Virtual training can feel daunting to everyone involved – It can feel daunting for the organizer of the training, for the facilitator, and especially for the participant.
In a previous article, we focused on how to shift training to the virtual space from the classroom, by investigating the logistical and content differences between effective in-classroom and virtual training environments.
In our most recent article, we look at how to drive true learning impact in the virtual space, with a keen focus on the facilitator and the structure of the instruction.
In this article, we focus on the participant. Participants are often skeptical when it comes to how they will actually learn and network in a virtual environment, and how they will stay focused when there are so many distractions at their fingertips.
We’ve been delivering fully virtual simulations and leadership training programs since 2014, and through trial and error have identified four key preparatory steps for participants to ensure they get the most out of the experience. It’s important when considering building leadership training programs that you create effective variety in your programming.
Not only do the steps below enhance the experience, conveying them in advance tells participants that a great deal of thought and organization has gone into ensuring this is a smooth virtual experience and a productive use of their time.
- Set-up an out of office message on your email and hang a sign on your cubicle or home office door to inform others that you are in training. Sign out of your work chat application or mute your notifications so that you can control when you see them. Suggest people call your cell if it is an emergency. This gives you peace of mind that you can be reached in an emergency and the space to invest in yourself by creating the right frame of mind to focus.
- Prepare for the day as though you are going to an in-person training. Choose a location in your home that is comfortable and test your bandwidth to ensure you have adequate speeds to support video and audio.
- Check (and double-check) the times of the training. Make sure you show up on time and prepared. If due to meeting the needs of divergent time zones the session goes over a standard mealtime, have some easy to grab snack handy that make refueling on breaks easy to keep your energy high.
- Participate! More of a tip for during the training rather than preparing for it – But you’ll get out of it what you put in. If you aren’t comfortable speaking, then engage heavily in the chat. If you are having a side conversation with a coworker, consider pulling it into the main chat to engage others in the conversation. Be the leader that curates the experience you want rather than the person who laments what it never could have been.
Following these four guidelines will help participants feel more at ease in their virtual training rooms and get more value from the training itself. If you aren’t sure where to start in designing your next virtual training program, our Virtual Training Infographic breaks down our philosophy and keys to design and implementation success.