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Apr 07, 2020 InSync Training

A Virtual Classroom Crash Course Toolkit

04072020 April Newsletter Header Image 2Right now, the state of the world demands a transition to virtual classrooms and remote work. Whether or not your organization started 2020 prepared for the rapid modernization of teams and training, the time has come to make the change.

Facilitators, instructional designers, managers, and learners all have to adapt to a new normal – a stressful process under standard change management conditions and a seemingly insurmountable task given today’s pressures.

To help ease your angst and support your professional development, the InSync team has put together a toolkit to help you and your team during these tough times. Using this curated list of resources from the Modern Learning Resource Library and in-depth options from our Program and Services Catalog, you can begin to build your skills in key training competencies. Good luck!

Virtual Facilitation

Delivering training sessions in the virtual classroom requires different competencies than leading face-to-face learning. Instructors lose the ability to read participants’ body language but must continue to encourage collaboration and interaction. Lecture alone won’t work – so expand your existing skill set with these tools:

  • Blog: 8 Facilitation Tips for Increasing Webinar Engagement
    • Key Take-Away: When delivered thoughtfully, even informational sessions like webinars can engage learners
    • Why We Love this Resource: Webinars often serve as the virtual classroom starting point for many facilitators, making them a great opportunity to become familiar with some engagement best practices.
  • Blog: Advanced Virtual Facilitation Techniques to Create Learner Engagement
    • Key Take-Away: Great virtual classroom facilitators connect content to real-world work while considering three types of engagement – environmental, intellectual, and emotional.
    • Why We Love this Resource: Not only does this blog recap one of the most timely Virtually There sessions we’ve ever hosted, it also provides a high-level exploration of the theory behind engaging virtual facilitation techniques.
  • Infographic: Virtual Classroom Engagement: Facilitator Dos & Don’ts
    • Key Take-Away: In the virtual classroom, avoiding certain facilitation techniques proves as important to learner engagement as embracing others.
    • Why We Love this Resource: By breaking down the dos and don’ts to align with the three types of learner engagement, this infographic clarifies delivery best practices AND our research-based theory at the same time.
  • Recording: Creating Engagement in the Virtual Classroom- Facilitation Skills for Advanced Virtual Trainers
    • Key Take-Away: Facilitators’ understanding of the virtual learning environment helps bridge the distance between learners, encourage collaboration, and allow for true skill building.
    • Why We Love this Resource: Host Karen Vieth is one of the best virtual facilitators in the business and having the opportunity to hear her in action reinforces the proven techniques she’s highlighting.
  • Certificate Program: Virtual Classroom Facilitation Fundamentals: One-Day Immersion
    • Key Take-Away: A savvy instructor uses questioning strategies, their voice, and specialized facilitation techniques to keep learners involved and engaged in the virtual classroom.
    • Why We Love this Program: For practitioners looking to take their existing facilitation skills to the next level, this certificate advances their approach in record time.

Instructional Design

Jennifer Hofmann recently shared that “instructional design is even more important in the virtual classroom.” The delivery method should (and can!) authentically match each learning objective. Designers with a bevy of options available to them have to conscientiously choose how to generate learner engagement through the learning environment. Here’s how to get started:

  • Blog: Modern Learning Instructional Design: Strategies, Techniques, and Tech
    • Key Take-Away: Creating an impactful virtual blend involves connecting each learning objective to an authentic treatment and thinking through three separate considerations for each instructional goal makes the design process simpler.
    • Why We Love this Resource: Author Jennifer Hofmann gets down to instructional design basics by defining, and providing examples of, instructional strategies, instructional techniques, and instructional technologies.
  • Blog: Not Another Recorded Webinar! How to Use Virtual Classroom Recordings
    • Key Take-Away: Webinar recordings can add value to a larger overarching blended program, but only when used thoughtfully.
    • Why We Love this Resource: Thinking practically and creatively empowers instructional designers to transform learning experiences quickly, and better understanding when to incorporating existing content speeds the process along.
  • Whitepaper: Virtual Classroom Tool Design Basics: A Virtual Engagement Primer
    • Key Take-Away: The virtual classroom offers a variety of tools, like chat and breakout rooms, that instructional designers can use to design activities in order to boost learner engagement.
    • Why We Love this Resource: The authors explore all major tools including chat, whiteboards, breakout rooms, application sharing, web browsing, and feedback tools, offering a working knowledge of tools designers can leverage in their virtual training programs.
  • Recording: 5 Moments of Need: Are We Missing a HUGE Opportunity?
    • Key Take-Away: Great modern instructional design considers what learners need to know, and when they need to learn it.
    • Why We Love this Resource: Bob Mosher, along with Conrad Gottfredson, famously identified the five moments of learning need, and this recording brings the thought-leader to you on-demand!
  • Certificate Program: Virtual Classroom Design Mastery Series
    • Key Take-Away: Following a repeatable four-step instructional design process aligns identified learning objectives and the most authentic design treatments.
    • Why We Love this Program: One learner described this six-part program as “THE BEST virtual-instructor led class” they’ve ever attended, and we have to agree – it combines theory and practice into an impactful learning experience.

Virtual Learning Production

The very same technology that connects teams and enables learning across distance can hinder progress. When audio cuts out or learners can’t see a shared screen, should facilitators halt the instructional progress? No! Producers provide the much-needed extra set of hands and a new voice to the virtual classroom, empowering facilitators and learners alike. Become the modern learning stagehand with these resources:

  • Blog: The Role of the Producer
    • Key Take-Away: Producers are an invaluable resource before, during, and after live online learning events.
    • Why We Love this Resource: In our experience, producers make all the difference in virtual learning, and now, more than ever, it’s critical for organizations to understand their contributions.
  • Blog: Lesson Learned: Virtual Classroom Producers Can Maximize Training Value
    • Key Take-Away: Stakeholders often resist paying for production support in the virtual classroom, but the return far exceeds the on-paper investment.
    • Why We Love this Resource: Over the course of 20 years, we have learned many lessons about virtual production and share them in one place, streamlining your process for making the business case for producers.
  • Infographic: 4 Step Disaster Recovery Process
    • Key Take-Away: Virtual classroom technology will fail, so preparedness helps with confidence and prevents fear.
    • Why We Love this Resource: Our entire team swears by this four-step process when supporting virtual classroom events, and you will too.
  • Whitepaper: Behind the Scenes: Ensuring Flawless Virtual Experiences
    • Key Take-Away: Great virtual events, including meetings, webinars, and training sessions demand “planning, preparation, and practice.”
    • Why We Love this Resource: Stakeholders and training professionals want learning experiences to dazzle participants, and understanding all the behind-the-scenes work required to get there makes the process smoother.
  • Certificate Program: Master Virtual Producer
    • Key Take-Away: Through communication and a virtual classroom management action plan, producers act as learner advocate and a facilitator’s right hand.
    • Why We Love this Program: Producers make the transition to virtual learning much easier, and this three-part certificate helps practitioners become the MVP organizations, learners, and virtual training programs need.


If your organization has a virtual platform like Zoom, Webex, or Adobe Connect, you’re in luck! A major part of the implementation battle (technology selection) has already occurred. But regardless of your jumping off point, a full transition to virtual and blended learning requires planning and change management. Discover our best practices with this content bundle:

  • Blog: Virtual Classroom Implementation and Design FAQs
    • Key Take-Away: Successful virtual learning implementation considers event type, technology features, and the target audience.
    • Why We Love this Resource: Before introducing virtual classrooms to your organization, stakeholders will have questions, and this blog answers them all quickly and expertly.
  • Blog: 3 Options for Implementing Informal Learning
    • Key Take-Away: Training does not have to happen in a formal environment to have an impact.
    • Why We Love this Resource: Implementation often focuses exclusively on the logistics of live events, but the process should also include considerations for informal moments, too.
  • Whitepaper: Enabling Virtual and Blended Learning Success: A Case Study
    • Key Take-Away: Transforming a traditional training program into a truly modern virtual blend requires planning and thoughtful implementation.
    • Why We Love this Resource: This case study details the actual process used to create engaging virtual learning, and how the implementation achieved learner and organizational goals.
  • Recording: When Virtual Classrooms Become Virtually Required
    • Key Take-Away: The shift to virtual learning can happen quickly, and this can result in engaging training programs.
    • Why We Love this Resource: A powerhouse facilitation team of Jennifer Hofmann and Jane Bozarth explore how virtual learning can help organizations navigate times of crisis.
  • Support: Custom Services
    • Key Take-Away: No matter how skilled your internal learning function, the transition to virtual learning requires a nuanced approach.
    • Why We Love this Option: Specialized project management can improve production, facilitation, and custom learning blends.

Virtual Teams

Did you know? The InSync team has worked remotely since our founding in 2000. Over the course of 20 years, we learned the importance of independence and interdependence, collaboration and self-direction. For teams used to working side-by-side, the distance can hinder progress and deplete forward momentum. Get your team back on track and reconnected with their mission using these assets:

  • Blog: Create Your Virtual Team Tech Toolkit
    • Key Take-Away: On virtual classrooms, project management holds the key to getting things done.
    • Why We Love this Resource: Virtual teams require different technologies based on their work, and by breaking down common tasks into broader categories, team leaders can more quickly identify where they need to improve their support technology.
  • Blog: Adapting Tuckman’s Model for Global Virtual Teams
    • Key Take-Away: Like teams in traditional work spaces, virtual teams go through the stages of forming, storming, norming, and performing.
    • Why We Love this Resource: By understanding how virtual teams come together, demonstrate conflict, and succeed, leaders and team members can more easily navigate this model.
  • Infographic: Trust: The Power Behind Virtual Teams
    • Key Take-Away: When encouraged on virtual teams, trust frees people to collaborate quickly and meaningfully.
    • Why We Love this Resource: Based on expert Mary Kingsley's Virtually There session, this downloadable job aid provides easy-to-apply ideas for investing in the relationships on your team.
  • Whitepaper: Creating and Leading a Wildly Successful Virtual Team
    • Key Take-Away: Virtual teams succeed when they have the right tools available to them, and their leaders set them up for success.
    • Why We Love this Resource: Becoming a virtual team unexpectedly can feel like a disruption, but the process detailed in this whitepaper transforms a teamwork challenge into an ongoing opportunity.
  • Private Workshop: Highly Effective Virtual Teams
    • Key Take-Away: Virtual teams can be as effective as co-located teams, even in times of uncertainty.
    • Why We Love this Workshop: Learning in the virtual environment actually teaches people how to work virtually, and this four-part workshop exemplifies virtual work best practices while teaching practical skills.
Published by InSync Training April 7, 2020