Training Companies: Best Practices for A Successful
Virtual Classroom Environment
If this year has taught us anything, it is that we must be ready for last-minute changes; many training companies, learning institutions, and businesses had to pivot to virtual learning in a short time. Many of them, however, have decided to continue with their virtual classroom environment for their training needs.
But what are the best practices for a successful virtual classroom environment?
Challenges Associated with Virtual Learning
Virtual classroom delivery has brought about some new challenges to facilitators that they may not have experienced before. The most common challenges include: lack of one-on-one interaction with fellow students, difficulty concentrating with so many people on screen, unfamiliar technology, isolation, trouble managing time, lack of access to the technology, and difficulty learning how to use the new technology. All these issues however can be mitigated with the right training plan, and with a well-versed, experienced virtual instructor or virtual producer.
To create a successful virtual classroom environment, the instructor must provide a learning experience that keeps the students engaged, connected, supported, and valued. Whether learners are in actual classrooms or learning remotely, instructors must apply effective classroom management to achieve a productive and successful environment. There are ways to make students feel motivate
Consider the following when designing your Virtual Classroom:
Set the Stage
If the instructor is expected to set up their own virtual classroom in your platform space, make sure they have administrative privileges, and can send reminder emails as well as any attachments or calendar dates.
If the organization is using a learning management system, it is unlikely that they will be setting up their own course in a corporate environment. You should expect though that the professional virtual instructor will have course names, titles, descriptions, materials for pre-work, classroom materials, and any handouts or participant guides needed to run the classroom successfully. The LMS administrator can upload these easily using the organization’s guidelines.
Test, Test, Test!
This may be the most critical step. To set up the virtual training session, a virtual instructor must test their tools beforehand. This includes video, audio, presentation, and connectivity. Check this at a time and location that will be similar or the same as the true event several days before to ensure that Internet traffic and WIFI will be no problem at class time!
The instructor should also ask learners to check they have access 10-15 minutes before the call. This way, you'll ensure that you start the training without having to be IT support. The instructor may want to provide a ‘pre-roll’ video playing instructions before the class actually begins to provide instructions to those participants who are unfamiliar with the technology.
The instructor should also test the connection and speed of their Internet and Wi-Fi. They must ensure that their headphones, microphones, and video cameras are working correctly. It is a good idea for the instructor to have a back-up plan devised and arranged with a virtual producer, LMS admin, or other support person in the event that there is a delay or loss of Internet connection.
An instructor must advise students to check their browser settings to ensure access to both the video and microphone. To complete the setup and testing, the learner should confirm that they are connected to the internet and are in a quiet conducive place.
Studies show that you have about 1/10th of a second to make your first impression, and this is no different for a Virtual Instructor! It is important that your instructor projects the image of a professional and knowledgeable leader who will be taking the team through content that is going to be worth their time. Even though held virtually, they should present themselves in appropriate work attire for the audience and the subject.
In establishing a successful virtual classroom environment, students should follow and remain engaged through the process. Make it clear what is expected from the learners, and what they will get from the experience. It’s a good idea to use the tools in your platform such as raised hands, emoticons, or the chat feature to get the facilitator’s attention or make comments or raise questions without disturbing the flow of conversation where appropriate.
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