily avoid most technical issues.
Hiring a producer (or designating a producer from within your training company) also helps keep the training on track. They liaise with any late participants to get them up to speed. They manage the chat. They set up the breakout rooms. And, most importantly, a producer takes the stress off your virtual facilitator.
The best virtual facilitators use their personality to keep participants engaged. But they can’t keep up a steady flow of conversation, respond to the chat, and manage technical issues all at once. You’re hamstringing your best asset by asking them to do it all. With a producer, your virtual facilitator will do what they do best — engage participants.
What’s holding you back?
There’s never been a better time to offer virtual training.
A video conferencing integration in your LMS system allows you to take advantage of the full functionality of your LMS while harnessing the power of a virtual classroom. You’ll still be able to track the training, manage your learners, and pull learner performance data.
If you’re wondering how else an LMS can improve your online training program, then download our buyers’ guide, “The CLO’s Handbook for Choosing Learning Technology to Grow Your Business.”