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Develop virtual instructor-led training (vILT)

“What is vILT?”

“How should learning designers prepare their clients for vILT development?”

“What assets are commonly developed for vILT?”

"What features are typically available on virtual technology platforms?"

“What best practices should learning designers follow when developing vILT?”

“What common mistakes should learning designers avoid when developing vILT?”

Learning designers play a key role in developing engaging virtual instructor-led training (vILT) modules. They prepare clients, create the assets like slides and videos, and ensure technology support.

Through this lesson, you should be able to develop a simple virtual instructor-led training course.

What is vILT?

Virtual instructor-led training, or vILT, refers to a type of online training where participants receive real-time instruction and guidance from an instructor who remotely delivers the training through a web-based platform. This approach allows for effective training delivery to individuals located in different geographical locations. VILT can be conducted using different formats, including live online classes, webinars, or virtual workshops.

How should learning designers prepare their clients for vILT development?

To prepare clients for vILT development, learning designers should first review the project plan and set expectations for each step in the process. Consider the following sample high-level project plan for a simple vILT below.

Prepare templates

Explain that, to expedite the development process and ensure consistency across all instructional materials, the first step will be to create templates. Prepare templates for all project deliverables (e.g. facilitation guide, visual presentations, polling question files, learner handouts).

Create or curate content

Discuss and decide how to approach content gathering and writing with your client. Define sources of content (e.g. existing materials or subject matter expertise) and copyright considerations.

Develop instructional materials

Leverage the project style guide and templates to develop instructional materials. Conduct several rounds of review with stakeholders (and learners whenever possible). Gather, prioritize, and implement feedback through iterative reviews. Discuss and decide the format that you'll use to collect feedback (e.g. change log, track changes and comments).

Receive approvals

Identify which key stakeholders must signoff the materials before the learning product or program is released to the learning audience.

What assets are commonly developed for virtual instructor-led training?

For VILT projects, learning designers often develop and test the following assets:

  • Presentation slides

  • Pre-recorded videos

  • Participant guides/handouts

  • Interactive elements (e.g. chat functionality, virtual whiteboard, breakout rooms, quizzes, polls, group activities)

  • Facilitator guides

  • Technical support materials (e.g. FAQ, troubleshooting tips)

  • Follow up materials

  • Recorded session for asynchronous training

It’s also important to note that VILT requires video conferencing software as well as hardware (e.g. computer, webcam, headset/airpods).

What features are typically available on virtual technology platforms?

Virtual technology platforms like Webex and Microsoft Teams offer a variety of features aimed at fostering online collaboration, engagement, and learning. Here are some commonly available features that can be used when designing instructional materials:

  • Video conferencing: Allows multiple users to participate in a live video call. This is great for real-time instruction and interaction.

  • Screen sharing: Allows you to share your screen with other users. This is useful for demonstrations, presentations, or guiding users through certain tasks.

  • Interactive whiteboard: Both platforms have a feature that allows users to draw or write in real-time. This is helpful for sketching out ideas, highlighting key points, or explaining concepts visually.

  • File sharing: Users can share files directly through the platform. This could include reading materials, assignments, presentations, or any other relevant files.

  • Chat: Users can send messages in real-time, either to everyone in the meeting or to specific individuals.

  • Breakout rooms: This feature allows you to divide participants into smaller groups for discussions or group work.

  • Recording: Most platforms allow you to record meetings or presentations. These recordings can then be made available for participants to review later.

  • Polling/quizzes: Some platforms offer the ability to create quick polls or quizzes, which can be a useful tool for engagement and assessing learning.

Remember, as a learning designer, the best use of these tools will depend on your learning objectives and the needs of your learners. Try to design your instruction to take advantage of these features and create a more interactive, engaging learning experience.

What best practices should learning designers follow when developing vILT?

When developing vILT, learning designers should follow a set of best practices to ensure an effective and engaging learning experience.

Project and stakeholder management is crucial. It is important to set clear expectations with stakeholders from the beginning and remain flexible to accommodate any changing needs. Proactively offer multiple recommendations whenever possible, giving stakeholders options to choose from. In cases where written content is not readily available, offer to interview subject matter experts to gather the necessary content and then create the initial draft for their review and revision.

During development and delivery, it is essential to keep learners engaged throughout the vILT sessions. This can be achieved by incorporating visuals, interactive elements, opportunities for participation, feedback mechanisms, and even offering awards or recognition to motivate learners. Additionally, providing dedicated technology support staff helps facilitators deliver a seamless vILT experience for learners. Ensuring that all participants, including learners, facilitators, and support staff, have access to the required technology tools and resources is also critical for a smooth training delivery.

Facilitator preparation is key to a successful vILT. Allowing sufficient time for facilitators to practice and receive guidance ensures they are well-prepared to deliver the training effectively. If feasible, facilitating breakout sessions for struggling learners to receive individual or small group troubleshooting and support can greatly enhance the learning experience.

By adhering to these best practices, learning designers can optimize the development and delivery of vILT, fostering learner engagement, enabling effective facilitation, and ultimately creating a positive training experience for all involved.

What common mistakes should learning designers avoid when developing vILT?

Learning designers should avoid the following mistakes when creating VILT:

  • Info-dumping

  • Lack of access to required technology

  • Technical difficulties

  • Poor facilitation

  • Lack of engagement (e.g. not visually appealing, disorganized, boring)

  • Lack of participant interaction

vILT practice project: Empathy and communication

For this practice project, you will develop instructional materials to support a 1-hour vILT course about empathy and communication. Please complete the following:

  1. Determine which virtual technology platform you want to design for (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Webex) and become familiar with its technology.

  2. Review the completed detailed design to become familiar with the learning audience, objectives, and course structure.

  3. Make a copy of the following Google doc and slide templates: facilitator guide and slide deck. (Tip: After opening each link, select "Make a copy." You now have your own copy of the document to work from.)

  4. Start populating templates with content and instruction. Start by adding titles and headings to the templates (reference the detailed design for titles and sequencing). Then, use ChatGPT or a similar generative AI tool to generate a first draft of content and instruction for each section of your materials, and copy/paste it into the templates.

For instance, to generate content for the lesson entitled “Intro to empathy and communication,” you’d go to ChatGPT and enter the following prompt:

“Act like an instructional designer. Write content for this 5-minute lesson about empathy and communication. The audience includes customer service representatives. A. Importance of empathy in effective communication and customer service B. Definition of empathy and its role in building stronger relationships"

Summary and next steps

Learning designers are essential in the development of VILT. They prepare clients by discussing expectations, they create templates, gather content, and facilitate client reviews, they develop engaging assets, and they ensure access to necessary tools crucial for seamless training delivery.

Now that you are familiar with developing VILT, continue to the next lesson in LXD Factory’s Develop series: Develop eLearning.


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