Proven Strategies for Live Online Training

We identify ways to use live online training to improve corporate training programs.
A man participating in a virtual instructor led training.

Instructor led training (ILT) has long been a cornerstone of the corporate learning world. In the age of remote work, companies are turning to virtual instructor led training (VILT) because it’s convenient, cost-effective, and productive.

With so many forces competing for attention these days, it’s easy for audiences to quickly fall-away because of constant distractions.  We’ll look at the best practices for VILT in a learning organization, so that you can be confident of keeping your students engaged and unlocking superior training outcomes.

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Introduction to Live Online Training

VILT is a type of training that takes place over the internet using standard video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet and customized tools that are optimized for live learning, such as TalentLMS or REACHUM. They can be used to deliver lectures, collaborate on projects, and discuss topics. Outside of handshakes and calisthenics, almost anything that can be accomplished in person can be done using VILT.

The advantage of VILT is that learners and the instructor interact in real time, despite being in different locations. The geographic flexibility allows learners to join from anywhere at any time, as long as they have an internet connection. This makes it easier for corporate training to reach a wide audience quickly and cost-effectively.

VILTs allows people to connect and collaborate despite differing locations.
VILTs allows people to connect and collaborate despite differing locations.
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When to use Virtual Instructor Led Training

VILT is a great option for many types of corporate training, but it’s not the right choice for every situation. Here are the scenarios where VILT is most beneficial:

  • Content is complex, requiring in-depth discussion
  • Learners benefit from real time feedback
  • Team spirit is enriched during group participation
  • Group activities such as role playing are part of the training
  • Product launches, where there is immediate excitement for a new product. Sales teams have a lot of questions that are best answered immediately to maintain the momentum.  

In these cases, VILT can provide a more engaging and effective learning experience than pre-recorded video or online courses. 

For most organizations the balance has favored on-demand (aka asynchronous) training that is hosted on the web and accessed by students at their own pace. Today the trend is towards live training (synchronous), as VILT  platforms become easier to use and offer richer, more performant experiences for users.

MOOC 2020 to 2025 Growth Chart
The MOOC market is projected to grow by 30% each year.
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Preparing for VILT

VILT is a powerful training tool, but it requires proper preparation. Before you begin, make sure to:

  • Set clear learning objectives and outcomes.
  • Determine the best format for the training (e.g. lecture, discussion, contests, Q&A, etc.)
  • Develop activities, games, and assessments to engage learners and measure their understanding .
  • Choose the right technology for the training (e.g. video conferencing, screen sharing, breakout rooms, etc.).
  • Establish clear ground rules and expectations for learners. Do they leave their mics on? How can they ask a question? Are cameras required to be on? If the sessions are long, 10 minute breaks and meals should be scheduled in advance and distributed as part of the meeting agenda.  

By taking the time to properly prepare and share expectations with participants, you can ensure that your VILT sessions have high rates of engagement and successful outcomes.

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Common Challenges for Live Online Training

A distracted woman on her phone during an online meeting.

Here are common issues that can arise during VILT:

  • VILT requires reliable internet connections and compatible technology. If something goes wrong, it can be difficult to troubleshoot in real time.
  • Limited engagement. Without the right strategies, it can be difficult to keep learners engaged and focused.
  • Time zone issues. With learners spread out across multiple time zones, it can be difficult to find a time that works for everyone.
  • Distractions. There are a multitude of distractions that can pull learner focus away from training, including email, texts, and a bombardment of social media notifications.  Learners at home have the added distractions of family, pets, and deliveries.

Researchers at Stanford discovered that people who are distracted by multiple tasks don’t remember as well as their focused and attentive peers.

These challenges can be overcome by training providers with the right strategies and preparation.

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Proven Strategies for Corporate Training Success

A woman participating in a fun virtual meeting.

Using appropriate strategies, you can ensure that your VILT efforts are a success. Here are some proven strategies for corporate training success:

  • Create an engaging environment. Use activities, games, and assessments to keep learners active and motivated.
  • Use interactive tools such as polls, chat rooms, games, and breakout rooms to facilitate discussion and collaboration.
  • Incorporate multimedia. Use videos, audio clips, and other multimedia elements to engage the senses. A variety of content is far more interesting than an endless stream of talking heads and Powerpoint slides.
  • Monitor learner progress and give feedback throughout the training session.
  • Pause after major learning points to quiz students on the material you have been talking about. Trainers quickly discover which points are getting through and which need clarification.
  • Add entertainment value whenever possible. The acclaimed futurist Marshall McLuhan said:  

Anyone who tries tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either.”

By adding elements of fun and entertainment, your training will have the greatest impact on motivation, behaviors, and achievement.  

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Checklist for Online Training Platforms

Here are the most important features to look for in a VILT platform:

  • Ease of use. Make sure the platform is easy to use and navigate, both for teachers and students.
  • Interactions. The attention of passive viewers is lost within 10 minutes. When learners participate in activities, they are transformed from disinterested to energized and engaged, with attention lasting 12 times longer.
  • Integration. Look for a platform that integrates with other systems and tools, such as learning management systems, and HR records. CRM integration is important when your learners are external partners, prospects, and customers.   
  • Scalability. Choose a platform that can grow with you.
  • Customization. Select a platform that allows for branding and custom configuration to match your organizations needs. 
  • Support. Make sure customer support is available when it is needed, usually 9 AM to 5PM in your time zone.
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Best Practices for Instructor Led Training

A group of people planning how to implement VILTs.

In addition to choosing the right platform, here are some best practices that contribute to success. Consider these tips:

  • Keep the personal introduction brief, ideally under 10 seconds.
  • Tell them what they will learn. Share an agenda in advance of the meeting as well as at the start of the meeting.  
  • Break down complex concepts into smaller, bite sized chunks that are easy to understand.
  • Provide resources such as handouts, slides, or recordings that learners can download and refer to later.
  • Incorporate visuals such as images, videos, or animations as shortcuts to understanding.
  • Demand participation. Ask questions, invite feedback, and facilitate discussion to keep learners involved. Calling out specific people keeps everyone on their toes.
  • Follow up with learners after the session to assess their understanding and provide feedback. Quizzes during a session reinforce learning. A followup quiz after 2 weeks confirms long term retention of learning points.

By following these best practices, your VILT sessions will be effective and engaging.

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VILT is a powerful tool for corporate training, but it requires the right preparation and strategies to be successful. With the right platform, best practices, and proven strategies, you can unlock instructor led training success and keep your learners energized and engaged. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to improve your VILT sessions, these tips and tricks will help you create effective and engaging learning experience.