Let’s face it, live, synchronous, virtual learning is not just a trend, it’s a training delivery strategy that’s here to stay! It’s extremely effective, economical, and geographically desirable! If you’ve never attended a virtual classroom training session, you might think it a bit scary. I must admit, I was a little nervous when attending my first virtual classroom session.
I’ve found the best way to eliminate those pre-class jitters is to know what you’re getting yourself into and be prepared. To get the most out of your virtual classroom experience, expect to interact with your instructor, producer, and fellow learners.
In addition, the following seven tips will help make your virtual classroom training experience a successful (and oh, so enjoyable) one:
1. Prepare your equipment at least one day ahead. There’s nothing worse than logging in to your online training two minutes before it starts only to find out your corporate firewall won’t let you in. Also, complete a virtual classroom software connection test on the computer you’ll be using to access the course. Finally, ensure all software, including Adobe Flash, is up to date.
2. Use a hands-free headset. Free up your hands and improve your audio quality at the same time! Beg, borrow, or steal a headset, or just cough up the dough to buy your own (they’re relatively inexpensive).
3. Turn off email, phones, and devices and clear all distractions from your work area. This is important because it’s easy to answer the phone or pick up some work and lose track of what’s going on in the class. The trainer will not know that you have “checked out” so he or she won’t be able to re-engage you successfully.
4. Log in 10-15 minutes early. Logging in early gives you time to test your audio, get familiar with your surroundings, and meet your fellow learners.
5. Participate and prepare to be called on by name. As I mentioned above, the virtual classroom lends itself to interaction. Participation will keep you engaged and move the class along.
6. Raise your hand if you have an immediate question or comment. When you click the “raise hand” button on your screen, an icon appears next to your name. This is important because the trainer cannot tell by looking at you (like in a traditional classroom) if you are confused on a particular point or have something to add.
7. Send a private chat message to the trainer or producer, or use the status icons to indicate you’ve stepped away if you leave the virtual classroom. This is important because the trainer must know whether he or she can call on you – and that you are not having technical difficulties.
Follow these guidelines and I can just about guarantee you’ll get the most from your synchronous virtual classroom experience. And, speaking of experiences, Learning in the Virtual Classroom and The Virtual Trainer are now available from your favorite train-the-trainer company, Langevin Learning Services. Check out the details on our website!