Jul 2, 2015 // Tips and Tricks
7 Tips for Delivering Engaging Live Online Training Experiences
Live online training offers many advantages. Not only does the live interaction enable the trainer to carefully and clearly guide the trainee through the course material, live trainings also help attendees to engage with the content, stay motivated during the experience, and to absorb the information. In this post, I will share tips and information about the best practices for designing memorable and interactive live online training courses.
Designing instructor-led online training courses can be a complex process, particularly if you have to ensure that specific goals and performance objectives are met. Follow these guidelines to ensure that your trainings are designed for optimum results.
1. Set Expectations Ahead of Time
While online training events offer more flexible meeting times, it can lend itself to distractions. When employees are not being watched, they may feel as though they can get away with checking instant messages and emails during the meeting. When you send out the training schedule, be sure to mention:
- Expectations they should meet before and during the online training event.
- The level of participation you expect.
- That you would appreciate them attending from a distraction-free environment.
2. Keep It Interactive
Instead of text-heavy presentations, keep it light to encourage participation from employees. This will help them feel as though they are involved and even somewhat in control of the experience. They will be motivated to learn more effectively if you avoid large text blocks and lengthy lectures, and instead:
- Include stories that translate into real life benefits,
- Provide realistic scenarios with learning opportunities,
- Offer questions, polls or activities that allow them to interact with you and with their colleagues.
3. Keep Them Engaged
It is important to pull your audience’s attention back to the online training experience. Sometimes, there are unavoidable distractions, or their minds may drift towards their lengthy to-do lists. As the trainer, you have to ensure that you pique their interest every five minutes by:
- Drawing their attention to specific benefits of learning the subject matter at hand.
- Posing questions that help them reflect on the topic.
- Offering an online task or activity to complete.
4. Boost Collaboration
When it comes to online learning, less is more. By keeping your class relatively small, everyone will have the opportunity to participate. TrainTool suggests that groups of 5 are the ideal size for online group skills trainings.
Every group has a few employees who are more reserved when it comes to large group settings. By breaking your audience into smaller groups of two or three employees and encouraging them to complete an activity, you can give every employee the opportunity to offer input without feeling judged. Each employee can learn from the experience of another.
5. Test and Employ the Right Tools for the Job
Note the old saying, “a carpenter is only as good as his tools”. Go through your entire training course – every element of the training material – and think about what online training software features and functionality you will require in order to ensure you select the right tool. For example, a whiteboard, polls, status updates or a “raise hand” function for your trainees, etc. You will also want to ensure you have a reliable way to schedule your online trainings so attendees receive the invite with all details and can quickly save it in their calendars.
If you are new to hosting live online trainings or about to use a new tool, be sure to give it a thorough test with a colleague. It’s best to familiarize yourself with the software and its features before a training session, rather than during.
6. Create Supporting Materials
Enhance the virtual learning experience by developing supplementary activities, or printable handouts that they can study at their leisure. Online exercises are also beneficial, but you can even find relevant YouTube videos, if you wish. Service Skills Australia provides excellent options to help you decide on the ideal support materials, as well as a range of resources to help you create your own training materials.
7. Understand Your Trainees
It is important to match your tone, narrative voice and pace to the experience level and background of your trainees. You can more easily cover a large volume of industry jargon with your experienced sales team than with brand new hires. However, regardless of the dynamics of your audience, you should speak enthusiastically, clearly and concisely. Don’t rush through the content, as you will lose their attention.
By following these seven best practices, you will form a solid foundation of live online training skills as well as equip your employees with the resources and knowledge required to build their own skill sets.
Check out our 6-step guide for delivering professional web conferences here.
Written by: Andrew Donnelly
Andrew Donnelly is the Online Marketing Manager for Mikogo. He manages the Mikogo websites and is responsible for co-ordinating all website product projects including content creation, communications, social media, press relations, and more. He blogs on a variety of topics related to online collaboration, web conferencing, SaaS and remote work.
Find Andrew on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mktad