Virtual Training: How to Transition Classroom Training to Online

We are proud to say that we have been providing best-in-class online training for well over a decade. If you can believe, in 2010 the US Army took note of our negotiation training we were conducting in Second Life (way before using avatars was cool) and invited us to present at the Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge. More than a decade later, virtual reality is still making its way into corporate training. We have come a long way since then – not just updating our virtual reality offerings (to headsets rather than Second Life, which went a different direction), but also leveraging artificial intelligence, unique live simulation-driven training, live or on-demand video-based roleplay coaching, mobile apps, and countless other options.

Fast forward to today, we were recently asked to speak to senior leaders at both the CLO Exchange and ATD (Association for Talent Development) to share some best practices around online training.  Here is a synopsis of what made a our training successful:

    • Break It Up: We convert a one-day training session into 3-4 online sessions of approximately 60-90 minutes in length.
    • Build it Backwards: To accomplish this, we do not just transition the classroom content online, we build it new with online in mind. Big difference. Here are a few examples:
      • Multiple Online Platforms: We develop additional applications that layer on to the video session portion (e.g. Zoom, Adobe Connect, Google Hangouts, BlueJeans, Webex). This means adding exercises, simulations, or case studies beyond those platforms.
      • Interactive and Experiential: We leverage breakout rooms to run live simulations.
      • Second Voice: We add a second facilitator for many sessions to change the voice and pace.
      • Pick Up the Pace: We nearly double the number of slides pace. Rule of thumb, 5 mins max without some interactivity…otherwise, you’ll get what Intercall found – 65% of people did other work and 63% of people sent emails during video/audio meetings.
      • Engage:  We use polls not as a means to “engage” the audience, because they do very little of that in our opinion, but as a way to then dig in to why members of the audience selected what they did.
    • Utilizing Spacial Learning: We leverage the biggest advantage of online training – it’s facilitation of spatial learning. We space lessons 1 day to 1 week apart and we end each session with assigning participants to try what we just learned. We then open the next session with a roundtable on how it went and share the success and coach to the challenges. Research by Schimanke from German University, Hochschule Weserbergland, shows that using spaced repetition people remember approximately 80% of what they learn.

These are just a few of the tips that we shared during the sessions and we feel are critical to a successful online session.


Does this really work? Here is what one of our clients has to say:

“We have used SNI for Keynotes at our internal Campuses and for in-person training as well. Their no-nonsense approach and great delivery made it one of our highest rated programs. Naturally, when we found ourselves forced to move in-person events to on-line, we called them. Frankly we couldn’t imagine how they could live up to the in-person sessions. SNI’s program on influencing was original and effective, as good as their negotiations program, and far exceeding our expectations as they ran live virtual sessions for our North America and EMEA Teams. Their sessions were interactive, entertaining and highly informative with concrete action items that everyone immediately applied to. They filled the need beyond expectation and were, as usual, easy to work with!”               

Alex Tremblot, VP Group Commercial Excellence at Air Liquide


Give us a call at 410-662-4764 or fill out the form below to learn more.

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