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Rod Webb

Glasstap Limited

Director and Co-Founder

Read more from Rod Webb

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Tips for Virtual Delivery – Part 1: The Basics


Some believed that virtual delivery was a short term 'fix' in response to the unique challenges of the pandemic, and that the old norms would return as soon as it was over. 

However, the fact that it has allowed many organisations to dramatically reduce costs, whilst eliminating travel and thereby helping the environment, means that virtual delivery is here to stay. L&D professionals who are not comfortable with this method of delivery or who lack the skills to embrace the change, will find themselves increasingly left behind.

The good news is that the skills aren’t dissimilar to those already used. And the further good news is that training delivered virtually can be as effective, engaging and enjoyable as training delivered face-to-face - as long as a few basic rules are followed. 

Over the next couple of blogs, I’ll share my top tips for success, starting today with the three basics:


1. Choose a system that supports learning:

It’s important to choose the system you’ll use to support your virtual delivery carefully. As a minimum, your chosen solution should:

  • Enable you and participants to share screens.
  • Have a breakout room system that makes it easy to move participants from room to room and for you to drop in to monitor progress, provide guidance or simply observe teams at work. In short, if the breakout system you’re using doesn’t replicate what you could do with syndicate rooms in the real world, it’s not good enough.
  • Run polls.
  • Stream video clips.
  • Send files and links to participants.
  • Enable chat between you and participants and between participants. 

Essentially, you’re looking for a system that replicates as closely as possible the classroom experience. My favourite is Zoom because it offers all of this functionality (and more) and uses an interface that is relatively simple for both trainers and learners to learn and use. 


2. Keep your group small: 

If you want to provide training that is engaging and learner led, then keep the number of participants in each session down. I recommend a maximum of 12, which might be fewer than you’d comfortably manage in a classroom setting and until you’re confident with remote delivery, I’d suggest keeping the number down to about 8. This is because you’ll need all your concentration and focus to keep everyone involved, and to spot what’s going on in the ‘room’ like changes in body language and posture. 

If you have too many people in the room, you’ll no longer be facilitating learning, you’ll be presenting a webinar – and the two are very, very different.


3. Keep sessions short:

Another reason to keep your groups small is that you should be keeping your learning sessions short. When time is tight, having fewer people in the room is the best way to ensure everyone can still participate and be heard. 

Virtual learning lends itself to bitesize sessions, particularly if you’re working with the same people over a long period. But, as we’ve proven, it’s also possible to run half-day or full-day workshops virtually, as long as they’re engaging and involve lots of different activities. But whilst a full-day in the classroom might involve 6 hours, aim for no more than 4.5 hours in a full day’s virtual workshop. Start late, finish early and build in plenty of breaks. (To discourage people from simply checking email or returning to work in these breaks, give them an activity to complete during the break that requires them to leave their desk!)


Next time I’ll provide some key tips around interaction and content. Until then, I’d love to know what your thoughts on my first three tips and how you’d build on them so please do add a comment below.

Author Profile Picture
Rod Webb

Director and Co-Founder

Read more from Rod Webb

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