Converting from In-person to Virtual Training? Here are a few considerations.

Several weeks ago I asked how comfortable people were with virtual training delivery. The vote tally broke fairly evenly with about 51% saying they weren’t very comfortable with virtual training delivery and 49% saying they were indeed comfortable.

This week, we at Endurance Learning began offering a short virtual session on some key concepts to keep in mind as you deliver virtual training. If you’d like to sign up for one of these sessions, there is space remaining in our final four offerings (click here for more information).

To help those of you who are working hard to put together virtual programs, we’ve come up with a document that may help you figure out which feature of your web conferencing platform will best help you design an activity to engage your learners.

Identify what features your platform offers

Before you can begin to design activities into your virtual session, you need to know what’s possible. Based on some research we conducted with free trials of some of the most popular web conferencing platforms on the market, we developed this matrix that offers a glimpse on which platforms offer which features:

Connect your learning objectives with your activities

One of the biggest similarities between in-person and virtual training is that regardless of media, you need well-crafted learning objectives. Once you have your learning objectives, then you can begin to think of the activities that help your learners to show you that they “get it”. Below is a list we came up with to begin helping you match up virtual activities with features available on various virtual training platforms. If you’d like to download the chart of engagement strategies, you can add your own objectives and activities in the blank spaces toward the bottom of the sheet and think through which virtual training platform features could help you accomplish those activities and objectives.

If you would like access to a library of more than 50 virtual training activities, I can’t recommend Interact and Engage by Kassy LaBorie and Tom Stone enough.

Be sure to practice

Virtual training platforms have some pretty cool features – polling, breakout rooms, on-screen drawing tools – when they actually work. Before you decide to launch a session in front of real learners, be sure to pull some of your colleagues together to help you test out the technology.

Are features such as on-screen drawing enabled for all participants? Do you know how to set up a poll in advance? Are you sure that your learners can see your poll? It’s helpful to test these features and grow comfortable (and confident) in their use well before you get in front of your learners.

If you’ve been working on virtual training recently, what are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned? If you haven’t yet dipped your toes into the waters of virtual training design yet, what questions or anxieties do you have?

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2 thoughts on “Converting from In-person to Virtual Training? Here are a few considerations.

  1. My manager and I co-facilitated a 30-min virtual class for about 25 managers last week as part of our organization’s monthly manager meeting. My manager had used the breakout room capability within Zoom during last month’s meeting, and it went smoothly. This month, not so much. My manager had to rely on our Admin Coordinator who was running the meeting off of her Zoom account to help us with the breakout rooms. We learned the hard way the challenges of having a “producer” who is not familiar with the web conferencing platform, and had not used the breakout room function before. Needless to say, that portion of our class could have gone much more smoothly. We learned that next time, we will make sure we are the ones running the meeting, and that we have done appropriate testing of the web conferencing platforms functions!

    I seem to keep missing out on your webinars for matching learning objectives to the virtual meeting space. Will there be any offerings in May?

    • There are few things more frustrating in the world of virtual training than to have a feature act up on you during a live session… EVEN THOUGH IT WORKED JUST FINE THE LAST TIME YOU TRIED IT! And yes, the importance of the producer role cannot be overstated. Just like a facilitator needs to be versed and rehearsed in how to lead a session, an effective producer needs to be familiar with the platform and the features.

      We’re wrapping up our webinar series on objectives/activities for the virtual space today, but stay tuned for an upcoming post in which we’ll share a matrix that maps out a wide variety of learning objectives to virtual platform features you can use in order to align activities with objectives!

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