Watermark Learning has seen an increasing trend in the number of students participating in our courses through our Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT). We keep these classes small and ensure the instructors are the top in their fields to provide the best learning experience for the students.
Virtual training comes with a unique set of challenges. Watermark Learning instructors and staff have worked together to develop a program for VILT training delivery based on the lessons learned from our collective experience. Here are some ideas for students to get the most out of that training.
1. The Right Tools
You need the right tools to get the most out of our training. Our classes are interactive and much student interaction is planned. A good VoIP headset is your best bet. The headphones provide the best quality sound when listening to your instructor and following students, and even more importantly, an integrated microphone helps you be heard loud and clear without feedback. Feedback occurs when sound comes to your microphone from another source, such as your computer or telephone. Headphones contain the sound, reducing the risk of feedback.
2. Get Comfortable
You are going to spend a significant amount of time at your computer. Make sure you are dressed comfortably, perhaps in layers, and have the thermostat set to a level that you find favorable. Find a desk and chair that is comfortable for you and provides you plenty of room to spread out your materials. Use break time to stretch and get the blood moving. You may opt to stand for part of the session. An adjustable desk is a great way to go if you have one available.
3. Remove distractions
Your co-workers, boss (unless also enrolled), kids, and pets would not have access to you if you were in an onsite training. They should not have access to you in your virtual classroom. The time and money that you and your organization put into your professional development are valuable. While virtual training is often more convenient, it is not a license to multitask. Along these lines, close your email, Facebook, LinkedIn, and silence your cell phone. Courses are fast-paced and you will miss important information when you take a minute to just “quickly respond to that email”. Save this for your breaks. Remember those headphones? They are great for helping block outside distractions (such as dogs whining from the bedroom).
4. Stay Engaged
Staying attentive and awake while in training is difficult under normal circumstances. It becomes an even greater challenge when your instructor and classmates are not in the same room with you. Our virtual classes are designed to be interactive with discussion questions and quizzes. We use the same workshop exercises as in our in-person classes. You will need to employ additional strategies to make sure that you are engaged and learning and can respond when called upon. Take notes, follow along in our materials, and ask questions. Students are strongly encouraged to use the “raise hand” and “questions” feature of the virtual classroom platform. As an instructor, I prefer face-to-face so that I can observe non-verbal cues and respond appropriately. Use of the technology becomes all the more important with the loss of these non-verbal cues.
What have you found helpful in your virtual classroom experiences? Please leave a comment below.