With almost 90% of companies using some form of technology to enable or enhance learning, it is critical to have an effective virtual instructor-led training (VILT) program. The following tips will help drive success and effectiveness in your VILT software efforts:
- Choose essential content. Identify what content is critical to the success of your VILT class, such as reading materials, videos, lectures, exams, lab exercises and assignments. Once you’ve identified the critical content, ensure your VILT software can support all of it then work with your curriculum developers to build an engaging class around the content.
- Understand the power of interactive features. Because VILT software doesn’t provide face-to-face interactions, it is important to encourage student interaction via interactive features. Use polls, quizzes, test-your-knowledge questions, breakout groups and emoticons to keep students involved and engaged.
- Catch—and keep—their attention. Multimedia is the secret ingredient to catching students’ attention and keeping it. So focus your efforts on engaging their senses throughout the class by regularly switching between lecture and videos, or lecture and lab time.
- Keep it short and sweet. The human brain’s short-term memory can only hold 7 pieces of information for about 30 seconds. That means the brain quickly forgets large amounts of information—which doesn't bode well in a VILT environment. As a result, keep your VILT sessions short. Information overload is a surefire way to lose your students before the class even gets underway.
- Keep it small. Remember the huge lecture halls in college where you took a class with 100 other students and hardly knew anyone in your class? We know that traditional classroom size matters—and guess what? Classroom size also matters in VILT. The fact is that the smaller the number of students, the stronger the interaction. And stronger interactions equate to a more successful VILT class.
- Consider an assistant instructor. If you are teaching your first VILT class—or if your class has more than 20 students—ask a colleague familiar with the VILT software to be your assistant instructor. An assistant can provide support and handle chat messages, which keeps you focused on providing training. In addition, assistant instructors can help students troubleshoot lab exercises or assist students in obtaining course materials.
- Prepare students and assistant instructors. Assume this is everyone’s first time working in a VILT environment. Send them guides and instructions on how to enter the VILT classroom and how to use the VILT software. For ReadyTech customers, contact your Customer Success Manager for manuals, instructions and guides.
- Practice by yourself. Prior to your VILT class, practice giving the class to an empty virtual classroom. This allows you to iron-out kinks, smooth out your transitions and get comfortable with the VILT software.
- Recruit family and friends. After you’ve practiced by yourself, practice in front of friends and family. Give them access to your virtual classroom and deliver your class. Then give them a feedback form covering content, transitions, pace and delivery.
- Keep technical support handy. In case you need it, know how to get help from your VILT software provider. ReadyTech customers can contact the 24/7/365 Live Support Team at +1 (800) 707-1009 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Get to know your students. At the start of class, do an icebreaker exercise with your students. Get to know them and ask then to complete their profile in ReadyTech’s Lobby, their reasons for taking the class and their current role in their organization. If you have more than 20 students, consider having your assistant instructor help.