Virtual instructor-led training (VILT) is an ideal method for reaching a large target audience. Most of us are already familiar with virtual instructor-led training (VILT) sessions, by way of industry webinars, and COVID-19! However, converting Instructor-led Training (ILT) or classroom training into VILT sessions is more than merely hosting a webinar with a PowerPoint deck. It takes deliberate planning to harness the power of online learning. Moving from ILT to VILT presents exciting opportunities and facilitates a more robust training strategy.
Did you know that an effective VILT strategy builds professional relationships and fosters diversity and inclusion? While VILT does enable scalable training, there are more tangible benefits than just being a strategy to bring a geographically dispersed group of learners together. To know all about the benefits of Virtual Instructor-led Training, this article is a good read.
Improved learner experience, learning flexibility, and learner engagement are some of the key merits apart from the considerable savings on expenses incurred, time and effort. However, these merits can be realized only when the appropriate steps are taken in the transition process. From an organizational L&D standpoint, if a decision is made to move from ILT to VILT, here are the key practices that can go a long way in ensuring a successful switch and realizing the benefits quickly.
Best Practice #1: Define Learning Objectives
The most important facet of any learning program is clearly defined learning goals. This holds just as true in the case of virtual instructor-led training. What were the goals of the program when it was delivered through ILT? Are you looking to achieve the same objectives when delivered through VILT? Defining goals should take precedence when developing a module or an entire course. Well-established learning goals lend structure and direction to the training program. It provides a clear framework on where your learners currently are and where you would like them to be. Pen this down and revisit it at every possible opportunity! While you are defining your goals and objectives in this mission of moving from ILT to VILT, detail a realistic roll-out strategy too.
Best Practice #2: Re-evaluate Content
Training PPT + Web conferencing ≠ VILT!
Reevaluate how training content is presented in the ILT format. To make existing training content VILT-friendly, deploying sound instructional design strategies is a necessity. This ensures that learning outcomes are superior. If in-house capabilities are limited, you must engage with a vendor who is adept in instructional design and creating custom content. Vendors are also a gateway to subject matter experts who bring value during content conversion.
Further, VILT provides lots of opportunities to repurpose the content. Here training ceases to be a one-and-done mode of learning. Participants have the content organized into cohesive concepts and knowledge maps that can be reviewed and reused as needed. Virtual training requires a fundamental overhaul of the structure of a program. It is necessary to add bite-sized modules. Coherent and logical breaks help to learn and retain concepts. Microlearning modules can be SCORM compliant thereby allowing learning managers to track the learner’s progress. Microlearning can be a quick assessment embedded with every snippet to identify pain points and offer personalized feedback to learners.
Best Practice #3: Include Tools and Technologies
An engaged audience will learn better and retain information longer. As such, learner engagement is a vital component for the success of a training program. While moving from ILT to VILT, the challenge of learner engagement is perhaps more pronounced. Virtual training also provides several tools and techniques that can be leveraged to promote engagement. Training should go beyond flashing information on screen with a voice-over. While a trainer can gauge audience engagement with visual cues in a classroom environment, it is very easy to not detect whether learners are paying attention in VILT.
While elements of interactive learning lend themselves well to virtual training sessions, online training must contain multimedia content. Include instructional videos, images, and interactivities that promote engagement. Adding game-based elements to a virtual training program makes learning exciting and interactive. In gamified environments, feedback is instantaneous and helps reinforce learning. Leaderboards, learning paths, and rewards can be used to propel learners toward training objectives. A quick analysis of the scores gives insights that are on par with assessment metrics.
Best Practice #4: Determine Delivery
Consider two aspects of delivery while moving from ILT to VILT - the software platform and the instructor facilitating the session. The software or platform that you choose must emphasize usability and accessibility. Make sure the platform fits the organization’s training needs and fosters collaboration between the instructor and learners. It should not be an impediment to effective learning! Secondly, ensure that the trainer is familiar with delivering effective training to learners in a virtual environment. They should be adept at leveraging superior learning outcomes from the virtual sessions. Engaging interactions with each learner, use of breakout rooms, polls, Q&A, etc fetch remarkable results.
Best Practice #5: Prepare Learners for Success
Keep the line of communication with learners active and transparent. Inform the learners about the virtual instructor-led training strategy and sessions. Prepare them before the session to receive training in the new virtual environment. Send out information ahead of the class including a guide to the learning platform, troubleshooting technical challenges, and other relevant details.
Collaboration and interaction are the cornerstones of effective VILT sessions. Focus on learner needs and create a proper plan to engage learners. When you transition with these best practices handy, the strategy is poised to deliver the results that you seek from training engagements. Do you want to move from ILT to VILT for your L&D needs?
Do you want to see real-world examples of successful transitions? Let’s get in touch, we are here to help.