Human Resources

Virtual Training Explained: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Running Engaging Sessions

Transform your virtual training sessions with interactive, engaging classes to motivate your employees and elevate their skills.

Published on February 14, 2023 • Updated on February 14, 2023 • About 12 min. read
Virtual Training Explained: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Running Engaging Sessions

As a trainer, the dream is to deliver powerful learning experiences that leave a lasting impression on your trainees and help them reach their full potential. Maybe you do that already with in-person sessions. But have you figured out how to make your virtual training stick?

Grappling with technology and finding ways to make virtual sessions interactive is enough to overwhelm anyone. So, we’ve used our experience hosting and facilitating hundreds of virtual events to bring you this complete guide to virtual training sessions.


Livestorm helps teams collaborate and deliver memorable live or on-demand video experiences.

What is virtual training?

Virtual training is a method of delivering educational content remotely. Using the internet, it supports trainees to learn new skills or brush up on old ones, all from the comfort of their desks, couches, or kitchen tables.

In the workplace, virtual training is commonly used to upskill employees. Customer success teams also use it to educate new customers as part of their onboarding process or customer success strategy. Whether you’re responsible for training employees or supporting customers to use your products, you can host virtual training using online meeting tools, like Livestorm or Zoom.

What types of virtual training are there?

Virtual training can take many forms, but there are two main types: self-paced learning and virtual instructor-led training (VILT).

  1. Self-paced learning encourages the trainee to manage their own schedules and learn without much supervision. It can involve various resources like massive online open courses (MOOCs), videos, reading materials, quizzes, or pre-recorded webinars. If your trainees will be self-paced, consider using a learning management system (LMS) to host your training materials.
  2. Virtual instructor-led training involves more supervision and face-to-face learning. Learners are often required to attend pre-planned, live sessions and meet a training schedule. If you plan on hosting live webinars, workshops, or coaching sessions, you could set up a virtual classroom using a video conferencing platform like Livestorm.

Is virtual training effective?

Virtual training can be as effective as in-person training when planned in alignment with the needs and limitations of your employees and your organization. Consider these pros and cons.


Create in-depth virtual onboarding and training

Improve customer and employee satisfaction with virtual meetings and live or on-demand webinars.

Disadvantages of virtual training

If you're new to virtual training, you might wonder how you're going to keep your trainees focused from a distance. Here are a few key challenges (and solutions) you could face:

  1. Technical difficulties. Poor internet connectivity, software compatibility, and audio/video quality can turn a smooth virtual training session into a buffering nightmare. One way to cope with this is to introduce an early tech check to your session moderators and ensure they’re ready for the session.
  2. Lack of interaction. Virtual training can be less interactive than in-person training, making it difficult for employees to retain what they learned. But with online training platforms, you can use interactive functionalities like digital whiteboards to encourage participation and engagement.
  3. Distracting environments. Children, pets, household chores, or co-working distractions can easily disrupt a virtual training session. Remind them how to best manage distractions, such as putting their devices on “Do not disturb” during live sessions.
  4. Lack of accountability. If your training is asynchronous (meaning: happening in the learner’s own time, without a live element), it can be challenging to ensure that trainees meet their learning objectives within the timeframe. Set clear expectations and provide regular check-ins to ensure employees are making progress and meeting the training goals.

Livestorm helps teams collaborate and deliver memorable live or on-demand video experiences.

Advantages of virtual training

Training employees is crucial for any company if you want high-performing, engaged staff. Similarly, customer success teams need to show new customers the incredible value their product can provide. Here's why virtual training is the future:

  1. Flexibility. Your employees can attend training sessions right from their own desks, without the need to commute or spend time away from the office. They can easily fit a training session into their schedules, alongside other meetings and responsibilities.
  2. Pre-recorded training materials. Platforms like Livestorm make it super easy to record your training sessions, which can then be repurposed, rewatched, and even used as gated content to generate leads on your website.
  3. Cost-effectiveness. In-person training comes with all kinds of costs, like venue hire, travel, accommodation, and refreshments. Meanwhile, virtual training can cost next to nothing when you use the video conferencing platform your workplace already uses for internal communications.
  4. Scalability. Virtual training software is designed to easily hold large numbers of learners, so you can reach more people without hiring a bigger venue or needing extra staff.
  5. Variety. Stale presentations are a thing of the past. With tools like Slido and Mural, your sessions and materials suddenly become a lot more interesting and interactive. Plus you can try various teaching formats, including self-paced online courses, shadowing sessions, webinars, and 1:1 coaching.
A team using brower-based Livestorm software for virtual training

Who needs virtual training?

Every organization needs virtual training. Taking your remote employee onboarding and training sessions online helps trainees fit them into busy schedules and access training materials anytime. Here are some organizations that may benefit from virtual training:

  • Hybrid working organizations. For businesses with a mix of remote and in-office employees, hybrid learning gives equal access to training and opportunities for all employees, regardless of whether they work remotely.
  • Flexi-working organizations. Companies that offer telecommuting or flexible hours may find virtual training a convenient option for employees who choose their own schedules.
  • Remote working organizations. Companies with a fully remote workforce, where employees work from different locations and may not have the opportunity to meet in person. Virtual training allows these employees to receive training together despite their physical distance.

How to prepare your virtual classroom for engaging training sessions

You can maximize the potential of virtual training by ensuring technical readiness, creating interactive materials, and fostering an inclusive environment in your virtual classroom. Here's how:

  1. Decide on a format
  2. Choose an e-learning platform
  3. Create a knowledge base of course materials
  4. Set learning objectives
  5. Plan your content
  6. Assess trainees in real-time

1. Decide on a format

You can mix synchronous and asynchronous activities or focus solely on one type of delivery. For example, if your content is more suited to VILT, you can incorporate synchronous video sessions like webinars or virtual classrooms. Otherwise, you could focus on curating a knowledge base of self-paced online courses and on-demand webinars for trainees to try in their own time.

Pro tip: Even if you choose to let trainees learn at their own pace, we recommend including some form of face-to-face learning, even if it’s just 1:1 check-ins or regular coaching sessions. This will motivate them and make them feel more supported as they learn.

2. Choose an e-learning platform

E-learning platforms help learners to access content and communicate with their trainers and peers. Consider the following when choosing a platform for virtual training:

  • Compatibility with your existing technology
  • User-friendliness and ease of navigation
  • Customization options and flexibility
  • Analytics and reporting capabilities
  • Integration with other tools and platforms
  • Cost and scalability

An LMS like Blackboard Learn supports a self-paced learning process through course creation, assessments, tracking, and reporting. But all effective training requires face-to-face interaction.

A video engagement platform like Livestorm checks all of the above while facilitating live video training sessions. It can also double as an online onboarding platform because it’s ideal for hosting everything from 1:1s and shadowing sessio
ns to larger webinars.


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3. Create a knowledge base of course materials

A knowledge base is like a virtual library for learners to access and reference bits of information. This can include presentations, handouts, videos, quizzes, and other resources. It can also keep your training materials organized and up to date on a central platform. Consider using a platform that allows easy sharing and collaboration, like a shared drive or an LMS.

Pro tip: With Livestorm, you can automatically record virtual training sessions and convert them into replayable webinars to keep in your knowledge base.

4. Set learning objectives

The learning objectives you set should be specific, achievable, and relevant to your organization's overall goals. To get started, ask yourself questions like:

  • What do you want your learners to know or be able to do after the training?
  • How will you measure their progress and success?
  • How will the training support the overall goals of the organization?

It's good practice to share the objectives with learners before the training starts and to review them at the end of the training to assess the progress. You can also use Q&A or live poll functionality to ask learners what their personal objectives are for the session and provide targeted support.

5. Plan your content

You need to set a clear agenda, assign roles and responsibilities for the session, and pre-record any videos or demos you plan to use during the training. Start by identifying the topics you want to cover and how you will deliver them. Then, decide on the structure of the training. Will you divide it into modules, lessons, or something else?

Next, decide if you’ll use videos, presentations, quizzes, or a combination of things. Make your content visually appealing, interactive, and easy to follow using a tool like Visme (which integrates with Livestorm!). But don't stop there; make sure your content is up to date and keep adding relevant resources to meet the changing needs of your learners.

6. Assess trainees in real-time

Virtual training is incomplete without assessments. Quizzes and polls can be used to check for understanding, gauge engagement, and provide immediate feedback. For example, you could use a quiz at the end of a module before moving on to the next topic. Or, you could use a poll during a live session to check your trainees’ understanding of the topic and tailor your content to suit them.

7 Tips for more engaging virtual training

Now that you've prepared your training materials, the delivery format, and the e-learning platform, it's time to make your virtual class as engaging as a Netflix binge-watching marathon.

Here’s how:

  1. Establish ground rules
  2. Use fun icebreakers
  3. Create an interactive learning environment
  4. Make everything easy to access
  5. Host small groups in breakout rooms
  6. Use a whiteboard for illustrations
  7. Set up Think-Pair-Share (TPS) activities

1. Establish ground rules

Without in-person cues of a traditional classroom, virtual training can get derailed. You need to establish some ground rules to keep everyone focused and on task.

Here are a few examples of rules you can set to keep things running smoothly:

  • No multitasking during training sessions. We know it's tempting, but resist the urge to check your email or do your grocery shopping.
  • No talking over the speaker. It's like talking over a movie, it's just rude.
  • Avoid background noise. Got pets, children, or extra crunchy snacks? Put yourself on mute.
  • Dress code. Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you should turn up in your dressing gown.
  • Keep your camera on. Being seen will help you stay engaged and accountable.

2. Use fun icebreakers

Icebreakers help set the tone for an enjoyable and interactive session and encourage team-building. It helps break down barriers and get your team comfortable with each other, so don't be afraid to experiment with your ideas!

Here are some examples of fun icebreaker activities:

  • Virtual bingo. Create a bingo board with training-related terms and have participants mark them off as they hear them during the training session.
  • Virtual coffee break. A casual way to take a mid-session break, where everyone can have a virtual coffee together and chat informally.
  • Virtual "speed networking." Give participants a set amount of time to introduce themselves, their roles, and their interests to see if they can form new connections outside their immediate team.
  • Virtual team building exercises. Encourage collaboration through virtual escape rooms or online multiplayer games.
  • Virtual show-and-tell. Allow each participant to share something interesting and encourage others to ask questions and engage in conversation.

3. Create an interactive learning environment

Polls and quizzes can be used as a pre-training assessment or a post-training evaluation to gauge the retention of information. With Livestorm’s built-in live chat, polls, and Q&A functionality, you can encourage participation and generate discussions among learners.

You can even upvote questions, so the most important ones are answered first. These interactive elements can add an element of fun and engagement to your virtual training sessions, making them memorable for your employees.

Livestorm’s poll feature being used for interactive learning environments

4. Make everything easy to access

When employees can easily access live sessions and training materials, they're more likely to stay engaged. Create a centralized location like a shared drive or online platform, including clear instructions and troubleshooting resources to help employees navigate any technical difficulties they may encounter.

Pro tip: With Livestorm’s Handouts plugin, you can share downloadable PDFs, presentations, and images while your session is ongoing.

5. Host small groups in breakout rooms

Breakout rooms help divide larger teams into smaller, more manageable groups to share their thoughts, ideas, and questions in a more comfortable setting. If you’re using Livestorm, you can create unlimited breakout rooms, automatically assign attendees and add up to 16 speakers in each room. Provide clear instructions for learners to join, navigate the rooms, and ensure that the moderators are prepared to facilitate effective discussions.

6. Use whiteboard for illustrations

Whiteboards can help illustrate technical or complex information and simulate the experience of an in-person training session. Use the Miro whiteboard in your Livestrom meeting room to take notes, create mind maps and add annotations. You can also export the digital whiteboard and use it as a resource for employees to refer back to after the session.

Facilitator hosting a Livestorm session using the Miro virtual whiteboard feature

7. Set up Think-Pair-Share (TPS) activities

Think-Pair-Share (TPS) is an active learning strategy that encourages students to think critically about a given topic or question. The process usually involves three steps:

  • Think: Learners are given a question or topic to ponder for a short period.
  • Pair: They are then grouped with a partner or in breakout rooms and share their thoughts.
  • Share: Learners switch back to the main session and share their insights with the group.

This approach encourages collaborative learning, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

You can also gain valuable insights into the group’s understanding of the training material through engagement analytics. Livestorm tracks analytics like the number of attendees, messages/questions/polls, number of sessions, and average duration to measure effectiveness and tailor courses as needed.

Livestorm online courses advanced analytics

It's time to pitch virtual training to your leadership team

Virtual training is an effective way to educate employees and customers, reduce employee and customer churn, and improve your remote onboarding process. But it requires careful planning to make your learning environment engaging, interactive, and beneficial to employees.

You must set clear expectations, provide regular check-ins, and use your video conferencing platform’s interactive functionalities like polls, breakout rooms, and Q&A sessions to encourage participation. To get started, consider choosing a platform like Livestorm, which focuses on boosting virtual engagement. Plus, with Livestorm, you can use our calendar integrations to create recurring meetings, send email invitations, and block time in your trainees’ calendars.

Frequently asked questions about virtual training

How do you make a virtual training session?

You can make a virtual training session by following these steps:

  • Set learning objectives for the session
  • Create a knowledge base of course materials
  • Plan your content, assign roles and responsibilities
  • Pre-record any videos or demos you plan to use during the training
  • Assess trainees in real-time with quizzes and polls
  • Follow up after the session to measure its effectiveness.

What’s the difference between online training and virtual training?

Online training and virtual training synonymously refer to asynchronous learning like self-paced self-paced e-learning courses, webinars, or video tutorials. And synchronous learning is conducted live through virtual platforms like Livestorm, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams.

What is the best virtual training platform?

The best virtual training platform has features like video conferencing, live chat, screen sharing, polls & quizzes, file sharing, whiteboard collaboration, and analytics. For example, Livestorm offers all these features and integrates with widely used tools, including Slack, HubSpot, Google Calendar, and Salesforce. Livestorm also provides a free plan, so you can try it out before committing to it.

What is the most common type of virtual training?

The most common type of virtual training is virtual instructor-led training (VILT). It’s often delivered online, in real-time through a video conferencing platform such as Livestorm, Zoom, WebEx, or Microsoft Teams.