Female Employee Working In Call Center or as Online Training Producer
ATD Blog

Ask a Trainer: What Kind of Producer Do I Need?

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

In this week’s Ask a Trainer guest post, Kassy LaBorie, author of Producing Virtual Training, Meetings, and WebinarsMaster the Technology to Engage Participants, explains the three types of technical producers that facilitators may work with.

Dear Kassy,

I’m an in-house trainer at my organization and, like most organizations, we pivoted to virtual training in 2020. Since then, my organization has decided to allow employees to work from home long-term, so virtual training is going to be the norm for us going forward. Because my boss no longer sees this as temporary, she is going to hire a technical producer to support our team, and she asked for my input on what that role should look like. I’m excited to have a producer on the team, but I don’t really know what to tell my boss. Should a producer also have a background in training or instructional design? Is it important for them to have some familiarity with the content we train on? Or are technical skills really the most important ones?

That’s an excellent question. I think there are three different types of producers. All of them are technical producers, meaning they know how to run whatever software you’re using, whether that’s Zoom, Webex, Adobe, Teams, and others. But not all of them need to know the content. Some producers just know enough about the subject to know how to direct it. They run all the tech, but the facilitator handles the content.

The second type of producer is one that I like to call the facilitative producer. This person may be an instructional designer or trainer and will know the content. They could teach or present the content if the facilitator isn’t there or maybe swap roles with the facilitator. I’ve done this with previous roles where I worked with a co-trainer. I would present the first half of the course, while my producer (who was a facilitative one), would teach the second half, and I would step into their role.


Is it required of producers to know that? Sometimes this approach isn’t scalable. In a bigger organization, you may need to hire producers who could support all the trainers. If you have hundreds of trainers teaching around the globe online every day, it’s unrealistic to ask all the producers to know all the content so they could also teach it.

The third type of producer comes in if your company says that having a producer is a luxury, or you just don’t have anyone available who can be a producer for you and have to do it yourself. In this situation, you may be able to work with a start time producer. This is someone who can be with the facilitator for the first 15 minutes of the session, because we all know that’s when the majority of technical problems are going to happen—when people are connecting to the computer, the audio, and camera. Most of the problems occur just getting started. If you have a co-worker or a friend who can be with you for the first fifteen minutes, then often you can take it from there.


In that situation, the facilitator must be aware of what all those production tasks are so that they can manage alone. But it’s at the beginning, when the bulk of help is needed, where it’s difficult, if not impossible, for one person to manage to get everyone connected. It’s important to open the session with impact, and I’m not opening with impact if I’m helping someone connect with their microphone. That’s when a producer is needed to take care of all that peripheral stuff in the background. That way, the facilitator can keep things going without having to interrupt the whole learning event for a couple of people.

Learn more from Kassy about working with a technical producer on the ATD Accidental Trainer podcast. Her episode will air on February 3.

If you have a question for Ask a Trainer, send it to [email protected]. You can find answers to previous questions by visiting the Ask a Trainer hub.

We welcome your comments and engagement on these posts. All posts are reviewed to ensure appropriateness based on ATD’s requirements for postings in our online communities.

Please note: Content shared in this column is provided by the author and may not reflect the perspectives of ATD.

About the Author

Kassy LaBorie is founder and principal consultant at Kassy LaBorie Consulting LLC. She is a virtual classroom master trainer, specializing in developing trainers to be engaging and effective when facilitating programs in Zoom, Webex, Adobe Connect, and other online platforms. She has worked with many Fortune 500 firms in a wide range of industries and sectors, including hospitality, pharmaceuticals, energy, government, NGOs, and nonprofits.

She trains and coaches producers, the virtual classroom trainer’s partner in effective facilitation, as well as instructional designers tasked with creating or converting content for virtual classroom delivery. Kassy also advises learning and development leaders in areas like virtual classroom strategy, technology selection, logistics, and more. She has more than 20 years of experience helping organizations, learning teams, and training professionals successfully
move to the virtual environment.

Since 2008, she has participated in more than 100 industry conferences as a speaker, expert panelist, and workshop trainer. Kassy is a regular presenter at such events as ATD’s International Conference & EXPO, ATD TechKnowledge, Training Magazine’s conference, TechLearn, Learning Solutions, and DevLearn.

Prior to launching her consulting practice, Kassy was the director of virtual training services at Dale Carnegie Training, a consulting service that partners with organizations to help them develop successful online training strategies. She was also the product design architect responsible for developing the company’s live online training product and experience, which grew to be a $4 million dollar business in only a few years.

Kassy has also worked as an independent master virtual trainer, a Microsoft software trainer, and a senior trainer at Webex, where she helped build and deliver
training at the Webex University. Kassy is co-author of Interact and Engage! 75+ Activities for Virtual Training, Meetings, and Webinars (Second Edition, ATD Press, 2022), and is also author of Producing Virtual Training, Meetings, and Webinars: Master the Technology to Engage Participants (ATD Press, 2021). She is also the author of The Virtual Trainer’s Guide to Becoming a Hero, which is available for download on her website. You can learn more about Kassy by visiting

1 Comment
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I found this insightful and so timely. Many of us are being asked to step into a producer role without fully understanding the task. Breaking it our into the three roles described makes it so much easier to have a conversation about expectations and responsibilities so we can step up and be the best producer possible.
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