COVID-19 has meant that many organizations are shifting from live, in-person training to virtual instructor-led training (VILT). There are plenty of benefits to providing virtual as compared to in-person training. These include lower travel and logistics costs as well as increased reach and convenience for both educators and learners. This is new to many teams, and the process can seem intimidating.
I’m here to tell you that this doesn’t have to be a painful process. With a little preparation, you’ll be able to deliver engaging and exciting training content to your virtual audiences in no time! Here are a handful of tips to help make your VILT sessions more engaging for your audience:
Be clear about expectations
Take time at the beginning to let your audience know what to expect throughout the session. Describing outcomes and explaining how/when to ask questions are pretty typical, but you might want to consider sharing the format for your session (for example, I plan on stopping after each of our 3 main sections for an activity, discussion, and to answer questions), what you envision for participation from the group, as well as doing what you can to make sure the audience is comfortable and ready to learn.
By encouraging your audience to add thoughts and questions to the chat or allowing them to unmute and share with the group, you are giving your participants a way to join in and become part of the session. Be sure to address participants by name and positively reinforce the sharing of questions or ideas. This practice encourages other people to chime in!
Incorporate polls or surveys
These can be casual or formal. Whether you have separate slides with questions, links to polls, or just pose a question to the group and ask for hand raises or thumbs up, take time periodically to check in with your audience. It could be to make sure there aren’t any questions, but it can also be used to check for understanding, learn more about your participants, or to mix up the session if you’ve been speaking or presenting a little too long.
Your audience will be more relaxed and comfortable with you and your content if you come across as authentic and relatable. This may come with practice, but sharing personal stories or examples, allowing your personality to come through, and identifying mistakes or vulnerabilities, all go a long way in making your audience view you as a real, relatable person.
Our new course in Skilljar Academy, Creating Engaging VILT Content, covers some basics to keep in mind when planning for your virtual training sessions. You’ll learn more about how to get a good start, different formats to consider, tips for increasing interaction and engagement, as well as what needs to be done post-event.
By sharing what we’ve learned with you, you’ll be able to plan, execute, and follow-up an exciting, virtual training event that will have a lasting impact on your audience.