In this fourth, and last installment of series taken from our book, The Learning eXPLOSION: 9 Rules to Ignite Your Virtual Classrooms, we address the delivery of a virtual classroom session.
The number one concern we hear from new virtual classroom instructors is how to engage learners. The guidance we give these instructors is to start by understanding the virtual learning environment and then working on their delivery technique.
While there are distinct differences between Instructor-led Training (ILT) and virtual classrooms, there are also many similarities. Like preparing your physical learning environment. In your ILT classroom you take time to set up the projector, flip charts, tables, and chairs. Some of you also check the temperature of the training room, and even provide “toys” for people to use during the training.
Since this same principle applies to the virtual classroom, you should pay just as much attention to getting your virtual learning environment ready for the instructor and learners.
Proven Methods of Preparing Your Virtual Learning Environment
1. Learner Preparation
- Before attending the event check to see that you have all the right equipment and strong network connection.
- Print out any necessary materials.
- Warn your coworkers and boss beforehand that you will be busy during that time.
- Place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door (or somewhere conspicuous in your cubicle).
- Turn your cell phone off, not just on vibrate.
- Eliminate all sources of noise or interruptions.
- Shut down all other programs on your computer—especially email.
- Have a bottle of water and snack on hand.
- Visit the restroom beforehand.
2. Instructor Preparation
- Apply all of the same practices you are asking your learners to follow.
- Since your computer is your training room, take precautionary steps to ensure that it is functioning properly.
- If you facilitate many virtual classroom events it’s advisable to have a second computer as a back up. While this may seem extreme, the first time your computer dies, you will thank us.
- The same could be said of your network connection. A higher-end, more reliable connection is always safer and faster than the opposite, plus your learners will thank you for a better quality experience.
- Never facilitate a virtual classroom event form a hotel room unless you have tested the reliability of the connection. Most hotels claim to have a good connection, but very few can back up that statement.
- Warm up your voice and get energized. Our friend Dave actually puts on his favorite rock song and sings along to before going “on stage.”