In Part 1 of this post we described the three key skills areas needed to develop internal trainers to train virtually. To support them further, we also developed a session planning template that ensured they planned these principles into their sessions. In this post, we’ll answer the question: What are the elements of planning an effective virtual training session? At the end you will be able to download the template for your own use.
Designing learning objectives
Just like the physical classroom, learning objectives should focus on the actual needs of the trainees and the outcome of the training, for example: By the end of this session, technicians will be able to communicate the 3 most important features of this new model washing machine to a customer
Unlike the physical classroom, you will have less time in a virtual session to meet this objective, and that includes setting aside time to measure it during the session itself. This means that you should limit yourself to only one or two objectives.
Thinking about your trainees
Thinking about what your trainees know already can save time in your session and help ensure what you plan meets their actual needs. For a virtual session it’s also useful to think about trainees’ previous experience of online learning and their comfort level with technology.
For example, repair technicians who have spend most of their time on the road visiting customers may need more time and practice with getting to grips with online training. You can allow for this with activities where they can have fun and play with the different tools to build their confidence.
Being prepared for problems
Due to technology, there can be more problems in a virtual classroom, and you need to have back-up plans and work-arounds for when people loose connection or can’t hear, etc. At the end of the day there is only so much you can actually do to assist people, but you can plan to address problems that might come up by explaining at the beginning what to do if connection is lost and who trainees should contact for assistance.
If trainees are new to virtual training they will need help and practice in using the tools and for this it is best to set aside time at the start of the session to let them play with the tools in a relaxed way before they use them for more serious activities.
Setting personal goals
Every virtual session is also an opportunity for the trainer to improve. Set yourself personal goals (e.g. speak slower, stick to timing, involve all participants) and then either ask someone to observe the session and give you feedback, or record the session and play it back to yourself.
Creating a detailed session plan
At least when you start virtual training, having a detailed session plan will help you stay on track. A lot is happening during a virtual session, so you don’t need the extra worry of trying to remember what comes next. Your plan will also show you that you are using a range of tools and mixing them up. Your plan will be more micro than normal as in a virtual training session it’s important to very activities in order to keep trainees’ attention; at least a new activity every 5 minutes. One tip we have seen for new trainers is to script what they want to say in the plan; this is a very good way to reduce talking time and be succinct.
We hope you enjoyed reading this 2-part post about how to develop internal trainers. You can also find more tips and advice on virtual training in these blog posts: