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How are you leveraging virtual training within your organization? What steps are you taking to set up learners for success? What follows are some of our favorite topics to success for Virtual Training.

1. Engage Your Audience Prior to Training

The reality is, that in any virtual connection, engagement is difficult. Participants may tend to multitask and not pay attention. One way to promote better engagement during the session is to develop an awareness campaign prior to the session. Utilize project sponsors (executives within the organization who have significant influence) to heighten people’s awareness of why the training is important, and their desire to lean in. People will learn, retain, and ultimately use information and skills to a greater extent when they want to learn it – that is when they are personally invested in the benefits. Many people will push back from required training because it takes them out of their normal routine and requires time, which is already in limited supply. However, if they see this time as valuable – perhaps how it will fix problems they already have or make them more productive – they will likely be more apt to participate. If done correctly, virtual training can provide better flexibility than traditional in-classroom style training, which could increase their willingness to participate.

2. Include Users in the Planning

Consider this human-behavior-related truism – “people support what they help create.” If I help create something, I will be more invested in it. As a result, my support of it will increase. Gain feedback from users on what their current pain points are. Investigate helpdesk tickets to discover common issues. Poll or survey users on what they wish they could do with greater ease. Enlist power users to take specific portions of the training to share their insights and expertise. Finally, form training around function, not features and employ a “just in time” rather than a “just in case” guide for training.

3. Use These Key Elements for Best-in-Class Virtual Training

  • Deliver with a Moderator – They can keep track of chats, troubleshoot technical issues and even step in to ensure the training carries on, should the presenter have any unexpected issues – technical or otherwise.
  • Conduct Full Rehearsals – Make sure all the elements you have planned, including interactions, work as expected. This is also a good opportunity to test equipment such as lighting, audio, and video.
  • Create a Warm Environment – Think about what you normally do to connect on a personal level with participants and double that effort when virtual. For some remote users, virtual training may provide their only chance at human interaction in this otherwise isolated environment.
  • Plan Frequent and Purposeful Interactions – Get people involved in the training as often as possible through interactions such as chats, polls, or individual and group activities. Utilize your interactions to measure the likelihood of behavior change after the training.
  • Follow Technology Best Practices – Use a headset for audio, frame your camera properly, look into the camera, eliminate background noise and use ethernet, as opposed to Wi-Fi.
  • Reinforce Learning Through Follow Up – Schedule time to follow up with participants before training even begins. Plan interactions that ask participants to indicate where they need additional assistance after the session. Then, follow through.
  • Try Not to Mix Virtual and Live Participants – Mixed participants may complicate matters as each group will have specific needs and challenges. If all participants are connecting in the same way, virtual training becomes much simpler.
  • Practice the 15-Second Rule – You might not like awkward silence but jumping in to answer the questions you pose to participants is a sure-fire way to kill engagement. If you want people to respond to questions, or participate in dialogue, wait at least 15 seconds before bailing them out. If the group is silent after about 7-8 seconds, re-frame or re-ask the question, but don’t give the answer. Do this once or twice, and people will figure out that you want them to participate. You can also encourage people to drop their answers into chat if they are hesitant to speak up in front of the group.

Let’s get creative with how you can continue to achieve your best results. Contact us today for more information on how you can utilize our content library to prepare your workforce for tomorrow.