If you are like the many organizations who have recently transitioned their workforce from traditional office-based teams to having most of your employees work remotely, you might be considering converting your corporate training programs as well.
Online training is the perfect learning solution for improving the productivity and engagement of your remote workforce. E-Learning boosts retention by as much as 25-60% (1). An actively engaged workforce also delivers 2.6 times more earnings per share than organizations with disengaged employees (2).
For organizations who already have instructor led training (ILT) programs in place, the training content can be converted and used during a virtual instructor led training session. This is a quick and cost-effective way to use the ILT content you already have, to create engaging virtual learning experiences.
To help you successfully convert your ILT into VILT we have included six practical tips you should consider when converting content.
1. Select the Right Content
Not all training topics and materials are suitable for online training. Selecting the right content is essential to creating of an effective e-learning program and quality learning experiences. The best topics for online training are those that involve skills that can be learned through discussions and group work.
A common misconception is that long complex topics are not suitable for training. These topics can often be broken down into a series of shorter sessions that can be delivered through online learning.
More hands-on topics and technical skills are the most challenging to learn through custom e-learning and online formats. These are not usually suitable for online training.
2. Utilize Interactive Elements in Virtual Sessions
Keeping learners engaged is one of the toughest challenges L&D instructors face during virtual training. They have very little control over the learning environment. Participants can become easily distracted by email, phones or other disruptions.
Using interactive elements is one of the best ways you can engage learners and keep them interested during virtual training sessions. Integrating polls, surveys or break out groups with activities into the course will promote active participation and help reduce distractions.
3. Keep Online Learning Sessions Short
The most effective online courses consist of short training sessions that focus on one particular topic or concept at a time. This format keeps learners engaged and improves knowledge retention by preventing cognitive overload.
The ideal length for a virtual training session is somewhere between thirty minutes and two hours. The exact length depends on factors such as the complexity of the content and whether it is a single training session or one of many courses in a series.
4. Integrate Breaks into Longer Sessions
Ideally online training sessions should last for no more than two hours per session. However, this is not always possible. Much like longer traditional classroom training sessions, online courses that last more than two hours should include scheduled breaks.
Integrating breaks will help learners stay engaged, reduces distractions and prevents cognitive overload.
5. Prepare for Disruptions
There are many factors that can disrupt an online course in both webinar and virtual training formats. Participants may not be prepared for the course; they may experience technical difficulties, or they may behave in a disruptive manner.
Fortunately, these complications can be handled quickly and sometimes prevented altogether with careful preparation.
Consider the following to avoid disruptions
- If a virtual training session requires pre-work to be completed beforehand make sure learners understand that completing the assigned tasks are critical to their success.
- Test the technology you plan to use in the training session before the training takes place.
- Provide participants with resources materials regarding training expectations and the technology they will be using.
- Prepare to address lengthy, off topic or disruptive questions after the course. Redirecting these questions and discussions will help keep your course on track.
6. Remember Best Practices Vary Between Different Training Formats
Virtual training sessions and webinars should be structured and formatted differently. Both online training methods require interactive elements. However, the key difference is that virtual training should consist mostly of activities and interactive elements while webinars are typically centered around a lecture that includes discussions and supporting interactive elements.
Converting instructor led training into virtual learning content is an effective low-cost strategy you can use to quickly develop and deliver quality online learning experiences. To learn more about instructor led virtual training and online learning strategies that work check out the webinar, The Instructors Guide to Delivering Virtual Training.