Virtual Instructor-Led Training Best Practices
November 10, 2020
Learning Tips Straight to Your Inbox
Designing an Instructor-Led Training (ILT) can seem like a daunting task for even the most seasoned of enablement managers, but there are plenty of tried and true tips to guide you along the way. In this article, we’ll share some of the industry’s best practices for defining the learning objectives of your ILT, creating a lesson plan, delivering your training, engaging your audience, and collecting feedback the right way to measure impact. These tips are also optimized for remote learning, an important consideration as virtual Instructor-Led Trainings represent a new enablement reality.
In this post:
Define your learning objectives
Simply getting started can represent one of the biggest challenges in building a training, especially for subject matter experts who may not have experience or formal training as an instructor. Start by defining your learning objectives. What is the ultimate goal of your training? What exactly should attendees be able to do after they have completed the training? Consider what knowledge and expertise your trainees already have, and the skills they need to learn and build upon to do well in their role. Not only will answering these questions help you build out your training, it will also ensure that your session remains relevant to learners.
When tasked with leading a training on a complex range of topics, it is also important to organize your learning objectives. In this case, try creating a visual representation of the goals of the session. With color-coded sticky notes or a chart, map out your learning objectives by category. By separating areas of technical knowledge from communication skills, for example, you can begin to focus the structure of your training.
Build the training plan around learner experience
Once you’ve determined the learning objectives of the training, you’ll be able to structure the flow of information. In doing so, you’ll need to consider how you should present the information, how you’ll assess if trainees are grasping the material, and the amount of time it will take to cover each concept. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to keep the training as short as possible. Generally, a 20 minute session is a safe bet—most studies suggest that’s how long adults are able to sustain their attention.
In creating a plan, you should also consider how you might be able to make elements of the training interactive. Practice activities are crucial in the learning process, as they offer a safe space for learners to put new skills to the test. As the instructor, practice sessions also offer a glimpse of how well learners are grasping the information you’ve presented. Plan to incorporate a role play activity, practice test, game, scavenger hunt, or group discussion into your lesson plan.
Be intentional about content delivery
The first five minutes of your session are crucial in creating a safe and collaborative learning environment. Start the session with a simple icebreaker to start conversations among your participants. Once attendees have settled in, it’s time for you to set the ground rules for the training session—and share an agenda outlining the key objectives for the training. By assuring attendees that your session will be interesting and relevant to them, you’re more likely to have an engaged audience.
In delivering content, a good training session should follow this general flow: introduce the topic, lead a discussion about the topic, engage in a practice exercise, and debrief the topic. Along the way, you’ll want to ensure that learners are understanding the material. While nonverbal cues like nodding and eye contact can provide a general sense of whether or not learners are engaged, you can also provide check-ins along the way by asking questions and encouraging attendees to speak up.
Make sure your training’s worth it
The best training instructors are deliberate in keeping learners attentive and engaged throughout the session. Ahead of the lesson, you should jot down ideas for open and closed-ended questions to ask the audience at various points throughout the session. While open-ended questions are great to generate discussion, simple “yes or no” questions can help engage less talkative participants. For sessions with an introverted audience, try to break attendees into small groups or pairs of two for all discussions and activities—this will help reduce any anxiety around speaking in front of the larger group.
Once the training is complete, you’ll want to take steps to measure the success of the program. Attendee surveys will help you gather whether the course content and design was effective in delivering the objectives of your training. A mix of questions that can be answered with a scale (like “this training gave me information that will help me do my job well” and “I learned something new from this training”), as well as open-form questions should provide you with critical feedback to help you improve and adjust future trainings.
For best practices for building a Facilitator Guide and training your facilitators—check out our latest post!
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Maile TimonContent Strategist, WorkRamp
Maile Timon is WorkRamp’s Content Strategist. She has over 10 years of experience in content marketing and SEO and has written for several publications and industries, including B2B, marketing, lifestyle, health, and more. When she’s not writing or developing content strategies, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her family.
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