We are often approached by organisations who have attempted to transition to interactive virtual training by themselves.
Mostly, it is because they have experienced a virtual workshop executed by an external provider and found it engaging and successful. This leads them to taking action themselves and trying to transition to virtual delivery with their training.
Invariably this approach fails. There are many nuances that come with delivering virtual training that are not necessarily visible immediately; for example, knowing how to structure a slide deck to ensure engagement and interactivity.
A less-than-successful outcome affects confidence in trainers and provides participants with an unfortunate negative first experience of virtual training, which reinforces any pre-existing adverse emotions towards the transition.
Commonly, employees are concerned that virtual training is a passive experience that will be ultimately hindered by the technology that it relies upon. When the initial virtual training session reinforces this belief, it can be a difficult mindset to alter without assistance.
This is where bringing in an external provider, or consultant, really helps. At VTT, we make the experience positive and successful right from the beginning; giving your trainers the skills and confidence to deliver virtual training the right way, every time. It is easier to start from a position of optimism than to undo the emotions associated with a negative experience.
You can read about how we have helped a client who was challenged by trying to ‘go it alone’ in our recent Case Study: Train The Trainer (Recovery Approach).
Preparedness is everything when it comes to virtual training and there are several actions you can take to make the transition smoother.
How to transition to interactive virtual training
Find the right platform
Choosing the right platform can make all the difference when doing virtual training for the first time.
There are lots of virtual platforms available right now, and they are all in competition with one another, which ensures their continual growth and improvement.
Platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Adobe Connect and Cisco WebEx are popular choices for virtual training due to their range of available features that benefit virtual training.
Choosing a platform that your employees are familiar with, that they are already accustomed to using in their day-to-day activities can help to make the transition smoother. They will already be aware of some of the functionality and it can help to alleviate fears that the tech will become a hindrance as opposed to an asset.
Take the time to explore the pros and cons of each platform. At VTT, we currently favour Zoom for its ease of accessibility, wide range of functionality and consistent updates.
Empowering your trainers to have the competence and confidence to design and deliver virtual training is key.
We work hard with clients to give their trainers the skills to deliver and design their own interactive, engaging virtual training that is fit for purpose and achieves their outcomes; giving them the tools and abilities to thrive in the virtual environment.
At VTT, we offer a full, Virtual Train the Trainer Program to help trainers to get both fully upskilled and confident in their ability to deliver virtual training, with maximum learning transfer, engagement and positive experiences for their participants.
You can find out more about our full program by visiting our website or by downloading our Train the Trainer brochure.
Consider your comms
Communication is important when starting a virtual training program. Considering how best to position the transition to a virtual setting to your employees is key as it can be the difference between success and failure.
A common mistake is to position the training as a poor alternative to face-to-face, traditional classroom training, i.e. ‘making do’ with virtual training while face-to-face is not available.
This is the wrong impression to give and can direct employees to take a negative position before they have even entered the virtual environment.
Instead, consider phrasing your communications to be positive; it is a great opportunity, it is engaging and interactive, and offers the flexibility for training to happen anywhere; including when working from home or remotely.
Ensuring that your employees understand the benefits and advantages of virtual training before the workshop can be vital in ensuring they have a good experience and in avoiding any negative association.
Why not also check out our recent video - Interactive virtual training that puts face-to-face training to shame - for more tips on how to use interactive virtual training.
Another common mistake made by organizations edging into virtual training, is that they don’t allow sufficient practice before attempting a live, virtual workshop.
In our Virtual Train the Trainer Program, we allow for two live, practice sessions. This gives trainers the opportunity to try out the new skills and techniques that they have acquired during the program in a safe space.
Doing this allows them to practice, make mistakes that they can learn from and gain valuable feedback before attempting a workshop in the live environment.
The practice provides trainers with the opportunity to get smoother with their techniques and even identify areas of their workshop that may not be working as well as it could be, all before entering the real virtual classroom. All of this induces confidence building.
How to virtualize content
Transitioning to virtual training is not as simple as taking the pre-existing training slide deck and just presenting them online.
Applying dedicated time and effort into repurposing the content of a face-to-face slide deck is well invested, as ensuring that they are fit for the virtual environment is key.
We recommend techniques like building in specific slides with key questions to invite discussion, or to highlight important information or instructions.
Virtualizing content is essential to get right, as it is what ensures your trainers have the engagement, investment and interactivity required to achieve learning transfer.
If you would like help in repurposing your existing face-to-face content for the virtual classroom, you can contact us here. We would be happy to assist you.
When transitioning to virtual training from classroom training, it is important to ensure the experience for your trainers and their participants is positive right from the start. In order to allow the training to run smoothly and successfully, we encourage you to consider the steps above.
And if you find yourself facing a challenge, please consider getting in contact with us. We want to help you make the change as positively as you can, and be on your way to continuous, effective, virtual training.