How to deliver an engaging virtual training
Hopefully, by now you know how to design engaging virtual training. And if you don’t, check out Part 1 of this blog series.
Let’s dive into what you need to deliver a kick-a$$ session.
Tip 1: Engage the learners
You shouldn’t only be in lecture mode for the duration of the whole session. People have different learning preferences and you need to make sure you cater to each. You should also make sure people actually respond to you and it’s a two-way communication channel. With bigger groups it may be a bit of a challenge to let them take turns speaking, so use other opportunities to engage them. Luckily, there are plenty of tools for engagement that the video-conferencing software offers now. From polls and quizzes to whiteboard, breakout rooms, emoticons, and “raise your hand”. See how you can incorporate those, but don’t use them just for the sake of using them. They should blend into the session naturally and not feel forced.
Tip 2: Shift the energy
The main rule to delivering engaging virtual training is to make sure you do something different every 5 minutes. This helps shift the energy, keep learners engaged, and prevents someone from losing focus (or dozing off!) What does “shift the energy” actually mean? It means changing the pace and switching to a different mode of delivery or to an activity. Here are some examples of shifting the energy in the classroom:
ask a question
play a video
have learners work in pairs or groups
change who’s speaking - give the stage to someone else
Tip 3: Break it up
Sometimes there is a lot to cover, but keeping people online and engaged over a period of 4 hours doesn’t seem feasible. In this case, consider several shorter sessions over a period of a few days. And remember, learning doesn’t only happen in the classroom (virtual or otherwise); you can offer opportunities for learning in-between sessions by giving assignments, organizing study groups, or providing further resources (reading, video, eLearning).
Tip 4: Use creativity
In a classroom setting, you would usually have participants join activities and games that virtual training simply can’t offer. But this doesn’t mean activities are off the table. It simply means you have to get more creative. Think of different ways to get learners to participate, e.g.:
Send them on a scavenger hunt on the internet, looking for pieces of information;
Have them record videos or take selfies of themselves doing a specific activity;
Let them hop on calls with colleagues or friends to interview them for a task;
Use branching scenarios, where they have to decide on a course of action as a group and come back with the solution;
Let them become the trainers by preparing a short session and delivering it to the rest
Tip 5: Relate it back to work
As with any training, to make sure the knowledge sticks and skills are practiced long after the session is done, you need to make sure it’s relatable and can be taken back to the workplace. It’s always a good idea to have learners come to a session with a current challenge they are facing and have them work towards resolving it with the newfound knowledge they’ve received during the training. Have them work on it together or individually and let them come back with the results in a month’s time. Consider also including other opportunities for further learning, like follow-up sessions for catching up and asking questions, participating in study support groups, or taking part in a company-wide mentorship program (if your organization offers one).
Tip 6: Have a backup plan!
Technology has a funny way of failing us right when we rely on it the most, so make sure you’re prepared what to do if one of the apps you’re using gets glitchy, the slides go blank or the audio starts playing tricks. It will save you some frantic calls and chats back and forth with the IT department and it will ensure an overall stress-free session.