Virtual instructor-led training (VILT) is one of the fastest-growing instructional methods. Employers are using VILT to deliver training and development to upskill and reskill their workforce. Schools and colleges were plunged into virtual instruction at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It offers tremendous flexibility to organizations with remote or hybrid workforces and those with multiple office locations. Delivering content through Zoom or other online platforms is affordable, adaptable, interactive, and effective.
Simultaneously delivering content and managing all the aspects of virtual instruction is a big job. Managing attendance, answering questions, and using interactive tools can leave a trainer distracted. A session producer (often referred to as a virtual producer) can be a co-pilot during the course to manage and monitor the entire environment, easing the pressure on the instructor so they can executive their subject matter expertise with participants.
“A session producer is a logistical ninja that makes everything the highest quality learning experience that it can be,” describes Pearl Walker, Senior Learning Operations and Delivery Manager at SAE International.
A virtual training producer provides technical support and instructional facilitation through a virtual delivery platform. A session producer manages the distraction so the trainer can focus on instruction.
Here are a few advantages of using a session producer that will elevate your course for the best learning experience possible.
Get a Partner in Planning and Rehearsal
Preparing to teach a course is often a one-person job. The instructor creates learning objectives, prepares the content, determines how to measure progress, and then executes on the big day. With a session producer, though, instructors have a partner to work side-by-side with them to practice material and determine how to keep the course engaging and on track.
Session producers can use these planning and rehearsal sessions to become familiar with the instructions style and the content being delivered. This will help them ensure that the course is moving at the right place and when to use interactive tools. Knowing the plan for the session means that no time is wasted on needless operational detours.
Other preparation that virtual producers can provide includes:
- Testing equipment
- Creating polls, whiteboards, and other interactive tools
- Inviting participants to the session
- Creating a discussion or learning guide to accompany the instruction
Having a trusted virtual training producer can be a big advantage during the rehearsal process. Partners can collaborate with content ideas, ways to keep learners engaged, the best methods to assess understanding, and tools that can be used in the event of roadblocks. Not to mention, that practice and rehearsal are great ways to be prepared.
Maximize Learner Engagement
Keeping learners focused and involved in the discussion will improve the learner’s retention. This can be achieved through many different tactics, including captivating presentation materials, being a charismatic speaker, and keeping the learner engaged through thoughtful and meaningful participation.
The virtual learning environment presents many opportunities to elicit opinions, ask questions, share knowledge, check for comprehension, and ensure that everyone is included. Session producers can use tools during the course that increase interaction and add value to the content. Executing these tools via Zoom or another platform can be difficult to do solo. A session producer creates a fast-moving environment, so the instructor is free to continue delivering content. They can even facilitate language translation.
Online delivery platforms and other integration tools offer a variety of interaction and assessment opportunities. Use a handful of these options to keep the training fresh, exciting, and the conversation active:
- Breakout rooms
Troubleshoot Technical Issues During Virtual Courses
Not only do session producers prepare the technical details for the upcoming course, but they can manage technical issues during the course, too. This can eliminate a lot of participant frustration that occurs when the instructor has to stop presenting to help a participant use the app or deal with screen sharing, audio settings, and user instructions. A good virtual training producer will be familiar with common technical issues and be able to overcome them quickly.
Involving the producer in the initial rehearsal and planning stages can really come in useful if the instructor runs into technical or bandwidth issues. If the instructor cannot overcome the roadblock, the producer may be able to temporarily step in while the instructor solves the problem.
Technical difficulties aren’t the only challenge that producers can help overcome. This second set of hands can be really helpful in an active chat session. Producers can respond to questions, provide written instructions for learners, and provide links to resources that can help participants solve technical problems. They can also chat privately with the instructor to keep them on time or to indicate that there is confusion that could require additional instructional time.
Choosing a Great Session Producer Will Improve the Virtual Learning Experience
If offering a meaningful, interactive, and trouble-free virtual learning experience is the goal, consider using a qualified and experienced session producer to facilitate your online training course. Session producers can better prepare instructors for the course, create more opportunities for interaction and knowledge sharing, and can shoulder the burden of technical support during the course delivery. Try using a session producer in your next virtual class.
Training partners like TTA provide on-demand virtual session producers and training instructors. For more information about session producers and how they can elevate your virtual training, listen to the TTA Bring Out The Talent podcast with Pearl Walker, Senior Learning Operations and Delivery Manager at SAE International. She shares how session producers play a vital role in SAE’s virtual deliveries.