Ten Tips for Effective Virtual Delivery
Posted: August 18, 2014
The chief benefit of virtual instructor-led training (VILT) over traditional classroom training is the cost savings — savings that result when you deliver live training to learners in multiple geographical locations.
VILT delivery comes with its own set of challenges, though. Facilitators and learners alike may be new to the technology, which can create obstacles to learning. It also can be tricky to gauge learners’ understanding and level of engagement when the facilitator can’t see facial expressions and body language.
These 10 tips help facilitators sidestep the pitfalls and maximize the effectiveness:
1. Teach the platform tools
Keep in mind the learners may be unfamiliar with the platform. Although most VILT platforms are similar, each comes with its own set of tools and instructions. Provide specific login instructions and be sure learners know who to contact for technical issues. Provide a short tutorial on the tools when starting the session.
2. Set ground rules
Participants may be tempted to multi-task; set ground rules to let them know what you expect. Set the expectation that learners can be called upon by name; this keeps them engaged and attentive.
3. Avoid the (dreaded) lecture
Engage the audience with interaction every three minutes or so. Use the platform tools, such as polling and whiteboard collaboration, or simply ask learners for responses. Interactions keep learners involved and on track.
4. Ask for feedback regularly
Check in with participants regularly to be sure they are learning and engaged. Ask them to respond verbally, by chat, or by changing their emoticons.
5. Use a variety of tools
Chat, annotation, whiteboard and polling tools are included in most platforms; other platforms have more advanced functionality. Practice working with the available tools to become comfortable with them. Use a variety of tools rather than relying on one or two favorites; change it up to keep things interesting.
6. Allow learners to collaborate and ask questions
Learners can get frustrated if they can’t ask questions or exchange ideas. Allowing learners to chat and collaborate with each other provides for a greater learning experience.
7. Use relevant, real-life scenarios
Provide on-screen scenarios; have learners use breakout sessions to develop solutions in small groups. Ask learners to respond using chat or annotation tools, or call on individuals.
8. Use a producer or co-facilitator
A producer (or co-facilitator) plays a support role, handling administrative and technical issues during the session so you can focus on course delivery. The producer can:
- Check the roll.
- Monitor chat activity; respond to questions.
- Manage breakout rooms and polling.
- Manage technical aspects of activities.
Assign tasks in advance to avoid “collisions” during the session.
9. Arrive early
Log on 30 minutes early so you can make sure the technology is working, upload presentations, download materials and set up polling questions. Instruct learners to log on at least 15 minutes early so they’re ready to begin at start time.
10. Do a dry run
Schedule a dry run with the producer to practice activities and interactions. Technology can be unpredictable. Be prepared with a backup plan; know what to do if internet service is down or the software isn’t working. Preparation is the key to amazing VILT sessions!
About the Author
Vickie McCann, of McCann Consulting, delivers instructional design and development services to corporate clients. Vickie’s twenty-three years’ experience as an internal corporate resource and external consultant guides her customer-focused approach to delivering workplace learning solutions that integrate seamlessly with the client’s in-place curriculum and corporate culture.