Press Release

Virtual Trainer Capability Model Helps Trainers Upskill and Excel


(Alexandria, VA) May 3, 2022—Virtual training is a core business skill for learning and development professionals. To best support employee skill development in the virtual environment, facilitators, designers, developers, and producers must also hone their skills. In Next Level Virtual Training: Advance Your Facilitation (ATD Press, May 2022), learning expert and master trainer Diana L. Howles takes trainers beyond the basics of virtual training and online synchronous instruction, providing them with the Virtual Trainer Capability Model, a framework trainers can use to elevate their virtual training skills and deliver successful learning transfer.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, trainers and facilitators pivoted from providing an in-person training skillset to understanding the need to learn or relearn basic virtual training skills to keep their programs running and their customers learning.

“With virtual learning and hybrid learning environments part of the new normal for training, it is no longer enough to just have a basic knowledge of virtual training,” states Howles. “Trainers need to up their virtual delivery game to ensure that learners are effectively engaged so that learning sticks. Regardless of one’s experience with traditional in-person training, virtual training requires new and expanded skills to be successful. Now is the time to upskill and grow one’s capabilities as a virtual training professional. This means going beyond knowing how to use the tools a platform offers to knowing how and why certain engagement activities should or should not be used.”

For those who have been delivering online training for a few years, this book is here to help those virtual facilitators elevate their craft by outlining all the core capabilities essential to upskilling themselves, along with multiple strategies and tips to take virtual training to the next level. To this end, the Virtual Trainer Capability Model identifies eight areas of expertise for the top virtual professional—experience design, environment shaping, online facilitation, facilitator presence, technical fluency, dynamic engagement, agile troubleshooting, and evaluating impact. Working toward proficiency in all these skills represents the full range of what it means to facilitate at the next level.

“Because trainers are in a profession that helps others develop new knowledge and skills, my hope is that this book will help trainers develop new knowledge and skills,” says Howles. “As we rise to the virtual and online challenges, let’s set the bar high and push ourselves to be better virtual trainers and online facilitators. Why? Because worldwide learners and future generations deserve our best. Together we make an investment in the most precious commodity we have—the global workforce.”

About the Author


An award-winning speaker, global virtual facilitator, and mas­ter trainer who brings 25 years of experience in the talent development industry, Diana L. Howles is CEO and co-founder of Howles Associates, a multimedia company that specializes in live online learning and provides consulting, coaching, and courses to help professionals improve their effectiveness with virtual training programs and virtual presentations. Diana has authored several learning and development articles over the years on and in publications such as TD, Learning Solutions, and Training. She is a past president of the Association for Tal­ent Development (ATD) Madison Area Chapter and was its first virtual presenter during the early 2000s, showcasing and championing how web conferencing technologies could facilitate online training. Diana lives in the Midwest in the United States with her family. You can connect with Diana on her website at,, and @DianaHowles.

About ATD and ATD Press

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest association dedicated to those who develop talent in organizations. ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD Press publications are written by industry thought leaders and offer anyone who works with adult learners the best practices, academic theory, and guidance necessary to move the profession forward. For more information, visit


Next Level Virtual Training
ISBN: 9781953946034 | 398 pp. | Paperback
To order books from ATD Press, call 800.628.2783.

To schedule an interview with Diana Howles, please contact Kay Hechler, ATD Press senior marketing manager, at [email protected] or 703.683.8178.

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