How to Plan a Successful Virtual Training Event

Virtual training events have some things in common with webinars—but in terms of planning and strategy, they can be quite different. While webinars can be quite interactive, there is usually little assessment, and the level of user engagement is not as high as it is during a virtual training session. As a result, virtual training events tend to be more complex. Here are a few tips for planning.

Define every role. Often, virtual training events involve a number of people—directors, presenters, technical team members, and facilitators, among others. It’s essential to plan and define the role of each team member, both before, during, and after the event. List the information each participant will need, and develop guides for producers, trainers, presenters, and others that will ensure a consistent level of quality.

Look to learning models. The structure of your virtual training event will vary depending on the industry requirements, topic, and other considerations—but there should be a defined structure based on established learning models.

Build in assessment and practice opportunities. This is even more important for formal virtual training events than it is for webinars. Luckily, there are a number of options and methods for doing this—including surveys and polls, question-and-answer opportunities; and games and mini-projects to assess student progress.

Rehearse. If this is a virtual event with facilitators, producers, and presenters in far-flung places, it’s essential to rehearse together several times. This will help you get a sense of the flow of the event, fine-tune your schedule and programming, and assess where each of your presenters fits into the structure.  It also gives you a chance to work out any glitches with your technology beforehand, if the platform is new to you.

Develop standards. It’s important for organizations to have standards for virtual instruction. This will ensure consistent quality, adherence to industry or regulatory standards if applicable, and an easier job for those in charge of making the virtual training event a success.  

Pay attention to pacing. Pacing is crucial to ensuring your attendees pay consistent attention—as many people fall off into multitasking if they aren’t completely engaged. Break your timeline into sections and include frequent interactive modules to keep your audience engaged and learning. Changing your slide every one to three minutes is generally advisable.

Virtual training events can be highly complex, and require a great deal of planning, documentation, and structure to ensure the attendees get as much out of the training as possible. With careful documentation, regularly-planned interactive and assessment opportunities, and formal rehearsals, you should be on your way to planning a successful training event.

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