Virtual instructor-led training is the need of the hour, across training scenarios. Whether it is K12 training for schoolchildren or corporate training for work from home employees, virtual instructor-led sessions have emerged as a viable learning and development solution during a time that warrants social distancing.
Even in scenarios where organizations have been delivering training online, self-paced training needs to be “blended” with instructor-led or classroom style training to maximise the effects of training. Tools like web conferencing software have enabled organizations and instructors to deliver blended training in a virtual environment.
With that said, delivering classroom-style training virtually poses unique challenges that require unique solutions.
If you are an instructor preparing for your first virtual session, or a learning administrator training your trainers, you can expect the following challenges to arise during a virtual training session:
If you have ever consumed content online, you already know how easy it is to get distracted. Your learners are not going to be exceptions to this rule. Moreover, with the absence of visual cues (discussed in the next section), engaging learners can be a difficult task.
In such a scenario, it is crucial for the instructors to consciously make efforts to engage learners. You can do this by giving them live exercises to be completed in a short time frame, or facilitating discussions about a topic with their peers, or following each training session with a quick quiz.
Another great idea is to share reference (or additional) study material for an upcoming lecture beforehand. This way, if a learner has consumed the additional training material, they will be better motivated to listen to what you have to say during the lecture.
When you do this, you can also send your learners some tips that will help them stay focussed during the training session.
Absence Of Visual Cues
As mentioned in the last section, the absence of visual cues can make it difficult for trainers to engage learners.
Another challenge associated with no visual cues is that trainers may not realize when their learner(s) are having trouble understanding a particular concept that they are explaining. Non-verbal cues also allow learners and instructors to create a positive learning experience during a training session.
There are many creative ways to overcome this challenge. The simplest one is to verbally encourage your learners to express their doubts during the session.
Another great way to do this is to use the Multicam feature in your web conferencing software. With your students’ faces visible to you, you will have access to some non-verbal cues that can help you create an impactful learning experience for them.
If your students are not comfortable with being in front of the camera for the entire duration of the training session, you can also ask them to briefly come in front of the camera in the beginning to make an introduction.
By doing this, you will be “breaking the ice” and helping your students overcome any hesitation they may feel while asking for clarification on their doubts.
No technology is perfect and it is highly probable that you or one of your students will run into a technical issue from time to time.
To overcome this challenge, the first step is to choose a web conferencing software that offers a simple and intuitive user interface.
Next, it is also advisable for instructors to learn to solve the most basic and common issues that users are expected to run into while using the software of their choice.
Finally, it is also smart to try out multiple web conferencing software before making a purchase decision. During the trial period, try contacting the support team to gauge the kind of response you and your learners can expect when they run into problems or glitches during or before your training session.
When you help your learners overcome distractions and technological challenges, while encouraging them to help you deliver a great training session, the outcomes of your instruction will improve.
Did we miss out on a challenge that you face with your virtual training sessions? Tell us about it in the comment section below!