How to Make Virtual Training Interactive
Picture joining a webinar, or a virtual training session where the presenter simply reads their PowerPoint slides. Its unproductive, boring and can leave you thinking - I could have read those slides myself and saved an hour! You wouldn’t enjoy this format in person, and you certainly wouldn’t virtually.
When planning your virtual training, you want it to be as interactive as possible to keep your participants engaged and focused on the topic at hand. Take these virtual training tips into consideration so that your next session is a success!
Outlining your Objectives
Although it might be obvious, many virtual training sessions are not as strong as they could be. In many cases, presenters haven’t taken the time to narrow down exactly what the presentation will cover and what the goals are. They ramble, take an hour or more to deliver the content and generally are unorganized and confusing. Whittle down exactly what you want your participants to learn and consider outlining this at the start and recapping at the end of the session.
What Do They Want to Learn?
A great way to increase engagement is by making the virtual training interactive. Ask your participants which objective is the most important to them. You could have them write it down where they’re taking notes, share it in a poll, or discuss it in a breakout session for a few minutes. This helps them begin thinking about the material immediately. Ensure you then take time throughout the vILT to focus on the identified objective.
Get them involved with Drawing
Give your attendees the ability to draw and sketch on a whiteboard or on paper at home. If you have a small group, having them use a virtual whiteboard would be effective. Ask your participants to draw a concept as they imagine it. Another idea is to start off your presentation by having participants draw an idea that is relevant to the objectives you’re teaching.
Interact with a Chat!
While you don’t want your participants to chatter over one another in the chat box while you’re presenting, you do want to enable the chat feature so that they can ask questions and be involved. Set designated times for them to ask questions or answer one you ask. With the help of a Virtual Classroom Producer, you can have them help you monitor the questions and provide immediate feedback. Ensure you call people by their names as you answer their questions. This helps to make them feel like they’re part of the group and that you are recognizing them personally as you would if you were in the same room together.
Make use of Virtual Breakout Rooms
Set aside time for participants to work in small groups together if your conferencing software allows it, again a virtual producer will make this easier to manage for the facilitator. This increases the interaction and will help keep them on-task and engaged. There will be less tab-switching during the middle of your presentation if they have a problem to work on and a solution to find. Think-pair-share, a strategy in which attendees think individually about a topic, work in partners to share their ideas, then share it back with the whole group (maybe through chat), is another way to get people interacting with the material.
Get their opinion, use a Poll
Using polls is a great way to get your audience to interact with the training material. You ask them questions, and they answer. You can do this to figure out the basics of what they already know or how they feel about a certain topic related to what you’re teaching. Polls are also great to use as ice breakers to help people get to know one another and make them feel at ease.
Try the Flipped Classroom approach
The Flipped Classroom is a strategy focused on engagement and active learning. The first way to use the idea of a Flipped Classroom, is to go all in. Give your participants materials to watch, read, or study before the session starts. Then, they are already familiar with the ideas that you want to discuss, and they’re ready to talk about questions they have related to the material. This makes for a very engaging and productive session as participants focus on what they found to be the most interesting, what they found confusing, and what they want to know more about. Use the information that they provide to guide your discussion outline.
Here’s an alternative: give participants some of the information that you want to share with them. This could just be some highlights that you want to share, enough to get them thinking about the topics that you’ll cover. However, in this scenario you avoid telling them all the information that you want them to learn. This way, they are paying attention in the virtual training class and are ready to learn more, but already have a basic understanding of what you’ll say. Both strategies can help you cover detailed information in a more time-efficient way and increase the engagement of your participants.
Use Stable, Robust Technology
Avoid going with the cheapest virtual training software. Get a robust system with features your participants want, like polling, a stable connection, good video and audio. Choose a high-quality hands-free headset that will create great audio. Subscribe to a platform that offers you breakout rooms, a whiteboard, the ability to let your participants draw on the board, to share your screen and to share files. Shared web browsing within the platform is also desirable. Some will even let you create a landing page for your webinar, and you can record your session with many platforms so that others can view it later.
Before you select a platform, you should consider:
Is your audience large or small?
Do you want to hold live classes or pre-recorded content?
How your participants will view the material (mobile, streaming, download etc.)
Was the platform created for learning delivery?
Does the platform allow you to upload content to a secure site?
Do you need to share files?
The reputation and reviews of the platform by others using it for similar purposes
Here are some example Virtual platforms to consider: Zoom, Adobe Connect, Webex Training Center, Microsoft Teams, and there are more.
Do a Dry Run…Or Two?
Go through your presentation with a couple of participants to work out any bugs that you can ahead of time. People expect some minor technical problems in a webinar, but they will quickly lose interest in one that is constantly having connection issues or for which certain critical features aren’t working, like audio or video. Give yourself enough time and resources to ensure that the training session will work trouble free.
Use these ideas if you would like to make your virtual training interactive. It can be done with some simple planning. Your participants will be much more engaged, and they’ll enjoy and retain the material you teach thanks to your efforts. If you require assistance in building a successful interactive virtual training, contact TrainingFolks to help!
If you require assistance in building a successful interactive virtual training, contact TrainingFolks to help!