5 Tips for Converting In-person Training to Virtual Delivery

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With social distancing guidelines and travel restrictions becoming the norm, opportunities for in-person training are becoming limited or non-existent all together. We have compiled a checklist to help you move from in-person training to virtual delivery.

1. Evaluate scheduling options

When training is conducted in person, participants are typically located in a meeting room with the instructor, so there are limited distractions. A virtual classroom is more challenging because attendees may fall into the habit of checking emails or working on other tasks while they are attending a training session. In addition, instructors do not have the benefit of gauging non-verbal cues to identify whether attendees are engaging with the content.

A best practice for virtual training is to limit sessions to no more than 60-90 minutes in length. For longer training meetings, consider splitting these into shorter sessions or spreading them across multiple days. Be sure to include scheduled breaks so that learners have time to grab a cup of coffee and stretch their legs.

2. Review the training content

Engage participants from the beginning of the session with an icebreaker. This can be as simple as asking everyone to share a fact or answer a question about themselves. If you have a larger group, think about including a chat box or using a collaborative platform like Padlet. This will create an environment that encourages participation.

When converting from in-person training to a virtual classroom, the material may need to be updated to include frequent opportunities for learners to participate. To gauge participation, instructors can have participants click an emoji to indicate that they understand a session, or they can launch a poll with a question or two to confirm their knowledge. Be creative when thinking about ways to keep participants engaged.

3. Communicate your technology choice

There are many popular platform choices (Ex: Zoom, WebEx, etc.) to deliver your training virtually. Some of these choices may even have free options, but it is important to review the restrictions and limitations of the free versions. For example, Zoom’s free version only allows you to meet for 40 minutes and phone access is disabled. Additionally, check with your IT or technology team to see if your organization has a standard virtual meeting app that is provided for all employees and can be used for training.

Regardless of your choice, be sure to provide information about the selected application in advance of the session and include guidelines that participants can use to verify their access prior to the session.

4. Set expectations with the participants

Let the participants know what to expect during the virtual session. They likely have questions about whether they should have their camera turned on, how they should ask questions, and how they will use the tools in the virtual meeting app.

When providing the link to a virtual meeting, include guidelines that will help participants prepare for the session. At the beginning of the class, take a few minutes to review housekeeping items including key features of the meeting app that they will be using.

5. Include a feedback opportunity

Include a process for seeking feedback after the session. Ask participants what worked well and what could be improved in the future. This can be done with a short discussion at the end or with a post-meeting survey. Information gathered can be used to make improvements for the next training session.

If you have other strategies you’ve found particularly helpful toward converting in-person training to virtual delivery, please share them in the comment section below.

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