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How to Be a Better Remote Instructor

Posted on 11/09/20 By Lorman Team

Teaching online is a completely different experience than speaking in a traditional classroom or seminar. That's why remote instructors require different skillsets and techniques for engaging online learners. 

Virtual instructor-led training is becoming the norm for learning and development initiatives as more and more businesses switch to remote working. If you are used to giving presentations in conference rooms or at on-site events, then you may need to focus on strengthening your virtual teaching skills. 

Learn to be a more effective virtual instructor with these helpful tips.

Woman watching virtual presentation on her computer.

Your Choice of Language is Important

In a traditional classroom, you can easily interact with learners on a personal level and create the kind of atmosphere you want. This is not the case with virtual training. You want to be professional but also connect with your learners on a personal level.

It's important to use appropriate, yet conversational, language when interacting with your participants and when delivering your lesson. Don't be afraid to use simple, conversational language. It's OK to use colloquialisms, but stay away from unfamiliar slang or complicated speech. 

Talk as if you were having a casual conversation over dinner. Using complex language will only make it harder for your participants to understand the lesson and follow along. 

Tone and Inflection Matters

When you can't count on body language, the way you speak will set the tone in a remote instructor-led environment. Online learners only see your face, and in many cases, can only hear your voice. 

No matter how carefully you prepare the lesson and how brilliant your content is, your learners will lose attention if your voice is boring or you speak in a monotonous way.

In her book How You Say It: Why You Talk the Way You Do—And What It Says About You, professor Katherine D. Kinzler from the University of Chicago explains that most people judge others by the way they speak.

If your voice is soft and low, you may come across as being weak and shy. If your voice is too tense, you may be perceived as being nervous. When it comes to online instructor-led training, not only does your voice matter but also how you say does.

Focus on the following qualities when speaking to your online participants: transparency, enthusiasm, clarity, focus, and warmth.

Create (and Follow) a Course Agenda

Remote instructor-led training courses rely heavily on a well-defined course agenda. In a physical setting, instructors have the freedom to improvise as they see fit; however, the nature of an online classroom makes it harder to do so.

An online remote instructor needs to prepare and structure the lesson well so that the learners can easily follow along with the presentation. Having a slide deck that highlights the key points and important data will help your learners keep up with the lesson more easily (and it also helps you remember key talking points).

While it's recommended to follow a course agenda, keep in mind that each person has a different learning style. You may want to delve deeper into personalized learning to better adapt your course to individual needs.

Encourage Q&A Sessions

Online learners can easily feel isolated and alone in their journey if they don't feel connected to the remote instructor or other participants.

One of the most recommended virtual instructor-led training best practices is to organize Q&A sessions at the end of every course. This way, learners can get their questions answered and at the same time, interact with and learn from other course participants.

Q&As are perhaps the most social part of any virtual training course and it helps keep the engagement level high.

Woman engaging with video conferencing on her computer

Above are some practical and effective virtual instructor-led training tips that will help you become a better online instructor.

Making the transition from a traditional classroom to an online environment takes time and adjustment. However, since the world is moving towards digitalization, learning how to be a better online instructor will pay off in the long run. 

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