Top tips for on-line trainers

By Jackie Black on February 8th, 2017

I recently did some work for a software training company in London who wanted to move away from their traditional classroom approach and keep up with the current trend for online learning. They commissioned me to write a set of best practices to help trainers new to on-line training make the transition more smoothly.

I thought I’d share the main points with you.

Being on camera. This may be the first time you have delivered training online and you may be unexpectedly nervous, but obviously, you don’t want your students to know this. It’s a good idea then to practise a few times beforehand, recording your performance so that you can review it.

The key consideration is the camera itself – always make sure your whole head is in view and try to look straight at it. It’s very disconcerting for students when the trainer appears to be looking to the side, or worse still, if they have to listen to a voice without a body! Also, try to keep your movements smooth and to a minimum as occasionally there is slight delay in transmission sometimes which will make you look rather strange.

Delivery. To keep students engaged you need to vary your tone and tempo. Speed up and slow down to allow students to assimilate what has been said but also to keep them on their toes. Monitor your tone and how it could be perceived (impatient, patronising, encouraging). Don’t forget to speak clearly and use short, concise sentences where possible. You may also need to adjust your volume to counteract any sound issues.

Adapting your style. Consider whether your style should be less directive. Try handing over hosting rights to involve students and keep them engaged. Avoid monologues and keep any anecdotes you tell short or your students may switch off or start multi-tasking.

Trainer checklist

  1. Be familiar with the technology. Practice beforehand so that you feel comfortable being in front of a camera.
  2. Organise (upload) your training materials and prepare an agenda which reflects learner expectations.
  3. Think about your training style and adapt it to your audience.
  4. Create a welcoming and safe learning environment.
  5. Be ‘present’ and approachable.
  6. Keep an eye on engagement levels.
  7. Encourage collaboration.
  8. Ask SMART questions.
  9. Check comprehension regularly.
  10. Keep students informed when problems arise.
  11. Be clear about online etiquette. Consider agreeing a set of rules with the group outlining expected behaviour.
  12. Create a feedback culture in which everyone can contribute freely.

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