Help your in-house experts create effective virtual learning

Anyone who’s ever tried to shoot a good how-to video knows that it’s harder than it looks. It’s not just technical issues like lighting, sound, holding the camera steady, and changing focus between the speaker and the object or task. It’s also choosing what to say and saying it clearly, coherently, and concisely: is this bit of context useful to include, or is it just excess background information? It’s easy to ramble. It’s difficult to be clear. And this is just one type of virtual training.

Social distancing combined with a high rate of change has truly made 2020 the year of virtual learning. Change just keeps coming and with it the pressure to train employees and customers alike on new knowledge, skills, and procedures. There’s tremendous demand for just-in-time online training in small nuggets that tell people exactly what they need to know to do one specific thing right now. When it’s the same thing everyone else has to do (like learn how to wash your hands really well), off-the-shelf training provides an ideal solution. But when it’s something specific to your company or even your department, there’s no such thing as off the shelf.

For custom content, you could partner with a company that specializes in developing custom training. They can work with your internal experts to create exactly what you need and get it into your learners’ hands in just the right format. At Obsidian Learning, we do this all the time with our customers, so we know the advantages and disadvantages of this arrangement. One of the big disadvantages is how long it takes to get internal approval to use an outside vendor if you don’t already have a partnership in place. You might even have to issue an RFP. When it comes to an urgent training need, who has time for that?

Without external help the burden to create fast, effective online training usually falls on in-house subject matter experts. But experts in a field are often not experts in training—especially in training online; especially in training online effectively. Even learning professionals may find themselves out of their depth, needing to refresh or extend their skills around virtual training development and delivery.

Effective virtual and face-to-face learning share many of the same requirements, including designing for the audience, setting clear learning objectives, structuring, and right-sizing deliverables appropriately, clear presentation, and reinforcing learning. But there are also unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to virtual delivery and the many virtual deliverables available: videos, animations, infographics, step-by-step instructions, web-based training, live virtual events, and more.

“No one has to reinvent the wheel on this. Obsidian’s Virtual Learning series provides targeted training modules to guide your employees in creating their own virtual training nuggets and programs, free for purchase through the end of January!


Monica Savage is President of Obsidian Learning, which creates both off-the-shelf and custom learning solutions. The Obsidian Virtual Team Building series offers a program to help people connect, thrive, and be more productive while also having fun. Our Virtual Learning series guides employees tasked with creating their own virtual training. Our library on Open Sesame expands weekly as we pivot with you to meet today’s challenges.