The future of training can absolutely not leave out the transition towards virtual classroom facilitation and delivery.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that struck the world this year has presented one of the most formidable challenges in recent history to governments, businesses, and society. Many consider it to be the ultimate tipping point for the 21st Century. This pandemic is a wake-up call for companies to mandate having a proper plan to deal with disruptions to ensure business continuity. It is also a watershed moment that signals the fast-track acceleration process for digitization throughout society.
Even in the training industry, the earlier months have been trying for many training companies who ‘scramble’ to ensure business continuity by moving in-person trainings to virtual classroom trainings in a matter of days, if not weeks. This involved instructional designers and trainers who were experts in designing and facilitating in-person classroom trainings, to need to learn the new skill sets surrounding facilitating an effective and engaging virtual classroom training now.
One might initially believe that moving a face-to-face teaching online is just a simple matter of choosing a virtual classroom platform and speaking to a webcam. Or at least, for some trainers, that’s what they thought when the transition first occurred.
But that’s when they’re (unfortunately) in for a rude awakening.
No doubt there are some elements of in-person instruction that translate well to a virtual classroom. But there are many other factors that used to work in-person, that now need adjustment in a virtual classroom setting.
Key Differences between In-Person Training & Virtual Classroom Training Delivery
Here are three key differences to better illustrate:
1. The Shift in Role of Technology
An in-person trainer might have adopted the use of technology to a certain extent during in-person trainings, however, with the transition to virtual classroom trainings, technology now becomes the main platform.
2. Different Approaches to Engage Learners
With the transition to virtual classroom trainings, trainers are not able to engage learners in the same way as compared to an in-person training. They now require a new set of strategy and approach to engage and build rapport with learners online, with newfound limitations and constraints.
3. Need to Multitask
Trainers and instructors now need to simultaneously present, engage learners, and use the technology platform, and basically learn to adapt to multitasking while ensuring effective delivery and engagement during virtual classroom trainings.
Sounds like a great challenge? But to be a successful virtual trainer & facilitator, one must invest time to prepare in these three areas to improve the odds of having a successful transition to virtual classroom trainings.
Common Mistakes Virtual Trainers Make (Sometimes without even realizing!)
If you are one of those trainers who have made the transition to facilitating virtual classroom training, congratulations!, because that is definitely the right (and essential) move, given the outlook that remote working for businesses are set to stay at least for the next couple of years.
However, do you know if you have been delivering your virtual trainings successfully? Are you able to effectively engage your learners well? Or are you still unsure of whether you are doing things right or wrong in your virtual training?
Take a look at an example of this (parody of a) virtual trainer, Ms. Karmen, and use it as a reflection to note if you may be unknowingly committing the same mistakes as her. (Hint: There are a total of 12 mistakes she made in the video!)
I trust that you will be able to identify at least around 5 to 6 of the mistakes Ms. Karmen has made. But if you’re still really curious to know what the other mistakes are, here’s a summary of the 12 mistakes that you should be able to identify from Ms. Karmen’s virtual facilitation during her training.
- Bad Audio
- Lack of Engagement
- Drowned in PowerPoint
- Technical Issues
- No Clear Call-To-Action / Purpose
- Nervously Presented
- Disqualifying Statements
- Starting with an Apology
- Lack of Eye Contact
- Rambling Delivery
- Fidgeting Presenter
- Not in Frame
Proven Strategies to Enhance Engagement during Virtual Classroom Trainings
1. Greet Each Participant As They Enter The Virtual Space
An online environment may sometimes feel impersonal and distant, so it is encouraged to greet each participant by name as they log in to your virtual classroom training. In more virtual meeting rooms, you should be able to see the participant’s name pop up as they enter and join. You could say something like, “Hello (participant’s name), welcome to today’s virtual training! Can you hear me well?” And wait for them to respond.
This initial greeting has multiple benefits. It will help individuals feel more connected to you, while also ensuring the audio is working properly. It also lets your learners practice speaking in a virtual space, and helps to remind participants that you are aware of their virtual presence. If there isn’t this initial greeting, participants will often assume that they should watch passively, or that their presence does not matter. Eventually, only the more outgoing individuals will speak and participate during your virtual training.
For participants who log in to your virtual training late, it will be good to still type a quick greeting to that latecomer using the chat platform in your teleconferencing platform. This helps you to still be able to quickly connect with them and welcome their arrival.
2. Adopt Virtual Engagement Tools
One of the most common challenges that resonate with many virtual trainers and facilitators is, “How do I better engage my learners and participants?”
Well, there are in fact many ways and approaches you may adopt to enhance the engagement during your virtual classroom trainings.
Here’s a quick guide on the available online engagement tools that you may adopt to make your virtual classroom trainings more interactive and conversational with your learners:
- Poll Everywhere
If you’re curious to know more about the functions of the abovementioned online tools, check out our earlier article, or this video on how one of our Master Trainers, Mr. Mark Stuart, makes good use of interactive activities during our workshops to engage the learners:
For more proven tips to conduct an impactful virtual presentation, check out our earlier article that will give you a one-stop checklist to conduct an engaging virtual presentation.
3. Offer Information Multiple Times To Make It “Stickier”
Your virtual learners who are joining the virtual classroom training from a computer are more likely to be distracted by emails, instant messages, and a multitude of other things that will pop up on their screen during the training. Do also try to encourage your learners to turn off their emails and focus only on the training for maximised learning experience.
However, it will be helpful to your learners as well if you repeat complex concepts, use slides to visually summarize key points, and record each training session for your participants to listen again later if necessary. After the virtual classroom training, it will be useful to also send a group email that includes a summary of the collective discussion points, presentation slides, handouts, and a link to the training recording.
Additionally, during the training, it is highly useful to strategically pause group discussions and offer a recap and reinforcement of the points that have been made by participants. An added benefit to this strategy is that when you as the virtual facilitator restate your learner’s name and ideas they shared, it lets them know that you heard what they said and it keeps your learners motivated to focus on the training. This also increases the likelihood that your online audience will retain key concepts from the training well.
4. Be sure to rehearse and get comfortable with the technology you’re using – in advance!
To ensure a well facilitated virtual classroom training, it is important as a virtual trainer to know how your specific online platform works so that you will feel comfortable using it to connect and communicate with your audience during your presentation or training. You also need to take not to anticipate and plan ahead for any likely issues that could arise with technology during the training.
The last thing we want is for technology to become a hindrance rather than a support communication tool. Furthermore, it might seem unprofessional when the trainer doesn’t know how to use the virtual platform or its specific features.
Therefore, its essential and worthwhile to take some time prior to the training, to rehearse and learn about the platforms you will be using, so that you audience will have a seamless user experience during your virtual classroom training.
Are you keen to become a Professional Virtual Facilitator, Trainer, or Speaker?
If you have read our article till this point, and found the information shared with you to be interesting and that has value-added to enhancing your virtual classroom training and facilitation methods, we have more good news for you!
We have officially launched our latest Aventis Professional Virtual Trainer Certification, a programme specifically designed to equip trainers and facilitators with the newest in-demand skills to effectively reconstruct an in-person training activity for live virtual classroom delivery.
Here’s a quick overview of how this Professional Certification will benefit you:
- Equip yourself with the latest up-to-date virtual facilitation skills and technology so you can train and facilitate online effectively
- Discover how to structure and deliver effective virtual sessions for your colleagues, team, or clients
- Learn how to leverage on advanced online tools to develop collaborative learning experiences spanning across different industries and topics
- Gain exposure to best practices to facilitate and deliver engaging online training while expertly managing the teleconferencing platform
- Gain the status as a Professional Virtual Speaker, and as a Certified Virtual Professional Trainer to gain an added competency in Training & Teaching
- Be trained by one of the Top Virtual Speakers in Asia – and top 15% globally
This Professional Certification is suited for those who seek Success in Today’s Digital Age
This Certification is not just targeted for existing trainers and facilitators, but it is also ideal for professionals, consultants, and academics considering a switch of profession from a functional role to becoming a professional virtual trainer that will succeed in today’s fast-changing digital age. Additionally, it is highly beneficial for professionals and executives seeking to pursue a rewarding career in training, HR development, career management and other related fields.
Receive Personal Coaching From Asia’s Top Virtual Speaker & Coach
Our Aventis Professional Virtual Trainer Certification is taught by a highly sought after international speaker, corporate trainer and executive coach, Mr. Mark Stuart. Mark works with over 220+ MNCs, government agencies, and universities in Innovation, Leadership and Soft Skills.
He is also a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) – one of only 15% of speakers globally with this qualification – the speaking profession’s highest earned designation, based on revenue, bookings and performance. Mark is one of a handful of speakers/trainers in Singapore with this accreditation.
As of June 2020, Mark is also a Certified Virtual Presenter – one of the first few speakers/trainers located in Asia who has been accredited to run virtual presentations, speeches and virtual training.
EXCLUSIVE – LIVE WEBINAR RECORDING NOW AVAILABLE!
Check out our webinar, in which Mark shared many useful tools and techniques that you as a virtual trainer / facilitator (aspiring or current) can employ to ensure interactive virtual trainings (and even for virtual meetings), and lead you to realize why Virtual Presentation & Facilitation Skills is the skillset of the future that will eventually be widely adopted.
Feel free to reach out to Ms. Carmen @ (+65) 6720 3333, or email in to firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on the course.