Web-based or virtual training is training carried out in a simulated or virtual environment, or when the instructor and student are in different locations. Virtual training environments are becoming even more popular than conventional, classroom-based forms of learning.
Virtual Training Programs: Trends and Tendencies
To meet the demands of today’s modern trainee and keep costs down, it’s essential that companies consider cloud-based training, or at least partial cloud-based training programming.
This is especially true of learning experiences in software and IT fields, as only a virtual training platform can provide the practically oriented, interactive learning experience students need. Cloud-based online courses guarantee learners access to necessary information when they’re testing new skills in the workplace.
In this article, we break down how to effectively build and manage your virtual training program.
Keep it Simple
This is the most important point, especially in a multistep class. Make sure your learning materials use as few words as possible to express an idea or thought when creating or curating content – concise language always better in a virtual environment than a long, complicated explanation. Use simple words that are easy to grasp and avoid industry jargon.
Navigation and user interface must be straightforward and intuitive to ensure all participants understand it, even those who are not the most tech savvy. Every employee should know how to log in and where to click for different training features. Virtual training is much more effective when the content is intuitive and easy to access.
Explore the subject in depth to establish the essential information you need to deliver. This way, you create a compelling, informative, and interactive virtual learning environment. After you’ve gained sufficient insight into your subject, you can create a script. Regardless of complexity, all scripts should have an end objective in mind. You need to establish what that goal is before you begin working. Do not lose your focus on the goal as you write the script, be it to educate, sell, or entertain.
Also, be sure to relax – your script doesn’t have to be worthy of a Pulitzer. Keep the content easy to follow and let your creative juices flow. Be sure you build your script for your intended audience, keeping in mind the best language and formality to reach your participants.
Your learning session scripts should have three main parts: an intro, a body, and an outro with a call to action. The call to action is especially important, as it tells your students where and how to apply this new knowledge.
Plan in Advance
It is of paramount importance to develop an in-depth framework for your virtual training program. This helps you organize the future training structure and stay on same page as your training instructors and facilitators. To make the content easier to remember for students, combine practical and theoretical elements as much as possible. Decide on how long your training session should be. Industry research shows that the most effective virtual training sessions top out at about 120 minutes long. At least two-thirds of this time should be spent on practical workshops and activities.
Creating materials well in advance will ensure you have enough time to edit, revise, test it for any flaws that might hinder delivery of the information.
Make it Unforgettable
Sometimes injecting even a little bit of personality and humor into your content can make eLearning a friendlier, more exciting experience. Always make sure to include an element of interactivity to encourage engagement and better connect with your audience too.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re using an active voice in learning materials. It gives your content energy and movement, helping keep your learners interested over the course of the training. Collaboration and interaction are key to a positive outcome of a learning process. You can use digital messaging, social sharing, discussion boards, and other interactive software tools to help your learners feel connected and stay motivated.
Learning is becoming more and more mobile, so be sure to format your content for tablets, smartphones, laptops, and other mobile devices. Ideally, you should build your learning materials to be responsive, able to adapt to any device.
Explain, Explain, Explain
Without a physically present instructor, participants are learning at their own pace in a virtual learning program. Even with that being the case, we always have to remember that no matter the format, learning involves communication between teacher and student, so support before, during, and after class is imperative to empower learners. Ask questions to make sure students comprehend the information you’ve provided and set aside time to answer student questions.
Pay Attention to Text
To avoid overwhelming viewers, there should be a maximum of five lines of text per screen on learning content. You’ll also want to be conscious of the font choice and size of the text you use in learning materials, as it has a substantial impact on the way learners perceive your content. According to a study conducted by the University of Washington, students are more likely to remember information written in a unique typeface than in an easy- to-read, standard one like Times New Roman or Arial.
Build Anticipation of Reward
In order to assess the effectiveness of your training, your program should end with some sort of test or assessment tool. To ensure students have the end-goal in mind throughout the learning experience, learning expectations and an outline of the assessment should be provided at the beginning the program. Instructors should also encourage students and reward good performance with positive reinforcement and certificates of completion.
A successful virtual learning program is simple, well-planned, complete with deep insight into the subject matter, and made memorable with the addition of personal touches. Learners should always feel supported and acknowledged for good performance. Incorporate these elements, and your virtual learning program will be informative, persuasive, and engaging for everyone involved.