If we go by the definition, the environment of a virtual classroom should be a replica of its traditional counterpart. However, that is not the most effective option. When designing a virtual instructor-led training (VILT), it is possible to create an even better learning environment and foster participation by mingling technology and effective instruction.
Here are four useful tips to keep in mind while creating VILTs:
- Keep it short and engaging
Any information that goes beyond a certain limit tends to irk learners, no matter how informative it is. So, the first cardinal rule for keeping learners engaged is designing a VILT that is short and informative. Plan a session anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes, with breakout sessions in between. (This is different from asynchronous eLearning and video-based eLearning, in which session times are much shorter.) A breakout room allows the learners to interact among themselves and with the instructor in a separate window while being part of the session. If you have to teach long lessons, it is important to segregate them into short sessions and allow learners to brainstorm, prepare for team activities, and ask questions during breakout sessions or through a chat window. This keeps learners involved and also allows them to resolve their questions in real time.
- Build effective interactions
It is challenging to create interactivity in virtual classrooms, but if done intelligently, the learning experience could even exceed that of a traditional classroom. If you use an effective VILT tool, you can create several moments of interactivity. For example, you can use ice-breaking exercises in the beginning of the session to generate a level of comfort among the participants, or open breakout rooms during the session to allow them to mingle and prepare for an activity. You can also share your screen or important documents in real time to enhance learning. It is easy to monitor learners’ performance during a video-based training. You can test their knowledge with multiple choice, yes/no, or true/false questions.
- Customize the content to create the desired impact
While designing content for a VILT, it is important to keep benefits and drawbacks of the design in mind. If you already have content, this may still require specific changes from an expert to suit the delivery platform. The presentations should be graphic-rich with short, meaningful text. Slides should not be crammed with unnecessary images or content, and the trainer should elaborate the points through audio.
- Share and collaborate
Virtual classrooms allow participants to share the content, documents, or presentations and even record the session, so it’s important that the trainer utilize these features to impart effective learning. You can share important observations through whiteboards, and learners can make online notes.Executed well, VILTs can be an effective mode of training for your organization. They can immediately bring a large group of people together and help companies save an enormous amount of logistical expenses. Sometimes, there is no replacement for face-to-face instructor-led training; but other times, if you take the same instructors and properly equip them in a virtual instructor-led training, it can be just as effective, if not more so than the traditional method.