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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Recommendations for Deploying VILT

Our previous entries have covered designing and developing Virtual Instructor-led Training (VILT). This post will review the preparations needed to ensure a smooth deployment of a VILT course. These tips were originally presented by Kelley Rogers, a Victor 12 instructional designer, at the 2014 for Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) International Convention in Jacksonville, FL.

Choose the right instructors and hosts.
Probably the most important decision you will make before delivering VILT is who you select for the instructor and host. These two people will make or break your course.

Look for instructors with these qualities:
  • Content expert
  • Build and maintain rapport with participants
  • Flexible
  • Team player

Look for hosts with these qualities:
  • Tech savvy
  • Knowledgeable about technology and course structure
  • Multi-tasker
  • Calm in a crisis

While VILT is delivered virtually, instructors with face-to-face teaching experience often have the most success. VILT is most effective when the instructor is able to build rapport with the participants and confidently facilitate the session. While we provide basic training for instructors on how to navigate around the VILT platform, providing training on how to be a good teacher is usually outside the scope of VILT deployment. For this reason, we like to hire instructors with traditional ILT experience that can be flexible and adjust to the needs of participants.

In our deployment model, we have a Victor 12 host who manages the technology for the course, leaving the instructor free to teach. The best hosts are both tech-savvy and calm in a (technological) “crisis”, should one occur. A good host remains in the background supporting the instructor and providing a seamless instructional experience for the participants.

Rehearse before and debrief after.

Rehearsal is key. Unlike a face-to-face class, which allows for significant flexibility and requires minimal coordination, VILT is a partnership between the instructor and the host. Sessions should be rehearsed prior to the live course to ensure that everything will run smoothly. The instructor and host can work through the class, interacting with simulated participants and practicing their coordination.

After each live session, conduct a short internal debrief to review what went well and what could be improved. This may be especially important after the first session. By conducting debriefs immediately following a live session, memories are clearer and any critical issues can be addressed before the next session. If there are any changes identified for curriculum, such as timing, instructions, or activities, they can be recorded for future life cycle maintenance.

  Kelley Rogers is an instructional designer with Victor 12. She has over 10 years' experience designing and delivering instruction for both face-to-face and virtual training environments. She is also a published author and experienced speaker at professional conferences.

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