Virtual training has become more popular over the past two years, especially throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. While it’s a great tool for the flexibility it provides both CDL drivers and trainers, it also presents challenges as well. The biggest challenge typically being how to keep drivers engaged. Whether your company is holding monthly safety training, company policy training, or remote onboarding, these tips will help both you and your drivers get the most out of it.
1. Schedule a dry run
This is an especially important tip for longer trainings and for new trainers. You may have a great training plan on paper, but you won’t know if something’s not quite working or doesn’t translate well until you start the training, and then it’s too late. To avoid this, consider doing a dry run by yourself or with a co-worker before the actual training. While this won’t be the perfect way to simulate a live training with drivers, it will help you catch possible problems and ways that you can make the presentation better.
2. Ask for cameras to be on
As everyone over the past year has probably noticed, it’s very easy to nod off or lose focus if the camera is off during meetings and trainings. This is just as true for drivers, who may not be used to doing Zoom meetings and virtual trainings regularly. The connection is simple here.
Like in all virtual settings, if a person’s camera is on, they’re much more likely to stay engaged with the material. While your company may have a policy that cameras don’t have to be on during company meetings, you can offer incentives like being entered into a contest to win a gift card for those who do.
3. Make expectations known
Another tip is to set your expectations before the training even starts. Ask drivers to please remove any other distractions from the area before the start of the training and to make sure they’re giving you their full attention. While the virtual setting gives you no real way to confirm if they’re doing this, it conveys the message that your training will be more engaging and intensive than a slide-by-slide PowerPoint lecture. You might find it helpful to outline all virtual training expectations in a pre-training email shortly before the event starts.
4. Make it a discussion, not a lecture
There’s most likely a lot of information you need to go over in your virtual training. While you’ll want to get through all this information in a timely manner, avoid the urge to just recite information to drivers. Studies have shown over and over again that this is not the way people retain information.
Instead, engage drivers by making your training a two-way street. Make an active effort to ask questions often and wait for feedback from drivers. This encourages engagement and will give you a better understanding of drivers as people as opposed to boxes on a screen. Almost all meeting software have built-in interactions and chat functionality that make it easy to engage with drivers throughout the training. Take some time to go through these during your dry run so that you can implement them during your training.
5. Break it up
Use short quizzes and polls to break up the information in your training. This can be done through almost any meeting software like Zoom or Teams. Aside from helping avoid fatigue on both your end and the drivers, this is a great way to see how the class is doing with certain material and if there’s anything you could explain better.
When it comes to virtual training, there are many different things you can do to make it a more productive experience for you and your drivers. The biggest takeaway here is to make everything you do center around engagement. This is the key to holding a successful virtual training for you and your drivers.