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Virtual Learning: The Definitive Guide

As remote working became the norm for many workers, so did virtual learning. In March 2020, L&D departments had to pivot their learning strategies overnight. Some were already well-versed in distance and digital learning. Others had never attempted it before. L&D professionals learned a lot from that experience, and so did we. So this guide is a collection of our favorite resources—ebooks, webinars, blogs, and articles—to help you prepare, design, and develop your own virtual learning content and strategy.

Virtual learning has been an important part of learning strategies for a long time. Like many areas of learning, the pandemic and sudden shifts in working locations merely exacerbated the need for it. This short guide full of useful resources is here to help you navigate a range of elements of virtual learning, from content and design through to engagement and strategy.

You’ll find links to resources from LEO Learning and a whole bunch of research we’ve found useful on our own journey with virtual learning.

To help keep things simple, we’ve split this guide up into the following sections:

  1. Video, animation, and creating for virtual learning content
  2. Designing and facilitating virtual workshops and classrooms
  3. Building and maintaining engagement in virtual learning
  4. Adapting and developing virtual learning strategies
  5. External research

1) Distance and Virtual Learning Content

When you think of virtual learning, you may go straight to virtual classrooms. And while they are a big part of a virtual learning strategy, there’s a lot more to it than that. For example, animation and video content can be great additions to virtual learning. These resources can help you with creating learning content for virtual learning, both professionally and remotely. 

The 6 Dos and Don’ts of Designing Distance Learning Content [blog post]

5 Benefits of Animation in a Virtual Learning Journey[blog post]

4 Ways to Tell Video Stories During Lockdown [blog post]

How to Plan for the 3 Phases of a Virtual Learning Video Project [blog post]

2) Virtual Workshops and Classrooms

When remote working first became widespread across the world, virtual classrooms and webinars were the go-to delivery for internal training that was previously conducted in person. We’ve worked with a wide range of customers to help them transform their virtual learning efforts and have created a lot of resources specific to workshops and classrooms.

These resources draw on the expertise of L&D professionals across a range of industries, a model for understanding virtual learners (check out the final webinar from the list!), and commentary on industry research.

Top 10 Tips for Hosting a Successful Virtual Classroom [blog post]

Virtual Learning Delivery Tips: L&D Professionals Reveal What’s Working [blog post]

Reflections on Fosway’s 2021 Report on the Power of Virtual Classrooms [blog post + video]

Going Virtual: The Next Steps in Engaging Online Together [webinar recording]

12 Ways to Design Virtual-First Learning [PDF]

Going Virtual: What’s Working? [webinar recording]

Virtual Learning Journeys: A Focus on the Emerging Learner [webinar recording]

3) Designing Engaging Virtual Learning

Once you understand what goes into designing effective virtual learning journeys, whether the delivery is live or asynchronous, the next vital step is to boost engagement. Learning at a distance without your peers can bring new challenges when it comes to maintaining interest and engagement, so these resources are here to help you understand how to get through to your learners at a distance and maintain their focus.

Distance Learning: 5 Ways to Keep Engaging Your Audience [blog post]

5 Ways to Build Trust and Engagement in a Virtual Workshop Setting [blog post]

Virtual Learning Journeys: Engaging With Audiences at a Distance [webinar recording]

How to Design a Distance-Friendly Blended Learning Experience [blog post]

4) Advice and Virtual Learning Strategy

Our final section is a little broader. Here, we’ve included a series of resources that discuss the theme of virtual learning more generally. However, we think these blogs and ebooks are still really useful and wanted to make sure we included them. Our experts talk strategy, ask questions, and use what we learned during the pandemic to look to the future of virtual learning.

Going Virtual: How Different Types of Organizations Are Adapting to Digital Learning [blog post]

Zoom Fatigue: 4 Ways L&D is Adapting Learning Delivery During Lockdown [blog post]

What’s Working in Virtual Learning? Your Questions Answered [blog post]

3 Key Mindset Shifts for L&D Capabilities in 2021 [blog post]

Preparing for the Future of Workplace Learning: 7 Challenges and Innovations for Changing Times [ebook]

5) External Research

As well as learning from our clients, we’ve spent a lot of time reading and researching to create the resources above. Here are a few of our favorite pieces we’ve drawn on over the years.

The Power of Virtual Classrooms in a Post-Pandemic World [PDF - Fosway]

Harnessing the Power of Virtual Learning [ebook - Harvard Business Publishing]

Keep Your People Learning When You Go Virtual [article - Harvard Business Review]

Everyone Is Within Learning Distance: Building Skills Remotely [article - Mckinsey & Co]

Ready to take your next steps in the world of virtual learning? Or perhaps you have some questions? Get in touch with one of our experts.

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