Best practices for getting the most out of virtual workplace training

Reimagining workplace training in 2021, with virtual learning technology.
29 April 2021

A person watches a teaching video as part of his training program. Source: FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP

Within the challenging global climate most of us are currently dealing with, it is not surprising that a host of common workplace scenarios have been turned over, and we are facing a paradigm shift as far as working from home and communicating within the work environment is concerned.

Probably even more distressing is the situation faced by thousands of new hires, interns, and workers who were in the process of upskilling their talents in workplace training sessions throughout the globe.

What happens to them now? Is the training program abandoned, perhaps to be resumed once the travel bans and social distancing orders are over? How can organizations ensure their teams remain fully informed, even improve workplace efficiency, when conducting in-person sessions is out of the question?

We have to turn to technology-driven remote solutions. Experienced Learning Management Systems (LMS) users can refer to TechRadar’s guide to the best online learning platforms for employers, but for those just setting out to continue planned training modules in an online setting, here’s what you have to prepare for:

Set priorities beforehand

Have a planning session with the team to set deadlines for desired goals and milestones, then use enterprise productivity apps like Microsoft Teams and Slack to keep tabs on areas that need improvement for each team member.

Teams and Slack is great for quick textual updates where you can refer back to the conversation thread, while video conferencing software like Zoom and Jisit can allow virtual face-to-face interactions with even large groups, enabling even larger seminars such as cross-departmental training sessions.

Harnessing the power of collaborative tools

Encourage the use of applicable collaboration tools, to better help keep the learners engaged and better invested in their training. For example, Zoom calls come with a suite of interactive options, including file-sharing and editing, drawing pen, and writing pen tools to share information with each other in real-time.

Establishing the use of microphones and webcams from the outset is also powerful, even if your planned training session is intended to be one-way communication. This keeps your trainees focused on the lesson instead of drifting out or paying attention to something else off-screen.

Many tools now incorporate breakout channels, whereby the team can be broken into smaller groups for in-depth discussion, Q&A, or group activities– just like in real-life training!

Choose the right people to lead sessions

This type of workplace training will be a novel approach for many people involved, and that could include the trainers and facilitators who need to effectively transmit the information to make the most of each session. Trainers need to be adequately prepped with notes, presentation tools, responses to frequently asked questions, and any other relevant data that will aid them in feeling confident and commanding when they ‘stand’ on the virtual podium,

In some cases, it might be wise to invest in proper workplace training for facilitators as well, to maintain the quality standards one might expect from the physical sessions.

Tap into individual personalities

Working with different people often leads to understanding different personality archetypes. Take note of introverted employees, for instance, who would not respond positively to being put on the spot in a group setting. Introverts might however respond to exercises that call for quiet reflection time where they dwell on the day’s training in an austere environment, or be better prepared for sessions by receiving the lesson plans ahead of time.

Extroverts on the other end of the spectrum, might need to verbalize in order to structure their thoughts, and might benefit from interactive exercises and group discussions on the mic.