So, you’re scheduled to attend an online training course?

Great, but you’re probably thinking “Surely it can’t be as good as face-to-face training”, right? What if I tell you that it depends a lot on how you approach the course and how well you participate?

Before you show up online on the day, set yourself up to get the best learning experience. Start with knowing this isn’t going to be yet another webinar or Zoom or Teams conference call on which you’re going to just be on mute while you ‘multi-task’ (watch YouTube, reply to emails, complete that report your boss has asked for)!

At Informa Connect, our goal is to create the best learning interventions and give you an awesome, unparalleled learning experience. So, I chatted with our facilitators, my colleagues and our delegates to put together some top tips to guide you on getting the most from your next virtual training.

Before ‘Day One’ of Your Virtual Training:

  1. Read up about the topic or study any pre-course reading material provided to you by the training organisers
  2. Ergonomics is important. Working from home is becoming quite the norm now, so invest in a good chair and table to ensure lumbar support and good posture
  3. Position your camera at your best angle so you don’t shy out from turning it on. I promise you; you’ll have a far superior interactive learning experience when attendees can see each other
  4. Block your time out and mark yourself as ‘unavailable’ in your diary. Set an Out of Office (OOO) reply so you don’t get pulled into other meetings. This is your time to absorb the learning and make relationships with your fellow attendees
  5. For courses with lots of practical work, most times the trainer will set up a shared sheet for each learner to work on. Familiarise yourself with how shared Excel and other documents work so you’re not fumbling around during the course
  6. Some learners have found it useful to set up a second screen. One to watch the trainer and the other to work on their notes. If you don’t have two monitors, use your smartphone as a second monitor
  7. Whether you’re attending from home or the office, do you have a quiet corner to sit in? This isn’t the time to multi-task so remove all distractions so you can concentrate on your course

During Your Training:

  1. Arrive on time. The first 10 – 15 minutes are usually spent on providing critical information and audio-video set-up instructions. You don’t want to miss those
  2. Prepare a short, crisp introduction. Your introduction sets the tone for the rest of the training, so you want to come across as friendly, professional, and authentic while highlighting your professional abilities and getting to know your fellow attendees
  3. Know your learning objectives. A well-planned course will always begin with defining the learning objectives and a good facilitator will always set expectations by encouraging attendees to share what their challenges are and what they want from the course
  4. “My emails are pouring in and I have to check them before they get overwhelming. Just a sneak peek.” Don’t be that guy. I know it’s difficult but if you were with people in a physical room, you wouldn’t be checking your emails all the time. Treat your virtual course with the same respect and importance
  5. Participate! I can’t emphasise this enough. Interaction is key to getting the most from your virtual course. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and clarify something you’re unclear about. Use the ‘Raise Hand’ function or the chatbox, whichever form of communication you’re more comfortable with. Contribute to discussions and whiteboard exercises to remain engaged

I hope that these tips give you a head start for your next virtual training experience. After all, the pandemic situation may have stopped us from being able to travel or attend face-to-face courses, but that doesn’t have to stop our learning.

Have you attended a virtual course lately? How was your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear from you, and also welcome you to an Informa Connect training course soon.