10 top tips for effective distance learning

Distance training is type of internet-based learning. It is typically real-time and takes place in a “virtual classroom”, often with other colleagues who could be based on many different locations. Participants require a device with internet access to attend the courses, perhaps using a headset (earphones and microphone) so that they can discreetly listen and contribute verbally as well as using the keyboard.

Distance training is popular with organizations seeking “bite size” courses, accessible to many people globally. It is useful for organizations trying to avoid the travel and venue costs associated with classroom training, but who still want learners to have an interactive experience.

ADR International expert tutors deliver virtual training for corporate groups in several languages, bringing our global insight to procurement teams. Our top tips for effective distance training are:

1.  KISS: Keep it Simple (and short!).

Ideally a maximum of 2 hours.

2.  Focus on one discrete topic.

This makes it bite-size and easily digestible in an online format.

3.  Use a virtual training tool.

These applications offer interactive elements like virtual breakout rooms, polls and collaborative whiteboards.

4.  Be human.

The internet is notoriously impersonal. Tutors should be authentic, and ideally humorous.

5.  Keep it moving.

The pace of virtual training is (necessarily) more rapid than classroom, so lots of interaction and progression works best.

6.  Exchange ideas.

Virtual tools benefit from quick capture and share of preferences and opinions without the story-telling involved in a face to face course.

7.  Adapt to cultural differences.

Culture is just as prevalent online as offline. Each group may be more or less likely to share views, challenge or work through puzzles. Amend the content and approach to suit.

8.  Reward attendance

Progress towards accreditation or a certificate of learning are always welcome.

9.  Recognise connection challenges.

Employees may have joined the call from locations with unstable internet connections, or perhaps from a device while they are travelling. Be prepared and be patient.

10.  Record it and publish it internally.

That way, it is available to learners to refresh and reinforce.