Virtual training allows participants to connect to an instructor from anywhere in the world in real time. It includes interaction and discussion between instructors and participants and between the participants themselves. Through this format, organizations can essentially recreate the live classroom virtually, with an instructor facilitating the program and responding to participants needs. If a live classroom setting is not possible, virtual training is commonly seen as the second best arrangement for more in-depth training.
But having an effective virtual training is not as simple as creating it and never touching it again. In order for these programs to actually improve learning outcomes (the goal, after all), there are a few elements that need to be evaluated occasionally – and possibly updated.
In order to assess the current effectiveness of your virtual training program, here are four key questions to ask:
Are the Learning Objectives Still Relevant?
You most likely defined clear learning objectives when implementing your virtual training. Have they changed? Perhaps your larger goals have changed, in which case the material may not be relevant anymore. It’s also possible that you are applying the material to a different audience: what was once designed for a large group broadcast may not apply to a small group training.
Has Media Developed to More Effective Channels?
Multimedia is constantly evolving, which means keeping tabs on new technology is essential for learning and development professionals. When designing course content, consider the media that the target learners are currently engaging with. Is video the right platform? Should social media be utilized? Is gamification an ideal method? These are all questions to consider when evaluating the interactivity of your current virtual training.
Are the Expectations Clear?
You need to make sure everyone involved always knows what’s expected. This applies to both the learners and the instructors. Just as you revisited your goals, revisit the expectations to make sure everyone is clear. Is full participation and real time interaction expected? Is there required preparation and/or follow up? Are there scheduled breaks? What are the skills that are expected to be learned as a result of the training, and how should they be applied?
Are Learners Engaging or Staying Passive?
Perhaps the most clear indicator of effectiveness, you can be fairly certain that passiveness among participants means that content is not engaging. When people are not asking and answering questions or contributing to a real-time dialogue, they are most likely paying only partial attention. This is where you need to address the design. Is it interactive and relevant? Does it start soon enough or too late? Does it continue throughout the entire session? Be sure to encouragement engagement among participants within the first few minutes, and continue every 3-5 minutes throughout the class. Be creative with various tools, so as not to get repetitive in delivery.
After evaluating your training, be sure to make any necessary updates or changes. Keep in mind these three tips for effective design. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that your learners are engaging in the topic at hand, and are meeting learning objectives in order to apply the acquired knowledge.
Interested in learning more about how to implement effective virtual training? We can help! Contact us today.