What is virtual instructor lead training? Before COVID, most training and coaching I sold was delivered live and onsite.
At least 70-80% of the training I deliver these days is online. I work with sales leaders and their teams in different time zones sometimes without ever having seen them face-to-face.
Ocasionally – as was the case last week – I got to meet some of the delgates onsite in their offices for some refresher training. But this is unusual for me. What about you?
Running my business involves scheduling almost exclusively virtual instructor lead training (VILT) or virtual coaching. My clients expect it and the consultants I hire tend to prefer it.
What about you ?
- What does virtual instructor lead training mean to you?
- Which do you feel you get better results from?
- What do your clients think about VILT?
In this brief article, I am going to define virtual instructor lead training for you. I am going to give you real-world examples of VILT as well as the key advantages and disadvantages.
Just what is virtual instructor lead training?
Virtual Instructor Lead Training (that’s quite a mouthful) is the ‘technical’ name given to the kind of training delivered in real-time over the internet.
‘Virtual‘ means that it is delivered online. Think of Zoom or Teams etc.
‘Instructor‘ means it is delivered by a human. It is not artificial intelligence.
‘Lead‘ means is it facilitated live (synchronous learning). It is not e-learning where the user chooses what they want to learn and in which order (asynchronous learning).
‘Training‘ (self-explanatory) suggests that it is a transfer of knowledge from a subject-matter expert to a student or delegate.
Ok. So what is Virtual Classroom Training (VCT) ?
People are sometimes confused when they hear ‘virtual instructor lead training’. It sounds like the instructor is a virtual-human.
When I first heard the term virtual-instructor, I had visions of training delivered by a computer-generated face. I watch a lot of elearning content!
But with VILT, the classroom is only the thing that’s virtual. This is why you will sometimes hear it called VCT or Virtual Classroom Training. It’s the same thing. Got it?
Universities are now ‘reimagining the classroom‘. Training and coaching professionals also need to think or rethink how we deliver our programs and services. Virtual or Onsite?
What is Virtual Instructor Lead Training? It’s training delivered in real-time over the internet…
5 things you need for virtual instructor lead training
I am glad you asked because a lot of VILT (in my experience) is substandard. The good news is It doesn’t have to be that way
Here are 5 things to consider.
1. High-speed internet connection (I aim for at least 5 MB per second) so you don’t get the grainy effect you sometimes see when people ‘freeze’.
2. Really good camera. Don’t go ‘cheap’ here. You can use your in-built camera. But I prefer to use a separate USB camera (HD 1080 pixels) to make a really great impression.
3. Quality microphone. You have lots of options here. But the keyword is quality. You can use a lapel mic or headset but if people cannot hear you, they are not going to engage with you.
4. Proper lighting. Natural light is best. If you don’t have enough, you need to Invest in (or borrow) good lighting. If people cannot see you, they are missing non-verbal communication.
5. The right platform. You might like Zoom or Teams. Whatever you use, make sure you have the features you need such as breakout rooms, whiteboard, chat, shared screens etc.
Advantages of Virtual Instructor lead training
There are pros and cons to every learning modality. As a training professional, I believe that the best results are when people are highly engaged no matter whether virtual or onsite.
Here are some advantages to virtual instructor lead training
1. Reach. Are some of your team travelling? Maybe Greg is the office and Hamid is at home. No problem. You can run inclusive training no matter where people are.
2. Cost. You don’t have to pay air-fares and train-fares. And you don’t have to have the trainer or facilitator on site either. Theses days, this is a huge cost-saving to HR.
3. Scheduling. If you need to change or postpone training, you can easily and quickly reschedule without having too much impact on people’s travel calendars.
4. Recording. Want to watch the playback? Perhaps there are moments you’d like to capture for future onboarding. With platforms like Zoom, you can record the training with one click,
5. Attention Span. People increaslingly just don’t want to spend an entire day on training. They want sessions that can be delivered in shorter bursts. As a trainer, this suits mee too.
The best results are when people are highly engaged no matter whether virtual or onsite…
What is virtual instructor lead training in terms of set up?
1. Write out the goals for your training program. Do you want people onsite or offsite? Perhaps you want a hybrid solution where some are in the room and others are not.
2. Decide whether you need a producer to handle things like chats, waiting rooms and permissions. VILT is more work than many trainers can handle on their own.
3. Design your program to encompass best-practice. Factor in breaks, activities and tools like Miro to get people involved. 30 mins of non-stop slides kills attention.
4. Ensure that invites are sent out along with any pre-work. Consider recording joining instructions and email people the link to watch them. Loom is ideal for this purpose!
5. Get feedback from your delegates / clients. Which part of the virtual training did they find engaging? What is the best training format for next time? Run a survey to find out.
Examples of Virtual Instructor Lead Training
Dave Birss trains people how to deliver impactful presentations that engage participants
Bianca Calhoun Lager runs remote trainings with groups or cohorts over several weeks
Michael Fearne delivers leadership training to corporate clients using Lego Serious Play
Over to you
People ask me all the time. What is virtual instructor lead training? I tell them: you can call it virtual training or online training or VILT but what’s more important is the result of your training.
And the next time someone asks you what is virtual instructor training, you can answer them confidently and create a VILT training that works for them and you!