How training has changed with covid-19
In-Person vs Virtual vs Online learning
First Up, Check Out Tim Slade's Top Tips for Virtual Facilitation
Make sure you have an energetic style
Make sure you’re using the right training technology
Give a great intro (Icebreaker)
Use Humor to make it fun
One of the best ways to make a training session fun is to use humor. Being humorous but respectful is one of the most effective ways to engage learners and make them feel at home and participate in the training.
Things that have worked for me are the following: Remember, training sessions are rarely perfect. Admitting your flaws and fallacies will allow learners to relate to you, transforming your training into more of an engaging conversation rather than a dry, tedious presentation. This means learners can have a positive learning experience and feel they contribute to the event.
Keep it short
We’ve all been in a virtual training session with has ended up being a bit of a snore-fest if it’s too long, the content is not sticking in our brains, and inevitably, we don’t have a good learning experience.
When we are virtual, we can only see and hear what is happening, while our other three senses are muted due to not being in person, so we have to concentrate more as learners.
Check out this report on perceptual learning by NCBI in relation to clinical or research-based training.
Having no more than 10-minute bursts followed by a break or an interactive activity is the best way to make sure that learners keep engaged and are allowed to regather their concentration.
Invite a guest speaker (industry expert)
Use graphics, music and video content
Try breakout sessions
It wouldn’t be a great idea to have a topic you want to be discussed by your participants, but you want to split up your group into various, smaller subgroups where they can have their own private discussion…welcome to breakout rooms.
With breakouts, it gives the participants a new way to engage with their co-workers and meet people that they don’t communicate with very often, where audio and video are entirely split and separated from the main room. This allows for robust collaboration and discussion within each breakout group. Afterward, the content can be shared with the broader group after the breakout sessions have ended.
At that point, everyone is brought back into the main room of the meeting to reveal their thoughts.
Poll your audience
Run quizzes e.g. Kahoot
I have run these quizzes many times, and it allows you to show your personality and be humorous with it; I was nicknamed (Alex Trebeck) for the last one.
Tell a story to make your training sessions more interactive
Measure your results
As a Learning professional who has dedicated my career to educating others, I believe in each of the above points. More importantly, I have attempted and implemented each into my virtual instructor-led training.
There are also many other methods that we couldn’t fit into this post, such as the video conference platform chat feature and practice considerably as practice will always make perfect.
Technology choices are critical to making sure you can achieve the level of interaction you desire. If you are responsible for purchasing, do your research and make sure the right platform is chosen.
Also, be inquisitive and ask your learners their thoughts, probing questions to gather information on their current knowledge, and asking strong learners to help others when the need arises. This can be extremely powerful and also build meaningful relationships between co-workers or students.
Overall, making our virtual training sessions more exciting is something we should all try to do. We are here to design and create stimulating learning experiences, and only when we evaluate ourselves in-depth do we genuinely look outside ourselves and make the necessary changes.
The easiest way to do this is speaking, thinking about how receptive you would be as a learner experiencing the same content. Would you be excited, or is it nap time?
Most importantly, though, know it is a journey. Have fun with it, be brave, try new things, and don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone.
Let us know in the comments what you have tried and how it went.
Hey, I’m Kris Taylor. I’m a Learning and Development professional currently in the healthcare field, with over 8 years of experience in the area of corporate education. I have created numerous instructional content for various corporate projects including eLearning, in-person facilitation, and virtual training across a wide variety of learning interventions and sectors. On Taughtup, I discuss topics ranging from how to succeed through K-12 to college all the way to instructional design tips for L&D designers.