5 dangerous myths about virtual training

We all know what happens when we assume.

But assumptions are especially problematic in virtual training.

Think about it.

What if the webinar strategies you’re currently using… the ones you assume are maximizing engagement, retention, application and results for your participants… actually aren’t?

What if they’re in fact hindering your learners’ abilities to do those things… and you don’t even realize it?

This often happens when webinar instructors believe one of these 5 dangerous myths about virtual training. Which ones might you believe?

Myth #1: “I can use the same slide deck for virtual and classroom training.”

A lot of trainers made this mistake when converting their classroom training to online training when COVID first hit.

But virtual training requires slides that participants can interact with, such as whiteboarding slides that leave space for stamping, typing, drawing, etc. on the screen.

Myth #2: “I should involve my learners at the same frequency in both classroom and webinar training.”

In a face-to-face training, you need to involve your participants every 10 minutes. In a virtual training, however, you need to involve them every 5 minutes.

Twice as often! Why?

Because in a webinar, the learners are in front of one of their biggest distractors: their computer.

Not to mention they have more discreet access to their cell phones, emails, texts, and various notifications from social media and dating apps.

Plus, if they’re in a webinar, there’s a decent chance they’re tuning in from home, so they’re probably tempted to step away from the webinar to do household chores like laundry.

All that said, if you keep your learners actively involved, they’re less likely to be distracted by those things.

Myth #3: “Soft skills cannot be taught in a virtual environment.”

Soft skills have to do with body language, tone of voice, active listening, how to draw people into conversation, etc.

So how do you teach that in a webinar?

You can use breakout rooms to create small-group conversations, role plays, skits, or play a video of someone exuding various good and bad soft skills, and have learners try to “find and fix” the problems and discuss what went wrong and how they could improve.

Myth #4: “Technology will always be a barrier for virtual learning.”

It might feel that way at first.

View options? Annotate bar? Stamp tool? Draw tool? Type tool? Breakout rooms? Polls? Spotlight? Remove spotlight?

How are we supposed to master all these features? How long will it take? Can’t we just keep it simple and stick with the chat box?

Worse yet, what if my webinar platform has technical issues?

We’ve all been there.

Technology will seem intimidating at first, both for you and your learners.

But like anything else, with practice, it becomes easier and easier.

One way to help speed up the process of helping you and your learners grow in your comfort level with technology is including soft openers.

These are a series of slides before the actual training starts that allow you and your learners to practice using different webinar platform tools to interact with ice-breaker content.

And as far as technical glitches go, soon you’ll begin to recognize common issues and be a seasoned troubleshooter!

When issues happen, stay calm.

This is one of the many reasons it’s critical to have a producer to help you put out technical issues, etc.

Myth #5: “Virtual training lets me train more people faster.”

This is a myth in one scenario.

It CAN be true.

In a webinar, you can “train” more people at one time, and your learners don’t have to travel to the training or even leave their homes.

But it depends on your definition of “train.”

If you think training is lecturing, then this is a myth.

Because lecturing doesn’t maximize learner engagement, retention and application of your content.

So if you want to truly train more people faster, then you need to utilize instructor-led participant-centered teaching strategies that involve your webinar students every 5 minutes.

Which myth was most eye-opening for you?

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