Virtual Instructor-Led Training: Best Practices to Elevate Virtual Learning Delivery

Virtual instructor-led training (VILT) became the go-to format as many organizations were faced with making decisions on how to move forward with their learning and development strategies. Learning teams had to quickly prioritize which programs were crucial to the organization and then had to scramble to create a strategy for how to proceed in a virtual and digital world.

As a result, many organizations quickly adapted their in-person sessions to VILT and other virtual formats, with little time to spend on redesign and redevelopment.

Now that organizations are returning to the office, to some degree, and are developing hybrid models, learning and development teams are making decisions on what will return to in-person formats and what the organizations will continue to leverage with virtual platforms.

These trends have emerged in virtual training:

  • From surviving to thriving
  • New demands and catching up
  • Lessons learned and best practices
  • Virtual and digital learning is here to stay

“Good enough” worked for quick needs, but it’s no longer good enough. Employees and leaders alike now expect learning programs to go from good to great.

Here are some best practices to help elevate your virtual training and delivery.

The Three Roles Your Organization Needs for Virtual Delivery

Seamless delivery, intuitive tools, and collaboration are core needs in VILT and other forms of virtual training delivery to improve effectiveness, engagement, and retention. There are three roles that make this happen.

The infrastructure roles you need:

  1. Virtual facilitator and/or coach: The role of a virtual facilitator or coach is to foster discussions, provide feedback, and encourage insight and reflection. These roles have an expert understanding of the content and are instrumental in creating a virtual community where participants are connected to the facilitator and to other participants.
  2. Virtual producer: The virtual producer is responsible, from a technical standpoint, for the overall success of virtual events. This role is a vital resource, providing assistance before, during, and after your training. Producers can help transform the training into trouble-free, fast-moving, interactive events that keep the learners involved and the facilitator on track.
  3. Platform moderator: This role has a visible presence providing a human element to a digital experience. The main purpose of the role is to foster learner engagement through online and offline communication. Platform moderators are the primary point of contact for the learners, supporting and encouraging participation throughout the digital experience.

Watch the on-demand webinar for more.

“Good Enough” Is No Longer Good Enough

Elevating virtual training is about putting the learner at the center, having the right team, and aligning on roles and responsibilities.

It is important to have a learning technology strategy to ensure virtual training is delivered seamlessly.

  • Selecting the right platform. Even the smallest hiccups can affect the learner’s experience. The right platform should be easy to use and include interactive capabilities, administrative reporting and analytics, and support from the right team.
  • Using the right tools. Annotation, interactive tools, and calling on participants keeps engagement alive by reducing multitasking and helps with technology fatigue. Available tools such as breakouts, polls, whiteboards, pulse checks, and webcams can promote engagement, seed discussion threads, and help participants effectively use the chat.
  • Accessible, easy to use, and convenient. Virtual training helps with accessibility but it is also critical to ensure your virtual or remote employees have the tools and technologies to access, work, and learn effectively, depending on their individual needs.

Our learners are also split between in-person and virtual worlds. Facilitators are now working both virtually and in the classroom. It’s critical, in these situations, to use webcams, microphones and speakers, and chat functions and to pose questions to the learners. The hybrid workforce also demands a hybrid approach to facilitation.

Build Energy and Connection

To deliver learning effectively, be more energetic than you would in-person and:

  • Use participants’ names.
  • Use virtual body language.
  • Ask standard questions, but also try new ways of questioning.
  • Collaborate rather than lecture.
  • Harness the power of peer pressure and peer support.

Watch the on-demand webinar for more.

Using MS Teams Effectively: Best Practices for Modern Communication Tools

There are more and more collaboration and communication tools on the market these days. And with that comes more and more features and capabilities. One of the most common tools is Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams comes with many functionalities such as sharing documents and files, real time management and editing, and sharing ideas through chat functions. While bringing these collaboration functions together offers many benefits, the challenges include having too many teams, too many notifications, and version control. Putting a process in place ahead of using these functions will reduce those challenges.

It helps to personalize your notifications by updating your notifications, permissions, and hidden teams. You can access these functions with the ellipsis next to your profile picture and these options will help manage and organize notifications and groups.

When delivering virtual training, it helps to practice polls, breakouts, whiteboards, emoticons, and sharing your screen or content effectively.

Watch the on-demand webinar for more specifics on how to use Microsoft Teams.

By implementing these best practices, learning and development teams can significantly improve virtual training delivery.

About the Authors

Fran Colavita

Fran Colavita is a senior manager at GP Strategies, leading the instructor resource management teams and global associates network, which includes facilitators and producers.

Megan Bridgett

Megan Bridgett, a leader in training and talent development for over a decade, helps organizations implement, optimize, and increase capabilities in their learning management initiatives.