A virtual instructor-led training (VILT) event can be a powerful and economical tool for supplementing the benefits of traditional learning for your employees. Yet doing it right requires a keen grasp of the technological underpinnings of VILT, adequate preparation on the part of both instructor and students, and the organization’s support — particularly in terms of available resources and encouragement to participate.
Here are five factors to consider for a successful VILT event (see the infographic below for details):
1. Create an equal environment. In all likelihood, your training event will involve students in the classroom and at remote locations. It’s imperative that remote students can launch and run programs without interruption, and that they can share content and interact with onsite students via video, chat features and private messaging.
2. Prep the content. Generally speaking, text-heavy and lecture-driven content is less successful in a VILT event—where students will more enthusiastically embrace content that is visual and interactive in nature. Focus on providing content that lends itself to small group activities (thus increasing engagement) in a structure with enough time flexibility to avoid causing stress to participants.
3. Prep the instructor. In a VILT event, the key requirements for the instructor are:
Having an in-depth familiarity with equipment enables instructors to direct the in-class and virtual conversation so students feel at ease engaging, resulting in a more positive learning experience.
Instructors should also be adept at keeping participants engaged by emphasizing key takeaways and asking open-ended questions that spur additional discussion and reflection. Where available, they should utilize file-sharing, chat rooms and virtual breakout sessions to further stimulate participants’ interest.
4. Prep the student. A “preflight checklist” helps ensure that all systems are functioning as they should and that students know how to operate the interface. It’s also important to establish ground rules for the event, including:
5. Support the event. To be truly successful, a VILT event must include pre-testing the virtual system and supplying participants with the right equipment (headsets, microphones, etc.) prior to the start of the event.
Perhaps just as important are related post-event activities. Record the learning session so instructors can review their performance and make adjustments in technique, as needed. To ensure the event’s long-term effectiveness, put together a program of supplementary online exercises and links to content (webinars, video, podcasts, etc.) that reinforce the key points of the event. Many participants also welcome downloadable handouts.
There’s no question a VILT event can resonate powerfully with attendees in a physical venue and a remote setting. The key is comprehensive preparation and agreement on what constitutes a successful learning experience for everyone involved.
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Founded in 1990, the Vermont Chapter of the Association for Talent Development (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) has provided over twenty years of service to Vermont's dedicated organizational training and development professionals. Thanks to the on-going support of our volunteers, presenters and Chapter Board, our local ATD Chapter remains vital and growing.