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ATD Blog

6 Tips for Exceptional Remote Training Experiences

Thursday, March 25, 2021

For more than a decade, ICAgile accreditors have reviewed thousands of courses to ensure top-quality agile learning experiences, vetting everything from activities to the instructors facilitating them. Along the way, we’ve built resources for instructors to develop the competencies they need to remotely deliver top-quality training.

From our experience accrediting remote agile courses such as Agility in Human Resources, we’ve identified six essential tips to follow to deliver exceptional remote training:

1. Simplify Your Tools

We’ve come across many fantastic tools that can make your remote learning experience stand out. We’ve also seen how easy it is to over-tool the solution and leave your learners overstimulated and underserved.

Tools should be a seamless and nearly invisible part of course delivery. Use only the essential tools you need to create an effective remote learning experience. Keep your technology simple so that your learners remain focused on what matters most: the learning experience.

2. Hold a Conversation, Not a Lecture

Presentations that only focus on slides will leave learners disengaged, no matter how intriguing the material is. Instead, treat every minute of your online course as an opportunity to inspire your learners with a mix of rich media.

Break away from relying on PowerPoint with content like animated videos. Recently, Vyond found that 48 percent of employees wish their company brought presentations to life with video.

Keeping a webcam video on also encourages continuous engagement.


Secondly, create moments that invite learners to actively participate in the discussion. Every participant in a remote course has a unique perspective to contribute. Since the pandemic began, attitudes toward training have grown more diverse. Holding space for these diverse views will enrich the experience for all participants.

3. Make It (Virtually) Hands-On

It’s common to feel like your usual classroom activities or engagement strategies won’t translate online. With the right tools, simple practices like group discussions are just as effective with remote course delivery.

Focus on the “why” behind every activity. Once you’ve identified the learning objective you hope to achieve, choose the tools that will help students achieve it. Leverage the most effective remote tools out there—from videos and animation to virtual whiteboards—to engage learners and make it stick.

4. Take a Break

On-site, full-day courses are usual. Remote learning, however, requires a different approach. After roughly three hours, your learners’ retention will begin to decrease significantly.


Online courses should be between 90 minutes and two hours, with breaks every 45 to 60 minutes. This provides opportunities for facilitators to modularize courses, teaching in smaller chunks so that people can take what they’ve learned, try it, and return to the next session prepared to go deeper.

5. Have a Back-Up Plan

When technology is involved, if it can go wrong, it will. Have a plan for when it does. Approaching course design with an agile mindset allows you to embrace uncertainty and be flexible to meet learners’ needs in the moment.

Plan ahead with co-trainers for issues like outages. Know whether you will try to move to a different location, have your co-trainer continue the class, or reschedule. Have a plan for how you’ll communicate any changes with your learners.

6. Practice, Practice, Practice

Remote course delivery is most effective when you understand the technologies, master the transitions, and maintain an energy of collaboration and engagement. These skills shield your learners from the world of distractions on their screen.

Whether you’ve spent one year or many perfecting your in-person training skills, effective remote course delivery requires a strikingly different approach and lots of practice. At ICAgile, we believe in the power of remote learning, and we’re here to help instructors deliver top-quality courses from anywhere in the world.

About the Author

Christina Hartikainen joined ICAgile in 2019 as the director of Agile Learning. In this role, she's working with the ICAgile team to advance the state of agile learning globally. Christina's worked in some fascinating businesses including government agencies, oil and gas companies, and policing. Over the past 20+ years, she's held roles in testing, development, IT management, business analysis, product ownership, training, facilitating, and guiding organizational change

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True v true .. practicing to face surprises is so important
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True v true .. practicing to face surprises is so important
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