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HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR RUNNING SUCCESSFUL VIRTUAL TRAINING SESSIONS
Virtual classrooms can offer many benefits, in terms of cost and time. A well run virtual classroom can add a significant benefit to your digital learning offering. The tips detailed below will help you to plan, prepare and deliver professional virtual training experiences.
- Think about the end goal – you won’t be able to cover everything about a topic, so concentrate on the one main message you want to get across to the learner during your virtual training.
- Virtual training should last no longer than 60mins in one sitting – if 90mins (maximum) then ensure you take a short break after 45mins otherwise the learner will do it themselves mentally and that’s what you don’t want!
- Ideally, virtual class sizes should be under 15 learners – smaller classes allow the training to be more interactive and individual, as feedback and conversation will be easier than with a larger class.
- Increase your presentation slide count with simple imagery in order to have a change of slide every 2mins with the aim to help retain the learners’ attention as they need something new to look at every 30-90 seconds – always aim to replace large amounts of on-screen text with images.
- Don’t use animations and/or transitions on slides unless necessary – even then only use a Normal ‘click-and-reveal’ animation.
- Make sure your on-screen text is a larger than usual font size for easier reading.
- Remove any embedded video from your presentations. Consider providing the link to them after the session as a Post-learning exercise.
- Viewing a large table of numbers on a slide can be confusing and distracting. Highlight one or two key numbers in bold or with a circle if this is necessary.
- Make sure the presentation file is optimised for online viewing to save on bandwidth – one tip is to import images onto your slides rather than copying and pasting them in (which will make the file size larger).
Note: There are a lot more presentation design tips I could add here, particularly about designing your slides for those with learning difficulties – please contact me if you would like more information about this.
BEFORE: PERSONAL PREPARATION
- Set up your presentation space at home. Where possible position yourself away from the window or light source behind you, which can create a glare.
- Where possible position yourself away from any noise distractions, such as a ticking clock behind you, or interference from the TV or other noise generators.
- Dress ready to present, in business casual attire, to make a good impression.
- Logon to the virtual training session at least 10 minutes before the start to ensure you are familiar with the set up, and are there to welcome your learners when they arrive.
- As the trainer, always switch on your webcam so the learner can see you, making the training more personal.
- Make sure everyone is on ‘Mute’ as you present the content to avoid background noise distraction. Ask the learner to come off ‘Mute’ when asking or answering questions.
- Make sure everyone has typed in their full name when joining the virtual training – no abbreviations.
- Always provide a place (Chat area for example) for the learner to share their thoughts and comments with any Facilitator you may have helping you on the training.
- If you are going to use an ‘icebreaker’ then make it something related to the content the learner is about to see, and not just some random thing like a ‘rock-paper-scissors’ game.
- Speak at a good controlled pace and with a confident tone and volume, and use Plain English words avoiding slang and colloquialisms.
- Verbally describe what is on screen as your talk; don’t rely on using the mouse pointer as it can appear very small for people to see.
- Before answering any ‘Chat’ comment, say the comment out loud for everyone to hear and they know what comment you are responding to.
- Learner distraction can be reduced by quickly moving through information, and providing most time for questions. Call upon learners individually to answer questions to help keep them alert.
- Have some sort of validation at the end of the virtual training to check that people have been listening. This can be a fun quick-fire round of questions for each learner to answer OR ask each learner to share an insight they gained and an action they will take after leaving the training.