Training employees can be fun, but challenging - especially if you’re doing it online. With in-person training, you can always ask attendees to close their laptops (or not to bring one at all). But this doesn’t work with virtual training.
Virtual trainees have the entire Internet at their fingertips, usually right on the device they’re using to get trained. So, how do you stop them from checking their email or doomscrolling the news during your session? The answer is quite simple: you keep them engaged.
To give you ideas, we talked to Marie-Agnès, Head of People at Livestorm, and Laure Saintpierre, Employee Experience Team Lead at Livestorm. Here’s a list of eight virtual training activities with real-life examples and use cases based on their advice.
Livestorm helps teams collaborate and deliver memorable live or on-demand video experiences.
As a virtual trainer, you’re competing with all kinds of distractions. “In-person, it’s easier to ensure that employees pay attention and participate,” explains Marie-Agnès. “However, it’s different in virtual settings thanks to distractions at home, technical difficulties, and people not being comfortable with virtual technology.”
To keep your audience engaged, try these activities and training tips during your next virtual or hybrid learning session:
Before your trainees can start upskilling, you need to show them how to navigate the virtual classroom. You might host training sessions primarily using a video conferencing platform like Livestorm, Zoom, or Adobe Connect. If so, spend a few minutes at the beginning of the session pointing out the different features and how to use them.
You could even incorporate a quick platform tour into your icebreaker. For example, show everyone how to use the chat function by asking them to comment with their main learning objective for the session. Or, ask them to use the emoji reactions to rate their mood.
Pro tip: Make sure everyone knows where to find additional training resources like process documentation, pre-recorded video guides, and FAQs.
The success of a training program depends on you understanding your trainees and meeting them at their level. For example, if you’re providing go-to-market (GTM) strategy training to a sales leadership team, you’ll probably lose their interest if you start by explaining what GTM is (chances are, they already know).
The good news is, you don’t need to guess.Use your virtual training software features, like live polls or the meeting chat, to generate discussion and gauge their understanding of the topic before you begin. If you’re using Livestorm, you can create as many polls as you want. Plus, everyone can see the poll results, so your audience will know that you paid attention and adjusted based on their expectations.
Instructor-led training can be demanding. Incorporate pre-recorded video as part of your presentation to:
If you’re responsible for online employee onboarding, use Livestorm automations to create an on-demand session that starts at a specific time, plays a video, sends your attendees to a particular website, and ends on its own. Doing so frees your calendar and allows you to connect live with your direct reports or mentees one on one.
“Automation gives you more time to focus on the human element,” says Laure. “Your whole team will have a smoother experience because they won’t be worried about any steps being missed.”
When your learners need to solve a problem, brainstorming huddles can help. For example, imagine your logistics department needs to cut delivery costs. You could host a session on modern shipping trends.
Create your Miro board before you begin, adding a section for each trainee’s ideas. Then, leave time at the end of the session for everyone to brainstorm workarounds using what they’ve just learned. Acknowledge your trainee’s solutions without judging. Avoid phrases like “no”, “incorrect”, or “that’s wrong”. Instead, try saying “that’s an interesting approach, I get why you thought that could work.”
Pro tip: Host your virtual training session on Livestorm to use Miro’s digital whiteboard without switching apps. Or, if you’re using Zoom, use the annotation tools to allow participants to comment on the slide deck instead.
Employee training is a broad practice. You can train hundreds through dedicated training courses - or just one person as part of their personalized employee onboarding. In any case, you need to ensure your learners are able to use their new skills in practice.
A shadow session is a learning experience where a trainee attempts a process with guidance from the instructor. You can use screen sharing to guide them as they navigate a new platform, for example. And, with Livestorm, you can even attend your direct reports’ presentations and communicate through a private chat without the audience knowing.
Gamify your training with activities like quizzes that test out what your trainees just learned. Offer a reward to the participants who get the most correct answers - like company products or online gift cards.
You can also come up with a set of questions, send your attendees to random breakout rooms, and get them to discuss the right answers. The group with the highest score wins.
To keep it interesting, create a poll with both training-related and non-related questions. Ask pop culture references or fun facts about the audience, e.g., “Who plays the electric guitar? Greg, Jen, or Sunita?”
Peer-to-peer learning helps boost retention and diversify the typical instructor-led training format by allowing your virtual team to work together, reflect, and apply what they learned.
For example, you can break the audience into smaller groups (try using breakout rooms in Livestorm - more on this later!) where each team member gets the opportunity to share problems or role-play a situation. The group can offer feedback based on takeaways from the training session.
Pro tip: Peer review programs can also be established asynchronously. Create a process for employees to submit a piece of work (e.g. a written report or a presentation). Each team member will use a form to provide feedback on someone else’s work, resulting in everyone having the opportunity to give and receive feedback.
If your virtual training platform has a breakout rooms feature, use it to get individuals to chat in smaller groups. This gives everyone an opportunity to speak and means you get more discussion in a shorter space of time, since the groups can collaborate all at once.
At Livestorm, we host a monthly workshop for managers, where everyone is split into groups of four. “There, interactions are smoother and more dynamic as everyone can speak,” says Marie-Agnès. “The organizer can navigate through all the different rooms to observe, facilitate the discussions, and share insights.”
Pro tip: Try setting up a “group captain” per room. They can ask a list of prepared questions and drive the conversation.
Keep your audience engaged by inviting them to play a game. This is a quick way to refresh everyone’s concentration and get their energy up. For example, get everyone to write down “I’m here” on a piece of paper. Tell them that at any time of the meeting, the moderator will show their paper on screen, and everyone will need to do the same.
Depending on the nature and relationship of your audience you can make the last person answer a question based on the training content or do something silly. Read the room to avoid putting your employees on the spot or making them feel uncomfortable.
A visually appealing slide deck and organized agenda are the basic training materials. However, you need a bit more than a nice PowerPoint presentation to make virtual training fun. Here is a list of ideas:
Livestorm helps teams collaborate and deliver memorable live or on-demand video experiences.
The best way to start and end your virtual training session varies depending on the nature of the presentation and the speaker's personality. These are ideas on how to do it to keep your attendees engaged from “hi” to “thank you for joining.”
Start the meeting without sharing your screen. Just show your face, introduce yourself in a friendly manner, and kick it right off by explaining the ground rules. Explain:
Then, host a short icebreaker to make people feel comfortable and start participating. You can ask a simple question about their hobbies or pets.
There are multiple ways to end your online training. You can:
At Livestorm, we usually wrap up by inviting people to identify one key learning and encouraging them to apply it right away. Marie-Agnès says, “We also use a simple Agile method called ROTI (return on time invested) to assess the effectiveness of the session.” It means asking people to rate on a scale of one to five if they considered the time spent on the session worthless (1), valuable (5), or something in between (2-4).
When planning e-learning initiatives, prepare for more than just the topic. You need to plan for online learning activities that will make the training fun, memorable, and engaging. Try to:
The best tip we can give you is that you find a virtual training platform that promotes interactivity. A good example is Livestorm, where you get access to in-app engagement features - like question upvoting and live polling - that simplify employee participation.
Virtual training is any form of education online. It can include virtual classes, remote onboarding, role-specific training, or customer training. These can be pre-recorded, one-sided, or live and interactive.
Virtual training has many benefits:
The software you need for virtual training depends on the type of course or session that you’re hosting.
There are different virtual training methods. These are:
To measure the success in virtual training, you can: