Murphy’s Law & Virtual Training: 3 Steps to Make it Smooth Sailing
Have you tried something new in a live training and had it not go as planned? When you are an accomplished trainer with a depth of knowledge in your subject, you can wing it when needed. You can try something different knowing you can pull out your Plan B. You are getting immediate feedback, and can modify on the fly. After the training, assuming you achieved the client objectives in a professional way, the predominant impression will not be impacted by the experiment you ran.
But Virtual Training is Different
When your learner is in front of their computer in a virtual training environment, what doesn’t work is very noticeable. Hang-ups in software, polls, screen sharing and such can stop the presentation dead in its tracks.
If it is “asynchronous” (virtual training lingo for online training that is not in real-time), you are not there to notice, to fix it, to schmooze it over — then quickly go to Plan B. It can stop your learner, and make it impossible for them to finish.
Make ‘Plan A’ Work
Since ‘Plan A’ has to work, here are a few lessons learned:
1) Build in more development time
If you regularly find yourself finalizing handouts and plans in the last few days before a client engagement, change your process for virtual training. Have the development phase done early enough so you can test, test, test.
Here’s my testing checklist for a quality control reviewer:
- Grammar and typos in handouts and online modules
- Usability, navigation and module functionality
- Consistency – Do you say tutorial on one slide and module on another when you mean the same thing?
- Compatibility – Test using different browsers on a PC and Mac
- Accuracy – Does a slide refer to Handout Page 4, when the material in your handouts was redone and that material is now on Page 5?
You might also consider asking a learner to test, as long as they have the same knowledge level that your learners will have. Or, ask a a subject matter expert if you are not one yourself in all aspects of the content.
3) Get help
In my in-person training world, I have years and years of experience and NSA under my belt. Virtual is a new medium and it is significantly different.
If you are developing a virtual training series that you will sell for five figures and up to clients, consider working with an instructional designer. I worked with a CPLP (Certified Professional in Learning and Performance certification through the American Society of Training and Development) for one project top to bottom. The result was a much better course than I could have made, and I now have a template for how to develop a virtual training project.