A Path Forward: 5 Key Questions for Virtual Training

By April 7, 2023LTEN Focus On Training

It’s a good idea to evaluate what’s working, what’s not and what could be improved

It’s been more than three years since most organizations abruptly moved their training programs online. Now that the pendulum has shifted back toward in-person classes, it’s time for organizations to consider their path forward.

Virtual training is still a viable learning solution, and in many situations it’s the best option. At the same time, it’s a good idea to step back and evaluate what’s working, what’s not and what could be improved.

Here are five key questions to ask:

1. Which specific training curriculums should remain virtual, and which should go back to in-person?

In 2019, only 14% of all formal learning programs were facilitated in the virtual classroom. With offices reopened, it may seem natural to return to that level. But we’ve seen the potential of virtual learning to reach remote audiences and its efficiency in learning delivery.

So, it’s important not to assume that just because a program used to be in-person, that’s the best format for it now. Carefully consider each program in turn and make an intentional decision for each one.

2. Are your virtual training programs properly designed for engagement and application?

If your organization quickly pivoted to the virtual classroom, you may not have had the time to effectively redesign the in-person programs for remote audiences. Successful virtual classes engage participants in the learning, provide practice opportunities and lead to improved on-the job skills. Interaction and collaboration are two necessary components for these results.

Ask yourself: Is conversation the focus of your virtual training programs? If not, then a redesign is in order. And if you haven’t yet upskilled your instructional designers for this modality, now is the time to do so.

3. Do your platforms adequately support what’s needed for learning?

Not all web-based platforms are created equal. Virtual classes have different feature requirements than virtual meetings. They need a robust toolset that makes collaboration easy. Yet many organizations still use meeting tools, instead of investing in platforms designed for interactive training.

A quick check-in with your facilitators, asking if the current platform is ideal for learning, can reveal this answer. You can also ask them how much extra effort is required to use the platform to create a seamless learning experience.

4. Are your facilitators supported with enough resources to do their job well?

Whether your facilitators are working from home or in the office, they need proper resources. Equipment like good lighting, a quality headset and an external monitor can enhance a facilitator’s ability to authentically connect with remote audiences.

In addition, they need dedicated time to stay abreast of changes to virtual platforms that update frequently. Check with them to see if they feel supported with enough time, resources and continuing education opportunities.

5. Do remote learners have what they need to effectively participate?

Similar to the previous question, are your remote learners equipped to have a good virtual learning experience? Do they have enough internet bandwidth? Do they have the right tools, like webcams for virtual communication and headsets for clear audio? Do their managers support their participation in virtual classes, taking care to not interrupt dedicated learning time with non-urgent requests?

Each of these seemingly simple items goes a long way toward an effective offsite environment that’s conducive for learning.


Finally, as you move forward, what standards will your organization have in place for future virtual training initiatives? Understandably you may have been in “make it work” mode during the pandemic years. But now is the time to establish your organization’s definition of successful virtual training and to determine your ideal guidelines.

For example, what’s the right number of participants in your virtual classes? And will you allow hybrid learners to join as remote participants in traditional classes? If so, what technology will you adopt to ensure they feel included in the learning experience?

By taking an intentional approach, your virtual training solutions will be more likely to achieve their intended outcomes.

Cindy Huggett, CPTD, is a consultant and author whose books include The Facilitator’s Guide to Immersive, Blended and Hybrid Learning and Virtual Training Tools and Templates. Email her at Cindy@CindyHuggett.com.



About LTEN

The Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network (www.L-TEN.org) is the only global 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization specializing in meeting the needs of life sciences learning professionals. LTEN shares the knowledge of industry leaders, provides insight into new technologies, offers innovative solutions and communities of practice that grow careers and organizational capabilities. Founded in 1971, LTEN has grown to more than 3,200 individual members who work in pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostic companies, and industry partners who support the life sciences training departments.

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