Moving from a traditional classroom to remote instructor-led training (RILT) can make developers concerned about the changes to course materials, visuals that support the information, student activities and guidance for the instructor.

Instructors may not want to give up their physical presence with learners. They might feel as if they’re giving up the power to convey messages by much more than voice alone and won’t be able to see how clearly learners are receiving those messages. On the other hand, students might be worried about adapting to a new way of learning. A course that is stretched over a full day in the classroom with plenty of Q&A and discussion is now a brief, tight module presented online. These changes take time to get used to.

RILT is training delivered when the instructor and learner are in separate locations. Remote instructor-led environments are designed to simulate the traditional learning experience. RILT may be conducted in a synchronous or asynchronous format.

This article recommends ways for you to prepare deliverers, developers and learners to make the shift from a classroom ILT to RILT. Preparing them adequately and effectively can make the switch to RILT successful.

Prepare the L&D Mindset

Develop ownership and pride in successful RILT even before the roll-out. If your L&D team anticipates the transition to RILT and its values and benefits, then all players can be brought on board. The first step is to prepare your L&D team’s mindset.

  • Expose L&D team members to the many free, valuable RILT courses. Invite them to discuss and critique their experience. Engage your developers in seeing differences between the RILT and comparable ILT courses. Have your trainers notice skills more critical in successful RILT delivery than in classroom training.
  • Provide references to websites, blogs, and print articles about the changes in training methodology.

Prepare the L&D Skillsets

Training development and delivery of RILT differs significantly from classroom ILT.

  • Every qualified instructional design/development specialist builds a comprehensive learning strategy into their courses. In the RILT world, the components of such strategies change. In an RILT setting, more dynamic visual material and more individual/remote student interactivity are required because the instructor is not present in the classroom. Exceptional RILT developers will build more visuals and more interactions into their courses.
  • Every qualified trainer/facilitator knows the importance of having presentation skills. But in an RILT setting, how relevant are hand gestures, eye contact and movement? What matters is your voice. Without any visible support, your voice is the essential communication tool. An exceptional RILT presenter masters the tone, volume, rate and pitch. This becomes the most powerful student-engagement tool.

As RILT is technology-based, your trainers must have clear, complete knowledge of its features and functions, how to use them seamlessly and compensate when something goes wrong. Just like mastering strong vocal skills, familiarity with equipment comes from extensive practice.

Prepare the Learner Mindset

  • Advance communication with learners can reduce potential concerns, especially for those new to RILT sessions. This communication should be clear and concise. A good idea is to grab their attention with the subject line. Announce that it’s about training and give the course title. For example, “Your Training Session: Applied Communication Skills.” Then make the e-mail content succinct, informative and exciting.
  • Validate RILT format upfront. Early in the training session (and even in advance e-mails) offer a positive, simple statement that validates the RILT format. This is a branding statement for your L&D’s commitment to RILT. Developers should incorporate a standard statement in course materials and deliverers should include it in their introduction to every RILT session.
  • The differences in RILT training from classroom ILT can create different expectations for the learners. They are not in front of the instructor and are surrounded by many distractions such as their e-mail, cell phone, work assignments and other workers (or family members). Those distractions may short-circuit their engagement in the class. Clearly stating expectations early in the training session prepares them for effective participation. Every instructor may have slightly different expectations; however, you may include a basic set of instructions in every RILT course offered.

You and your team can enhance the opportunity for a successful shift to RILT with these mindset and skillset preparations.