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If you’re second-guessing your ability to run a virtual training session at work, you’re not alone. Even experienced facilitators find the transition to online training challenging sometimes.
To be an exceptional virtual trainer, you need to really know your tech, be an active listener, and take feedback like a champ. But, since you’re here, you’re probably already on your way to hosting engaging online sessions that leave attendees feeling empowered to put what they’ve learned into practice.
From choosing the right software to finding allies in your trainees, we’ve compiled a list of 12 virtual training best practices and tips to get you started.
You may be familiar with the frustrating experience of trying to join a virtual event on a website that’s not at all intuitive. You spend 10 minutes figuring it out, downloading the app last minute, and end up joining late.
The best way to make sessions easy to access is to use a browser-based online training platform - so attendees can join in one click, with no need to download anything or make an account. It also helps if you host training on the same video conferencing platform that your company uses for other internal communications, so everyone’s already familiar with it.
For example, we recommend using Livestorm as your all-in-one internal communications app because it’s flexible enough to support small internal meetings as well as huge webinars with up to 3,000 attendees. Plus, if you’re using Livestorm, you can check if you’re using a compatible browser for minimal audio or video lags.
Your employees need to be able to use and apply what you taught them after the session is over, especially if you’re running onboarding for remote employees.
Build a knowledge base and add links to the relevant materials so trainers can access them at any time and refer back to what they learned. You can create your knowledge base in a cloud storage app like Google Drive, a project management tool like ClickUp, or no code-app builder like Softr or Bubble.
When you train employees online, your virtual training platform is your classroom. So, pick one that comes with all the tools you need to give attendees a memorable, interactive session.
For corporate online courses, you need high-quality video software that:
But you also need other tools to provide a seamless learning experience, like:
The quality of your video and audio determine the level of your presentation. If attendees can’t see you or listen to you properly, they’re likely to leave the (virtual) room. Use a good microphone and a high-resolution webcam in a well-lit, quiet room for a more focused and professional experience. Just make sure you have a backup plan in case one of your devices stops working!
Facilitating training can be stressful. What if someone asks you something you don’t know? Or you lose your train of thought? You can’t predict everything that will happen in a training session, but you can practice your answers to frequently asked questions.
Write notes but use them as a guide only - avoid memorizing them word by word or else your presentation could become a little stiff and boring. Use visual and audio media like an embedded video or some infographics to break up your presentation and give your speaking voice a rest.
Try and think of your trainees as allies that can help you improve the quality of your online learning sessions every time you host one. Not only can they give you insightful feedback about your presentation style, but you can also leverage their experience as you go.
Allowing others to pitch in with their perspectives will help vary the training dynamics and keep everyone engaged. For example, if you’re an HR manager running a workshop on career conversations, ask a manager from another department to explain how they do it with their direct reports. Use this as a springboard for further discussion and knowledge sharing.
The idea behind sharing classroom rules isn’t to call anyone out or punish them - it’s to set your attendees up for success. If they know how and when to interact with you and their colleagues during the session, they’re more likely to do it in a productive way. However, if someone is unsure whether they can ask a question in the middle of your presentation, they might not ask the question at all.
Encourage attendees to ask questions and use the platform’s engagement features to simplify (and even improve!) the way they interact with you. If you’re using Livestorm to host virtual training sessions, take advantage of these features for peak engagement:
Don’t wait until the last minute to check in on your audience. Set rules at the start of the training session to avoid constant interruptions, but allow them to ask questions or “raise a hand” to speak. You can also use the live poll feature to quiz trainees on the go and make sure your content meets them at their level.
This was one of the most requested features by Livestorm users and it’s super popular for large training sessions. Breakout rooms allow participants to collaborate in smaller, less intimidating groups. Get creative and use this feature
If you want to learn how to make bread, you’ve got to make bread. You can memorize a recipe, but that doesn’t mean that you know how to make a baguette. The same is true for most skills.
Come up with a set of practical virtual training activities for employees to implement what they’ve learned during the session. For example, you could get two sales reps to role-play a scenario like an upsell. Invite them to reflect on their performance while their peers give tips on what they could improve.
Pro tip: Don’t miss the chance to shadow new hires during their online employee onboarding to evaluate their understanding of important tasks. An app that has screensharing enabled (like Livestorm!) can help you assess their understanding of important processes.
Analyzing your online training engagement score is almost as important as planning the event itself. Only by reviewing your virtual meeting metrics will you be able to plan for improvement.If you’re using Livestorm, you get access to an analytics dashboard with video engagement metrics like:
If you’re not using Livestorm, but want to calculate your engagement rate, use this Video Engagement Score™ (VES) calculator. You’ll need to input information from your last session. Have at hand:
The virtual trainer plays a huge role in the quality of the sessions. This person needs to be charismatic and knowledgeable, but also:
Facilitators need to be able to listen to understand their trainees. Get rid of the predetermined response that you have in your mind when someone asks you something. Instead, listen to their question carefully and check your understanding of what they asked before you give your answer.
It’s really common to see trainers spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to share their screens or get their microphones to work. Test the platform, tools, and devices a few times before the training to avoid technical issues.
Use personal stories to connect with attendees. Pick the ones that are both topic-related and entertaining. To get full investment from your audience, include the stories that make you look vulnerable and avoid the ones where you sound perfect. Use it as an opportunity to explain what you’ve learned since then.
Always ask for feedback and make it as easy as possible for learners to respond. Ask them to fill out a survey at the end of the training and reach out directly to individual attendees and ask for actionable feedback.
Pro tip: Record the session and watch it afterward to judge your performance. Livestorm can record automatically, so you can evaluate your own performance or repurpose the session as an on-demand training resource.
Just as in-person training relies on tech like a projector or a microphone, virtual training relies on apps to keep things engaging. Here are the ones you can’t miss:
Training people in a virtual environment means you can do things you couldn’t face-to-face – like allowing people to connect from different parts of the world. You can also offer a hybrid learning experience and by recording in-person training to share with an asynchronous, remote team later. The best way to boost interactivity during a corporate virtual training session is to:
So, plan your session, write a script, use personal stories, and get ready to run a memorable and engaging presentation.
To engage employees in virtual training you should:
A virtual trainer should have these skills:
Strategies for virtual training success include:
Tips for designing a virtual training course include: