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Top tips on becoming a virtual trainer

18 Mar 2021
Mark Smith, expert trainer & curriculum writer, People 1st International

In today’s environment, virtual training delivery and facilitation are critical skills for trainers. Even for those with experience, running training sessions using web-based platforms is a completely different experience to classroom, training room or face to face delivery.

So what are the aspects you need to consider when transitioning to virtual delivery?

Virtual training delivery vs classroom

Firstly let’s understand the differences between classroom and virtual delivery:


  • You can move around
  • You can move learners around and change group dynamics
  • You can set the room up differently depending on the activity
  • Easier to engage larger groups
  • Easier to read peoples engagement and mood and adapt accordingly


  • Confined to your webcam
  • You can use breakout rooms for groups
  • You can share resources instantly including links and materials
  • More effective with smaller groups
  • Lack of visual feedback from learners (body language)
  • Easy to record and distribute the session
  • Save time and money on travelling to training
  • Flexible for delegates in different locations and time zones
  • Can be restricted by your technical capabilities and confidence
  • Easy for learners to become anonymous if they don’t use their camera

Developing your virtual training delivery style

Before you can plan and write content for delivery on a virtual platform you need to know the platform and its functionality and to recognise your own technical capabilities. You also need to understand your own online delivery style: How well do you know your delivery style? Will telling jokes be as effective on a virtual platform? Will pregnant pauses still have the same desired effect? Will long anecdotes still capture people’s imagination in the same way?

You’ll need to adapt or develop a style specifically for delivering on a virtual platform. It doesn’t have to be a huge shift from your face-to-face persona, but it should be tailored to ensure that your participants can get the best from the virtual training sessions that you deliver.

Engaging your audience

A good way to start planning engaging content is to ask yourself the question ‘What would I like the group to be able to do?’ followed by investigating what digital solutions are available that will help you to achieve this.

An approach that you sometimes see is people making a big effort with something flashy at the start of a session as a hook to engage people. Whilst this is a good start, when delivering content virtually, you cannot solely rely on a show-stopping opener at the beginning to hold people’s attention for the full session. Participants on a virtual platform can easily become distracted, therefore you must think about other ways to keep the whole group engaged throughout the whole session.


The human brain can process pictures and imagery much more efficiently than lots of text. The key to successful communication in virtual workshops is to maximise the impact of your content by making it visually appealing.


Best practices for delivering virtual classroom training

There are many things to manage when delivering a virtual session. Here are our top three tips on virtual training for trainers:

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare: In advance of the session check your features and settings, rehearse your content and practice using the platform
  2. Clarity and speed: To maximise the effectiveness of your delivery during the session, speak clearly, explain thoroughly, pace yourself and use micro pauses
  3. Encourage engagement: Know your audience, keep it light and invite and target questions, use emoticons, check the chat and indicate when to add comments

Transition your skills for virtual delivery with our train the trainer course online

Whether you’re a professional trainer, freelance trainer, in-house trainer or teacher and want to develop your trainer skills to deliver virtual classroom training and become a certified online trainer, we can help.

Our Certificate in Virtual Delivery train the online trainer programme has been designed to cover all the key issues from how to plan, write and adapt content for virtual delivery to the ability to manage virtual sessions and keep learners engaged. It also includes tools and techniques for assessment.

To find out more, enquire today.

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