Useful Tools for Training Virtual Teams Online
Training virtual teams requires a different set of tools than on-site training, mainly ones that help prevent the group from wandering and ensure that the training is successful. Here is our advice on making use of both personal and technical tools in virtual team training.
As stated, training virtual teams differs from on-site training, meaning that the emphasis of your efforts should be placed on different aspects than if the training was done in person. The most important aspect you should focus on is presence. In virtual settings, establishing presence requires a higher level of preparedness and engagement. Here are some personal tools you should possess in order to make your virtual team members pay attention to and enjoy their training:
- Positive energy - it is extremely easy to get excited about a project if it is presented as upbeat and challenging. Try to maintain a level of positivity throughout the whole training process.
- Motivation - find ways of expressing that you care about the messages you are conveying and the participants’ progress in the training. This will help your trainees stay motivated regardless of how complex the process might be.
- Attention guidance - in order to prevent the attendees’ minds from wandering, it is important to have a clear structure in place that will give the training a concrete flow and help you guide the teams’ attention to the most important parts.
Technology has made humongous strides in terms of business, and today it offers a variety of well-made and user-friendly technical tools that can help us take on the online world and ease communication in virtual offices. Here are some of the most useful tools for online training of virtual teams.
Visual learning content
Your presentation for the training session should be eye-catching and memorable. Presenting everything you are going to say during the session in written form leaves the impression that the training could have been done individually, with written resources. Instead, incorporate visual aspects such as images, videos, etc. into your presentation to grab the participants’ attention.
- Tip: You can also include questions during the online training sessions to make sure the attendees are not wandering off.
Video learning content
If you are recording your training programs in advance, break them down into segments of 5-20 minutes each. We don’t recommend sending 1 h videos, as they can easily be skipped and trainees would never go back to them for specific information.
- Tip: make each video answer only one question. This helps concentrate the knowledge and provides reference material for the future.
While we do not recommend carrying out training with videoconferencing only, it can be a useful addition, especially for virtual teams that need to be able to employ this type of hands-on training approach. Some online video conferencing platforms that are useful for businesses are Zoom, Webex and Freeconference.
- Tip: screen sharing should always be included in your video conferencing tool. This way you would not have to give instructions about what page the participants are looking at each time.
During your online training, use virtual whiteboards the same way you would in a normal office. Draw, clarify points, illustrate and summarize ideas. Examples of good browser-based whiteboards are AWWApp and Miro.
- Tip: get familiar with your whiteboard tool before starting the meeting, some of them are quite tricky to use!
Recording for future use
If you are conducting your online training in real time, record the trainings and prepare small clips with particular instructions for your virtual team members so the information is always available, and fun to watch.