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See How They Learn: Virtual Training Tips and Best Practices

March 25th, 2024 Michael Mayday

Planning a virtual training course, but worried about how engaged your audience will be with the digital experience? 

Well, worry no more. Running interesting, engaging and highly interactive virtual training sessions is easier than you think. It’s also a great way to scale your educational (and demand generation) content while providing always-on resources for partners, sales, customers and more. 

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Follow these virtual training best practices to learn how to deliver exceptional experiences, measure success and optimize your course material to your audience’s needs.

Set expectations early

Group of people looking at laptop

The first step to implementing a virtual training course is to plan it out. You’ll need to create two roadmaps for you and your team and your audience. To start, sit down with your marketing team — copywriters, webinar producers, demand gen marketers, designers, and anyone else you feel necessary — to define your virtual training program. Think about: 

    • Who is this course for
    • What they’ll learn
    • What your KPIs are 
    • How you can solve audience pain points
    • How you’ll promote your training
    • What is your on-demand strategy 
    • What assets and resources will you need 
    • Where will your training experience take participants next

With a roadmap in hand, you can start producing the assets you’ll use (slides, webinar consoles, reports, etc.). If you’re running a live course, set your live dates, begin production and start promoting your events (read more on webinar promotion best practices here).

After completing internal preparation, map out how you’ll set the stage for virtual training participants. Details about virtual training should be highlighted on every webinar landing page, promoted on homepage banners, shared over social media and announced on nearly any channel your target audience is on. 

Each virtual training session should start with a brief housekeeping section. During housekeeping, explain what your attendees will learn, what materials and resources are available to them within the experience and remind participants of what they stand to gain from completing your class. 

You’ll also want to highlight any engagement tools — like polls, Q&As, certifications, quizzes and related content — they can use during the training experience. 

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Engagement tools are important for two reasons: First, they help you understand how impactful your training is, letting you know who’s participating in your course, where they’re interacting, and which trainers perform best. Second, they provide participants with the ability to engage with the content you’re presenting — from responding to questions and quizzes to downloading resources and signing up for the next session. 

If you include engagement tools in your training (and you should), call them out in your housekeeping section and explain what attendees can do with each tool. 

Let your content inform your format

Worker looking at a laptop.

Making slide decks the focal point of any virtual training experience is easy. While slides can be powerful, there are other formats you can use to educate your audience. 

For example, videos are an excellent way to share information on physical products. Valeo, a European automaker company, has mastered the art of integrating product videos into their training webinars for its global audience of mechanics — going so far as to issue certificates for virtual training completions. 

Another good tactic to consider are interactive panels led by key opinion leaders. These panels allow audiences to ask industry experts questions and provide an open-ended format for high-level discussion. 

Breakout into groups

Female waving at laptop

Everyone likes a good group project. They help peers learn from one another, introduce participants to fresh perspectives and usually provide a tangible outcome. But can you facilitate these group activities over digital channels? 

Of course you can. You just need to think through how you’ll approach it. 

When it comes to group projects in a virtual class, think about what you want the group activity to achieve. Ask yourself a few questions like: 

    • What outcome do we want from the group activity? 
    • What do we want participants to learn? 
    • Will there be downloadable materials? 
    • How many people to a group? 
    • Should they all focus on the same topic, or should each group have its own focus? 
    • Should you appoint a group leader or host?  
    • Will groups share their work? 

You’ll also want to think through the virtual format you’ll use for your group activity. Effective training webinars have the ability to breakout into individual training sessions or are delivered as discussion-based experiences. 

Reduce your slides

Male smiling at laptop

Nearly every webinar or virtual training will feature slides on some level. But slide decks are not the be-all and end-all of digital presentations. Give your audiences something to look at by breaking up your training slides with video clips, polls, graphics and — most importantly — an engaging presenter. 

Break it up

Person holding phone and looking off.

To keep busy sales forces, partners and customers informed, training materials need to be ready and available when they are. Creating an on-demand training resource that audiences can access through a centralized content hub, like those powered by ON24 Engagement Hub, can help.

Creating an on-demand training experience is particularly helpful if you have a lot of material to cover — like a deep dive into a particular suite of products, profession-based skills or in-depth sales training. Map your training sessions out and make sure your sessions are organized in a logical progression from beginner to expert.

By breaking complex and dense material down into digestible slices, you make it easier for participants to process and learn at their own pace. Doing so also provides you with an opportunity to identify weak points in your training, like where participants drop off, for optimization.  

If you have a lot of material to go through, consider offering your participants a certificate of completion as an added incentive to complete the course. Using certifications as a motivator is even more powerful if they can be used as continuous professional education credits.

Make certification a selling point

Female smiling at tablet

One of the beautiful things about virtual training is its ability to scale everything and even enhance it through real-time certifications. For marketing teams, offering certifications provides a lot of benefits, including quality insights into the topics and content that drive engagement and conversions. 

Real-time certifications provide attendees with a tangible benefit — provided they meet the criteria necessary to obtain a certificate — for completing your virtual training event. Once they pass your course, they can download a certificate and prove to the world that they know their stuff. 

And for some professionals — particularly those in the health care, insurance and professional services fields — being able to prove your knowledge is essential. In many cases, employees in these fields must obtain a certain amount of continuing professional education credits — certificates proving a professional is learning about developments in the field — to maintain licensure.

So, offering certifications is a huge plus for both attendees and organizations hosting virtual training events. Participants get to grow their understanding of their field and certificates and businesses get increased brand awareness, improved customer loyalty and high-quality engagement with attendees. 

Get feedback on your training program

Female looking at laptop

How were your attendees reacting to the different elements of your online lesson? How can you improve engagement? What could you do better? There are plenty of ways to measure and analyze feedback on your session —and it’s important to review this data if you want to improve your delivery in the future. 

Tips for measuring the success of your virtual training event include:

Create interactive polls 

These will give you excellent feedback on how much value your learners are getting from your session, in real time. 

Sending out post-training surveys 

Post-webinar surveys are an excellent way to assess the success of your virtual training course. Learn more about post-webinar survey best practices here. 

Follow up with additional content and resources

Your learning experience doesn’t need to end the moment everybody logs off. We recommend continuously updating an always-on content hub to with articles, videos, case studies, worksheets, videos and other virtual training resources that will enhance your brand’s leadership on a topic and empower your participants to stay up to date on the latest. 

Embrace the power of CTAs

Think back to the beginning of this article. Remember when we said you should think about where your training will take participants next? Embedded CTAs are the link between your virtual training experience and the next step — and they’re also a powerful tool to measure the success of your training. 

Use CTAs — or Take Action tools — to provide participants with the next step in their buying, partner or customer journey. Use them to send attendees to additional training, upcoming live webinars or even refer them to sales reps for potential upsell opportunities. 

Tracking and analyzing audience interactions 

Getting unified insights can help you determine what worked well, and what wasn’t so well received. To truly analyze the effectiveness of your training, you need to be able to measure how engaged attendees are down to the individual level through first-party insights.

Delivering effective virtual training today means creating highly immersive, interactive and engaging experiences that deliver the tools and resources your audiences need to be successful. Whether delivered through webinars, virtual training events or always-on training hubs, your learning experiences need to be easy to find, easy to access and truly helpful. 

And that’s it! A lot goes into creating a virtual training, but with the right plan, the right tools and a long-term strategy, you can easily set up an effective, impactful virtual training program. 

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