Always Learning Blog

Back to All Posts
Learning

Virtual Training Best Practices: 11 Tips for Trainers to Implement Today

As remote work continues, companies rely more and more on virtual training. Many have discovered that this option is just as effective as in-person training as long as it follows some virtual training best practices.

What is Virtual Training?

Virtual training uses technology that allows instructors and participants to interact without being in the same location. 

Sessions can involve both synchronous and asynchronous learning. Additionally, virtual training may include simulations or forms of self-directed learning.

The Benefits and Challenges of Virtual Training

The most obvious benefit of virtual learning is that it allows your employees to work remotely. It can also boost productivity and worker retention. When you conduct virtual training correctly, it can even be the most efficient way to deliver training. 

That's not to say there aren't challenges. It can be tricky to maintain good communication virtually. Technical difficulties and other mishaps are bound to happen. 

Fortunately, you can mitigate these difficulties by focusing on best practices for virtual training.

What Are the Characteristics of a Great Virtual Trainer?

Some universal skills make trainers excellent at their jobs, whether they deliver virtual or live training. Conversely, there are additional skills that trainers must have or gain to be successful when they serve up virtual training. If they recognize that they are using a different medium and are willing to make adjustments, they will be more likely to succeed.

Anyone interested in hiring a virtual trainer or selecting a staff member for that position should be on the lookout for the following skills and personality traits:

An engaging personality 

A good trainer will use their social and presentation skills to keep participants interested. These skills translate well to virtual training, with a few adjustments. Since body language has less impact in a virtual setting, it's vital to use the tone of your voice to remain friendly and engaging. 

Since virtual training professionals often interact with trainees through writing, you can succeed by fostering these skills. Practice engaging others using live messaging and chat features.

Situational awareness

Do you notice most people look bored or distracted? Are they getting frustrated or struggling to master the concepts in front of them? 

As a virtual trainer, it's crucial to recognize these signals so you can pivot and reengage your audience. Situational awareness will humanize the training process and help keep everyone on track, whether it requires a minor adjustment or a total overhaul. 

Conciseness

Conciseness is the ability to communicate ideas without taking too much time or adding unnecessary detail. Trainers who have this ability can keep sessions moving along, especially when employees have many questions.

Patience

With virtual training, there's a lot of room for error. Workers may experience connectivity issues or be unfamiliar with the communication technology involved. 

People who have the personality for this work will take these hiccups in stride without letting them affect their training. Losing your patience will not build trust with your trainees or help them learn.

Technical Savvy

You don't need to master every aspect of virtual learning software. However, you should have the capacity to learn new technologies and their uses. People who are open to technological change are often best able to adapt to virtual training or eLearning.

The Benefits of Adopting Best Practices for Virtual Training

If your team is technically savvy and already used to working remotely, you should still know virtual training best practices. Implementing them ensures that your teams can work as efficiently as possible.


When you establish virtual training best practices, you also:

  • Build processes to ensure consistency and better results.
  • Create a framework to create virtual training offerings more efficiently
  • Nurture a learning culture
  • Avoid technical issues
  • Give all employees equal access to training opportunities
  • Ensure that trainees get more out of learning
  • Maximize the benefits of technology
  • Improve the impact of training for remote teams

To help you get these benefits, we've created this list of virtual training tips for trainers.

Get a Demo

Learn why modern companies choose Continu for their learning needs

11 Virtual Training Best Practices

Trainers who use virtual training are most effective when adapting their methods to make the best use of technology while avoiding its pitfalls. 

They also focus on preparation and know-how to keep trainees engaged. If you are looking for some guidance on training best practices, check out these 11 virtual training tips for trainers.

1. Don't skimp on tech

Your virtual training efforts will be a bust without the right tools and tech. Invest time researching the technologies that will help you achieve your organization's goals.

As you consider the tools you will use, consider these questions:

  • What will the average training size be?
  • Will training be synchronous or asynchronous for the most part?
  • What will you use to create videos, animations, or presentation slides?
  • How will you handle file sharing?
  • Do you want a platform dedicated to training?
  • What types of interactivity do you want to integrate?
  • How will you incorporate assessments?

The eLearning industry has exploded over the past few years. There are many players in the scene, but reliability can vary widely. Research providers carefully to ensure you choose tools with a proven track record. The right virtual learning platform will help you facilitate training, live or dynamic learning, course authoring, knowledge base creation, and more.

2. Set and communicate rules and expectations

Don't assume that everyone participating in your virtual training sessions is aware of the standard rules of etiquette and interaction. Some may be very new to this. That's why it's essential to begin every training with a bit of guidance.

Start by giving everyone a loose schedule. Let your trainees know how long each phase of the training will ask, when there will be breaks, and when you will be taking questions. It's also helpful to set some ground rules about cameras staying on or off and muting microphones.

3. Use different methods and media

Make training visually engaging and impactful by integrating a range of media and training methods. Multimedia approaches keep training sessions exciting and ensure everyone can connect to the material.

There are several types of media you can incorporate into your virtual training:

  • Videos
  • Slides
  • Simulations 
  • Lectures
  • Question and answer sessions
  • Infographics
  • Audio

You're already embracing a technology-centered approach to training. Use it to make virtual training as enjoyable as possible.

4. Expect complications

If you assume everything will go smoothly, it likely won't. It's better to be proactive. Anticipate everything that could go wrong, then think of a backup plan. 

Whether it's your presentation software glitching, internet outages, or audio quality issues, think of a plan b for every eventuality.

Give participants pre-session activities.

What if your participants came to your training sessions ready with questions to ask, insights to provide, and eager to engage? You can make this happen by designing a few preliminary activities to get things started.

Before the scheduled session, consider sending participants an activity or two to prepare and pique their interest. You could use a relevant article, a brief pre-test, an exciting video, a brief tutorial, or a poll. 

These activities will give you a great point of discussion to launch the training. You could even send a preview of the slides or videos you intend to present and discuss.

5. Plan Sessions to Maximize Engagement

The more interactivity you build into virtual training, the better. Don't wait until the end of the session to invite discussion or take questions. Instead, break things up with activities that allow trainees to participate actively.

Try using:

Often, you can spur active discussion simply by asking the group an open-ended question. Remember, you may not be able to see signs of boredom or disengagement in virtual training. You need to take steps to keep everyone engaged throughout each training class.

7. Avoid Long Lectures

Some training professionals are very dynamic. They do exceptionally well in live training because they use the space to command attention and tools suited for in-person training. Because of this, they can deliver longer lectures while still maintaining attention.

Unfortunately, these trainers often struggle with virtual training because they no longer have that space or available tools. Their lectures that were once interesting and compelling become tedious.

That's because virtual training doesn't work for this instructional delivery style. Instead, trainers should take advantage of tools meant for virtual learning and break lectures into smaller components.

8. Test Drive Each Session

You may be tempted to do a brief dry run of a small portion of your virtual training to test out your material and the technology you are using. 

That's taking a pretty significant risk. Instead, your safest bet is to do a thorough run-through. Yes, that will take a considerable amount of time, but it could save you from some embarrassing mishaps. 

Don't you want to know beforehand whether certain activities or media don't work? Otherwise, you'll be stuck needing to improvise and potentially losing trainees or at least losing their attention.

It's even better if you can find a small group to act as "mock participants." This exercise will allow you to experience the most authentic dry run possible. Take the time to do this so that you can catch:

  • Technical issues
  • Training that runs long or short
  • Poor transitions from one topic or activity to another

Use the test drive to get a better idea of the length of time it takes to deliver the training. Employees will appreciate knowing exactly how much time they need to allow for the session.

9. Follow-Up Afterwards

After training sessions:

  • Reach out to participants to gather feedback.
  • Offer additional support.
  • Get insights on future learning needs. 

When you interact with trainees at different stages after virtual training ends, you will help them apply what they have learned in their jobs, answer questions that have come up, and know which elements of training worked best.

You can also follow up with relevant information, links to articles, and other content. If you've stored these items in an online knowledgebase, don't forget to send the links to that out to participants.

10. Tailor content to virtual learning

Even though it may be easier in many ways, there isn't a one-to-one relationship between in-person learning content and virtual learning content. 

If you need to convert any live or classroom training to a virtual format, take the time to restructure it effectively. No one wants to participate in training that doesn't fit the format. 

11. Work with a Co-Facilitator

One of the most helpful virtual training tips for trainers is simply getting help. If you have a co-facilitator, you can divide and conquer tasks. For instance, one could deliver the live lecture components while the other takes on more administrative tasks. 

These might include moderating the chat, responding to private messages, troubleshooting technical issues, or preparing future training materials.

Try to find a co-facilitator with some subject-matter expertise so you can bounce questions and ideas off of one another and expand each other's skills. These are the elements that make panel discussions so exciting and engaging.

Any best practices you implement will be much more effective if they have a dynamic online learning platform to support them. Regardless of what material you’re teaching, when it comes to virtual training, adhering to best practices is one of the best ways to make an impact. 

Related Posts

Bring Continu to your organization today.

Let us know what you need
Get a personalized demo of Continu
Say hello to your new Learning Amplification Platform™