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Virtual training enables companies to save on a lot of travel expenses and other resources while accomplishing important training work.  With effective technology tools such as WeBex and LiveMeeting for example, the use of virtual training is being used more and more by many large companies since it’s easier to train multiple employees virtually anywhere at any time as long as they have a computer, up to date software, and fast internet access. This article will give you some practical tips on how to effectively facilitate a virtual training class so you can maximize your results.  Just like training in a regular classroom setting, preparation is key to any successful training outcome.

Virtual training to do list:

  • Send the virtual training invitation email to participants in advance containing the virtual link and call in phone number (if applicable). If possible, send a meeting invite linked to a calendar (ie: through Outlook) to enable the participants to save the date and time on their e-calendar.  This reminder will automatically open at the scheduled time reminding the participants of the training.  If there are participants that have not done virtual training before, suggest on the invite that they log on 10 – 15 minutes prior to the training to ensure they know how to log on to the conference line and training link as well as resolve any technical difficulties they may encounter.  This will avoid wasting the other participants time in the beginning of the training.  Recommend in the invite that they attend the training in a quiet place without distractions (ie: not driving or in a room where there are kids)
  • Send a training reminder email to participants the day before the training takes place.
  • Have a copy of the attendee roster. The roster will be used to take attendance during the training.
  • Send all soft copy materials that learners need in advance.
  • If applicable, send learners any pre-work they need to complete prior to the virtual training.

Day of the training

  • Train in an area free of noise and distractions.
  • Ensure that the documents that you want to share (ie: PowerPoint Presentation, PDF files, Word documents, etc) are either already open or set up in the order and sequence that you need them, preferably in an easy to access folder to avoid looking all over the place for files that you need. This will make the training go a lot smoother.
  • Get on the call earlier than the scheduled training time to ensure you log in successfully and resolve any technical issues. You may also need to assist first time participants to virtual training.
  • Call out the names from the roster to ensure everyone is in attendance. Make a note of no shows to address after the training.
  • Before starting the training, verbally set the rules and the expectations which should include the following:
    • Participants attend the training in an area free of noise and distractions.
    • All participant phones be put on mute to avoid background noise unless they need to speak or ask a question.
    • Participants stay engaged at all times.
    • Let the learners know that you will be randomly asking questions to different people throughout the training to ensure engagement and understanding.  This will keep the learners on their toes.  Use open ended questions to clarify understanding.
    • That there is a virtual parking lot for questions that you, the trainer, cannot answer.  It is important that you get the answers to these questions as soon as possible after the training so you can relay the answers back to the learners in a timely manner.
  • Speak loudly and clearly, not in a monotone voice.  Remember that the only way the learners learn during the training is by listening to you, they don’t have the benefit of watching you, your mouth moving, or your gestures.
  • It is often challenging for the learners to constantly follow where are on the page you are showing on their screens.  Ensure that you verbally tell the learners where you are (ie: “please look at the top section of the left tab”).  This is especially important if you are doing software training.
  • Whenever you go over key points, remind learners the value of what they are learning.
  • Keep it fun!  A fun learning environment keeps the training upbeat and more engaging.

During training, it is crucial to apply adult learning principles to keep your learners engaged.  Some trainers tend to just do a presentation and forget to ask questions.  Unless you engage the audience, you will easily lose them in a virtual training environment.  Pick people randomly from the roster list and ask open ended questions and questions on how they can apply the material being taught.  Ask for examples on how the material will help them in their work.  Talk about examples on how it can help them and the overall value of what is being learned.  If done properly, virtual training can be just as effective as in class training.

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Agile Corporate Training LLC is a consulting firm focusing on organizational training and development, helping equip your organization with the tools to create meaningful change. We specialize in productivity and performance development, providing effective, measurable, agile training solutions to quickly put your business staff on course.  Our main focus is in your business success.

Contact us for more information on this topic and how we can help your organization. We also offer complimentary consultation for your training and development needs.  Give us a call to discuss your needs.  We’re here to help.