How good is Virtual Instructor-Led Training, anyway?

By Mark Sharp February 3, 2021 | 3 min read

It’s been over a year since RED BEAR launched our Virtual Instructor-Led Training workshops. Originally developed to address increasing client demand for remote instruction due to budget constraints, travel restrictions, and highly distributed teams, our VILT programming turned out to address a much larger need than anticipated.

As Covid-19 cases began to rise in 2020 and more and more companies adopted a work from home protocol to minimize risk, RED BEAR was busy working with clients to introduce our new delivery method to help work from home teams continue to develop necessary skills to adapt to the many strains caused by Covid-19 on the economy.

While widespread adoption was a little slow at first, over time more and more clients began to realize that remote instruction could be every bit as successful as in-person workshops.

Breaking common Virtual Instructor-Led Training myths

Common objections typically included the misbelief that virtual instruction lacked engagement or that the in-person experience could not be replicated online. Rather than using an online lecture approach or pre-recorded videos, each VILT workshop features a mixture of metaphorical and company-specific scenarios to explore and practice new skills. Virtual meeting platforms, such as Zoom and others, provide breakout room capabilities to quickly and easily assign and move participants into paired one-on-one video chat to negotiate together.

With each workshop, one after another, participant feedback busted those myths and began to tell a very compelling story: Virtual Instructor-Led Training is every bit as engaging and, in fact, provided positive aspects that could never be replicated with in-person instruction.

For example, one of the big challenges in any workshop is engaging the audience and holding attention throughout the session. RED BEAR’s discovery-learning approach has long been lauded as a highly interactive experience, so naturally, as we developed our virtual instructor-led training delivery, a great deal of attention was placed on matching and exceeding the existing level of engagement.

In order to maintain our highly interactive experience, our instructors leverage every aspect of the popular delivery platforms to showcase the RED BEAR concepts. Leveraging polls, discussions, and breakout rooms in a highly choreographed facilitation have helped to earn high praise such as “One of the best and most interactive training I have experienced. It forced everyone to be involved and really brought in real-life examples.”

Uncovering new opportunities with VILT

The online environment also provides efficiencies that are unique to remote audiences. In-person workshops often struggle with breaks where group small talk or distractions can lead to delays and sessions ultimately fall behind schedule. It didn’t take long for participants to notice the increased efficiency in the virtual environment. “Zoom was more efficient than in-person since we were instantly put into groups.”

For others, the ability to facilitate conversation via chat allowed for asynchronous feedback. Rather than having to write down individual answers at the front of the group, the chat window allows participants to submit and review group input in real-time. This affords instructors more time for a deeper discussion on popular answers and investigation of outlier responses. All of this efficiency adds to the engagement level and depth of instruction.

The impact on participants new to online learning also had high praise, “My first swing at E-learning and loved it. RED BEAR had it dialed in:  Great content.  Relevant examples. Organized.  Great Communication.”

The key, it turns out, for success with virtual instructor-led training is flexibility. RED BEAR understands how important it is to custom tailor workshops for clients. Our instructors bring decades of experience crafting high-quality workshops that have a life-changing impact. Mixing general negotiation scenarios, to introduce concepts and behaviors, with company-specific real-world scenarios, to practice new skills, the transformation that takes place is extraordinary.

Don’t just take our word for it, listen to what our participants have to say: “Very positive, even virtually. I thought this was one of the best training I’ve had in 7 years. Very impressed by our trainer.”

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