The 20 Tips for Building a Successful Virtual Training Course will help you navigate the nuances of online learning. LightSpeed VT has helped hundreds of trainers and speakers virtualize their content and generate recurring revenue streams in doing so.  We are THE experts in creating the most engaging interactive virtual training courses on the web.  We know exactly what works and what doesn’t. We’ve assembled the list of our most important tips and techniques to help you create virtual training that is relevant, engaging and most importantly, the training that works.

20 Tips for Building a Successful Virtual Training Course   

1. Know Your Subject Matter

While this first point may seem obvious, the ability to present a subject with confidence directly affects your audience’s impressions and will help keep their attention.

2. Focus on Your Audience

2. Focus on Your Audience

Determine who your audience is, what the purpose of the message is and how will the learner use the information. Know your learners so well, you can get inside their heads. Try to understand as much as you can about them. Then try to make your virtual training course a conversation with this “persona”.

3. Keep it Simple

3. Keep it Simple

When writing content, using fewer words to express a thought or idea is better than a long exhaustive explanation. Take out all the industry-speak and make simple word choices. Learn how to adjust your jargon, so that anyone taking the course can understand it quickly and easily.

4. Develop A Theme

4. Develop A Theme

All scripts, regardless of their complexity, are designed with a single purpose. Whether that purpose is to sell, educate, or for pure entertainment, state that purpose to yourself at the beginning of the development process and keep this purpose in mind as your write your script(s).

5. Add Personality

5. Add Personality

Sometimes it is appropriate to add humor and personality to your content. This can make an eLearning course a friendlier experience.

6. Plan the Structure of Your Training

6. Plan the Structure of Your Training

List the topics which need to be covered. Separate those topics and plan what you want to cover in each course. This gives the learners a feel for the course and provides logical breaking points in the training. Title your courses and chapters with memorable and relevant headlines.

7. The 10 Minute Rule

7. The 10 Minute Rule

Each chapter should be less than 10 minutes followed by an activity (test, exercise, etc.).  We suggest writing in 5-8 minute increments. A good way to estimate your content duration is to use the following formula: One page script in Arial 12pt. font = @ 3 minutes of video.

8. Write To Your Audience

8. Write To Your Audience

Each training chapter should mimic a live training session; the user should believe the presenter is speaking directly to him/her. The camera should be seen as your end-user or learner; therefore scripts should be written as if you were interacting in a one-on-one setting versus a group setting. Use phrases like “you” and “your” instead of “they” or “you will all.”

9. Use Active Voice

9. Use Active Voice

The active voice is more direct and engaging. Writing in the active voice gives energy and movement to your content, which will keep your learners interested throughout the whole training.

10. Prepare Your Script

10. Prepare Your Script

The script does not necessarily have to be a work of literary excellence. The exact form of the script depends on the formality of the presentation, and the type of user that will be experiencing it. It should consist of three basic parts, an intro, body, and call to action (or outro).

11. Don’t Forget the Introduction

11. Don’t Forget the Introduction

Each chapter should begin with an introduction by the presenter or a “welcome back” as there may be multiple parts to a chapter. The presenter should quickly set the learning objective before diving into the subject matter; this allows the user to mentally process the topic as well as the curriculum path.

12. Select the Proper Visual Aids

12. Select the Proper Visual Aids

Pick the right graphics, bullet points and videos to keep your user engaged without visual overload. Make your content visually attractive, lively and relevant to the learner.

13. Use Text Responsibly

13. Use Text Responsibly

Keep it to no more than six lines per screen. The size and type of font you select has an effect on how your readers take in your content. Be mindful of typography and whitespace.

14. Be Very Specific

14. Be Very Specific

Remember, students are learning at their own pace and do not have an instructor in front of them. Sometimes you have to further explain something that someone would normally experience if they had instructor-lead training.

15. Include Interactivity

15. Include Interactivity

In order to set your training apart from all the other online learning out there, consider making it interactive. Use simulations and interactivity to better connect and engage with your audience.

16. Make It Flexible

16. Make It Flexible

So that you have the option to add, subtract or modify your chapters, you will want to avoid referring to specific Chapter numbers – for example, “In Chapter 3 we will be discussing ….”  You may also want to avoid statements like, “In the next Chapter …” or “In the last Chapter …”.

17. Write For The Ear - Not The Eye

17. Write For The Ear – Not The Eye

When writing and reviewing your scripts, keep in mind that these are words that your user will be hearing and not necessarily seeing.  Because of this, you will want to read your scripts out loud to make sure they sound as good as they read on the page.

18. Make Your Content Responsive

18. Make Your Content Responsive

Format your content for Smartphones, iPads, Laptops and other devices. Learning is increasingly mobile. It’s smart to build it once and deploy to many devices.

19. Keep it Social

19. Keep it Social

Interaction and collaboration are important in a learning process. Incorporate discussion boards, social share, messaging and other functions. It helps your students to feel connected and gives the assurance that you want them to succeed.

20. Test Your Learners

20. Test Your Learners

Students should know from the beginning how they will be evaluated. Include testing mechanisms to keep them engaged and to keep track of their progress. Include certificates of completion to encourage and reward learning milestones.