The implementation of virtual training programmes in the workplace has been accelerated massively in 2020, as businesses prepare to overhaul their traditional plans to accommodate the new demands that COVID-19 brings.

While virtual learning has been around for much longer than the last six months, we are now going to see a huge increase in the number of businesses using it to train and develop their staff. In fact, it has already been stated that 98% of businesses will plan to implement e-learning by the end of this year.

At MDA Training, we have continued to work with leading businesses to design and deliver virtual training solutions, drawing on a blend of interactive facilitator-led sessions, activities and simulations. We specialise in training programmes for the following sectors:

Of course, when it comes to creating a virtual training programme, each business is entirely different and will have different requirements and learning needs.

This is why we have outlined five clear components that need to be met in order to successfully run a training event.

1 Designing a virtual training course

There needs to be a clear understanding of what the learning objectives of a programme are before implementing it. In particular, the following needs to be decided from day one:

  • How will the programme be managed?
  • Which virtual platforms will be used?
  • How can our virtual methods benefit the participants?

Organising how long an event will last, who will take part in it, which software is to be used, and how employees will benefit from it will lay the foundations of a successful programme.

At MDA Training, we organise and manage the virtual platforms, business speakers, Q&As, panels, polls, handling technical queries so our clients don’t have to.

2 Supporting employees taking part in a virtual programme

For many employees, the online programmes that they take part in this year and beyond will be their first experience of an entirely virtual training programme.

While many will thrive in this environment, others will take time to truly engage with these new methods. To help ease this transition, it is important for businesses to support their employees as much as possible.

This can be achieved by clearly explaining the tasks and activities that employees are required to carry out, as well as maintaining regular communication throughout.

When creating a training solution, we allocate a dedicated Program Manager to a specific project. This person is responsible for pulling in the right resources across our business, working with clients to ensure that we design and deliver the project end-to-end from design through to post-event.

3 Choosing and developing the right virtual training methods

There are so many interactive methods available as part of a virtual training programme, which means that businesses need to carefully choose their methods in order to engage with their employees.

Whether it is a virtual simulation, a facilitator-led discussion, a filmmaking activity or anything else, the methods chosen need to link back to the original learning objectives, as well as being engaging and informative.

At MDA Training, we draw on our extensive range of interactive sessions and experiential individual and group exercises, activities and simulations.

Where required, we tailor the content to ensure it reflects the commercial and organisational context of our clients.

4 Delivering the programme

A virtual training programme might be drawing on the best methods and be designed in the strongest possible way, but if it is not delivered properly, it will not resonate with employees.

With one in three employees stating that uninspiring content is a barrier to their learning, careful consideration needs to be made to how specific learning material will be delivered.

To ensure that everything runs smooth and the programme is delivered as expected, we recommend running test sessions pre-event.

For our training solutions, we provide a dedicated host who manages all elements of the programme, as well as additional facilitators for when more individual attention is required during group work and activities.

5 Sustaining the learning post-event

Reflection on performance is crucial in any workplace scenario, and must not be overlooked when implementing a virtual training programme.

To help sustain the learning and give employees takeaways from the programme, leaders need to provide resources that will allow individuals to analyse their own performance, such as:

  • On-demand e-learning
  • Online summaries of the learning material
  • Post-event films and interactive PDFs.

At MDA Training, we administer original post-event resources which are designed to sustain learning, provide reporting and create a memorable takeaway of the event for promotion across the organisation.