Virtual Facilitator Guide: Best Practices and Techniques
As we all know by now, virtual training is the new normal. Post-coronavirus, Brandon Hall Group research shows that the remote workforce will remain two to three times larger than before.
Have you been thinking about using a virtual classroom to train employees remotely?
Not sure how to be an effective virtual training facilitator?
Think of this article as your virtual training facilitator guide. We’re going to talk about improving your virtual facilitation skills and provide a series of online training techniques and tools.
What is the Difference Between a Trainer and a Facilitator?
Before we dive into what it takes to be a good e-learning facilitator or address facilitator best practices, let's make sure you understand the difference between facilitators and trainers.
- A trainer provides instruction and conducts a course or program. They’ve got the knowledge, and they're in charge of passing it down to learners.
- A facilitator guides the lessons, instead of lecturing, giving participants the chance to take responsibility for their learning.
Now that we’ve covered some basics let’s talk more about facilitating a virtual classroom.
5 Common Challenges of Virtual Classroom Facilitation
When it comes to virtual facilitation training, facilitators must overcome new hurdles due to learning being entirely online. Here are some common challenges you may face once you step into your new role as an e-learning facilitator.
1. Keeping Learners Engaged
Some of the benefits of e-learning include higher profit margins, reduced training time, and increased retention rates – all good things! However, one of the most glaring downsides is an increase in learner distraction. And yes, distractions happen in the physical workplace too, but virtual facilitators play a crucial role in keeping everyone engaged online.
2. Building a Virtual Connection
As a virtual facilitator, you might find that you struggle to connect with learners. When you're not physically in a classroom, the extra barrier can make it even harder for you to connect with them. In turn, the distance may hold you back from making a strong first impression and helping employees maximize their training and educational opportunities.
3. Maintaining Employee Morale
Part of being a facilitator is engaging employees, and a large piece of this pie includes morale. It's easy for folks to feel discouraged or frustrated during virtual training programs and literally “sign off.” A great virtual facilitator can make all of the difference by creating a safe space for learners to collaborate, challenge, encourage one another, and succeed together.
4. Receiving Critical Feedback
E-learning facilitators will often receive feedback surveys from virtual trainees after a course is over. The feedback can go both ways, considering you’ll most likely provide learner feedback throughout their training. People tend to be bolder when they’re typing from behind a screen, but you can use those messages to your benefit. If you receive critical feedback, find ways to constructively use it to improve your online training techniques for next time.
5. Measuring Virtual Classroom Progress
Finally, it's up to facilitators to keep track of employees' learning progress and monitor how they're doing along the way. Measurement isn't just about recording quiz scores or noting how close everyone is to completing the program. When you monitor learners, you can identify potential knowledge gaps, high and low-performance patterns, and course-correct before learners form bad habits.
Virtual Facilitation Techniques for Trainers
After reading about some of the challenges associated with being an e-learning facilitator in a virtual classroom, you might be wondering if you're ready for the role.
Don’t doubt yourself, you are! You'll just need to learn some online training techniques first.
Choose the Right System
Part of being an effective virtual facilitator is choosing the right virtual training system. When making a decision, consider if the content is engaging and customizable. If you’re wondering how to train facilitators, Unboxed Training & Technology provides a robust facilitator’s guide in our virtual instructor-led training toolkit.
To ensure effective and successful training for your employees, plan and review materials before training begins. If you just wing it without checking anything before the first day of training, you'll have a more challenging time answering questions and providing helpful guidance. Don’t start day one on the rocks. Make a great first impression by being well-prepared with a VILT toolkit.
Make Space for Breaks
Once you complete virtual facilitation training, you'll likely learn about the importance of breaks. If you don't give your virtual classroom breaks during training, you'll have difficulty keeping people engaged and maintaining morale in the group. People need a chance to grab a snack, stretch their legs, and allow what they're learning to sink in.
Give Constructive Feedback
When you facilitate a virtual training classroom, approach your learners as their coach. If people feel that your critiques are ultimately for their benefit so that they can improve, they’ll be more inclined to receive what you have to say. If you’re critical without knowing how to give good feedback, you may stunt learners’ growth.
Ask for feedback from learners at the end of a virtual course to improve your training style. Surveying learners allows them to make suggestions and give insight into what worked and what fell flat in the virtual classroom. Accepting their feedback will help you become a better facilitator and ensure learners always get the most out of virtual training.
Become a Better Virtual Training Facilitator Today
At first, the idea of being a virtual training facilitator might seem a bit intimidating, but we’ve got the virtual training resources you need to succeed remotely!
Keep these training tips on how to facilitate a training class in mind as you embrace the new normal of virtual training. For more corporate training tips, techniques, and tools, contact Unboxed Training & Technology by calling (888) 723-9770.
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Download our Virtual Training Toolkit to ensure your team is thriving – not just surviving – online.
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