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Gerald G. Capinpin

 Virtual Instructor Led Training or VILT is no longer a new concept during this COVID 19 Pandemic as many teams, meetings and instruction system has shifted to this format. It a system wherein lectures, trainings, instructions and orders are carried out through various virtual formats that enables two-way audio and video transmissions at real time. Sounds very simple and fun to do but what spells the very big difference is when the element of frustration kicks in and ruins the momentum for everyone.

Health experts say that the effects of the pandemic can roll over up to the end of this year and even up to the end of next year. Having said this, we are to embrace the VILT system for quite some time. Furthermore, it is an opportunity for every team to innovate, recreate, evaluate which details of the system works best for the team — in a nutshell, make the most out of what I believe to be the single and most effective way of making the workflow effectively and efficiently flow closest to the way it used to be. I have summed up some tips on how VILT can work aces for your team.

1. Choose platforms can best work for your team.

You read it right — PLATFORMS… more than one. It is always advisable to keep more than one platform for you to conduct your VILT just in case one encounters a major glitch. A lot of platforms have emerged in the market and offered their systems for teams to adapt in. Generally, their systems will give you free use for a certain period of time and may put in all features but cut your free ride at a certain period. When you’re hooked in their platform you may want to continue but this time with a subscription fee.  Some may give you unlimited use but only with the basic features which at times may be frustrating that you cannot fully boost productivity because of this limitation thus would tempt you to level up your subscription to a premium account that carries the other premium features, this time with a fee. Given this factor, it is really a game of balance of cost and efficiency.  If your team has non intensive VILT sessions, I recommend “free forever” platforms. If you team however is the type that eats and breaths VILT, it wouldn’t hurt to spend a few bucks for a premium account.

2.Train the team with your chosen platforms.

This may sound very structured as most available platforms are designed to be user friendly. They design it in a way that even some teammates who has some brain cells missing would understand. You have to realize however that this maybe new to them and a lot of gray areas may cast dark clouds upon them. I suggest on organizing a short and simple session that would help them work their way on the basics of the platform before using the platform on a full swing. You can leave the obvious features (but not crucial) hanging for them to explore so that they may also have the sense of accomplishment when they unlock it on their own.  This tip is also applicable not only to VILT platforms. It can also work well on more complex systems like CRM platforms and etcetera.

3. Constant communication.

This may not be directly involved in managing a VILT per se but may play a vital role in making your chosen platform work. I call this “petty chats” which can be facilitated by simpler messaging apps. This is where you can throw minor concerns before your VILT sessions. Like change of credential passwords, excuse for absences, notification of delay in the session and the like.

4. Calendar your meets.

Like an old fashioned physical meeting, VILT must also be categorized as to its frequency and duration. Is the VILT a recurring meeting? Is it an emergency meeting? How long will it take the meeting to finish? Who are involved in the meeting?  This are just some of the guide questions to properly schedule your meetings. Also, participants must be fully aware of the schedule so that everyone’s time may be adjusted as needed to accommodate the timetable.

5.  Appoint in advance a platform administrator or a co-host for all your calendared VILT sessions.

You may not need this if your team is relatively small since you as a host/facilitator/presider can fill in two shoes at the same time. It would be disastrous though if your audience is large in number and the ratio of accommodating participants’ inputs are beyond manageable for one person. An extra pair of hands will help you solve this. The person whom you would appoint must be always on call on and off the VILT. He must also be as technically savvy as the host when it comes in enabling the platform and deliver what are” logistically” needed in the VILT session. You can share in advance with him your VILT presentations so he can run, simulate and practice it in your platform before the VILT session proper.

6. Preset some house rules.  

This is pretty much of a good housekeeping tip for everyone that will be participating in the VILT. Make sure that the rules you set has been properly disseminated. All preset house rules should generally apply to all your VILT sessions. This will allow your participants to behave properly and accordingly during your sessions. It will give them self-restrictions. For younger audience however, these house rules may need to be reiterated once in a while given the nature of their attitude because of their young age. Rules may range from letting their cameras always open, their microphones always on the mute, posting only VILT topic related comments on the chatbox, or keeping the chatbox free from traffic to avoid distractions for other learners.

7. Make your sessions a two-way interaction.

Although VILT platforms may give you the absolute power to dominate the entire session, plan out your session in such way that your audience from the other end are given chances to actively participate in the topic being discussed by letting their voices be heard. Take note that if your audience only hears one voice (that would be you), they will reach a certain point of boredom and a get a feeling of being alienated.  More so, some psychologists claim the typical VILT participant | student learners’ attention span is about 10 to 15 minutes long, yet VILT sessions can last 50 to 90 minutes. It’s natural for a participants’ attention levels to vary according to motivation, mood, perceived relevance of the material, and other factors. Always break the ice.

8. Make your learning materials always available.

Sure enough, VILT presentations will always be showcased in every session but it would always be very wise to share these in advance to your participants so that they can have an advance reading and point out some parts that are not clear with them and raise them when they are given a chance to speak in the session. I would also advise that you provide them a dedicated link where they can locate the materials especially if you are running a module type of VILT. For team meetings, minutes of the meeting (if it can be openly shared) should be stored in a common place where participants can access anytime, this will give them some guide whether they are on track. In addition, always have a manifest on who has access on these documents.

9. Custom fit your leaning materials.

VILT sessions may deal with a wide range of audience that can be segmented through age group, educational level, organizational level, interests, language to use and comprehension level to name a few. It is but right for you to present your lessons and ideas that will capture their attention and activate their enthusiasm for a maximum take away from every VILT session. By doing so, you must first identify what form of medium you are to use.  Some may want ideas to be presented through graphs and statistics, some may find it ideal that the lesson be presented through a video / short movie as much as some may want it to be delivered through experiential learning type or for some, presentation with plain and simple PPT slides would get the job done. This may be a challenge on your part again as a host |presenter |presider but there is wide array of applications on the internet that can help you vividly present your lessons to meticulous audience.

Sounds very simple and fun to do but what spells the very big difference is when the element of frustration kicks in and ruins the momentum for everyone.