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What Are the Three Levels of VILT Design?

Are you familiar with the best practices instructional design experts use to convert in-person, instructor-led training (ILT) content to effective virtual instructor-led training (VILT)?

Recently, two experts from the AllenComm instructional design team provided insights and useful advice in the webinar Converting ILT to VILT: Current Innovations and Tools to Increase Training Impact in 2022. The strategies are more important than ever, as more companies make use of remote workplaces, digital training and custom eLearning to support distributed workforces (ATD State of the Industry Report).

During the webinar, our team covered the basics to keep in mind during any ILT to VILT conversion. They shared tips and ideas to develop virtual learning content with the three levels of design maturity in mind – based on budget, need, and other organizational factors that might influence timing – to include interactivity components and how to integrate with other learning curriculum modalities. They also provided a demonstration of key strategies.

Instructional design companies in a meeting

For reference, you’ll find a basic description of the three levels of design maturity below.

VILT Design Strategies for Content Conversion

Level 1: The basic conversion from in-person content to VILT. At this stage, the content conversion is fairly straightforward. You may have digitized, read-only material with some visual aids, or a previously video provided to watch. This level could also include digital resources organized within a landing page for people to access during self-directed learning times, or as an on-the-job aid. You might also see a live video, but with no participation during the presentation. (Think PowerPoint slides and a lecture, but no chat or discussion.)

Level 2: A more progressed stage of design, at this level developers build interactivity components into the digital content to increase engagement. This may include items such as live video used for synchronous learning activities, with instructor-provided chats, provided feedback, and Q&A sessions. This level of development allows for interactions and participation. Trainers and teachers may build lessons and then present them in a discussion format, with assessments used to measure comprehension. Performance mapping may be used to identify the desired behaviors and design learning activities that provide practice. Additional training for facilitators and measurements plans may be created to streamline the learning process and determine benchmarks of the success of the course.

Level 3: At this level, the original ILT content is redesigned and completely integrated into a broader learning strategy within your organization. The design builds interactivity into each activity and modality, allowing for measurements, application, and increased understanding through iterative participation. You may have both synchronous (group) and asynchronous (single-learner activities) learning based on technology. For example, students may be provided with responsive digital practice activities in the form of quizzes that pose questions and provide multiple choice options for response, prompts learners them to make decisions, provide scoring, and offer customized feedback based on scores that help learners know which skills have been mastered and which should be studies or practiced further. Use of quizzes, polls, and other activities are built into the course. There may also be 1:1 interaction and breakout groups.

These descriptions, of course, are only an outline. Essentially, the first level is a straight conversion of the content; the second is a more advanced design adding interactivity; and the third is a redesign to innovate and expand.

How to Choose the Right Update Strategy

So, now that you’re starting to picture your potential solutions, how do you decide which design level is right for the VILT in your organization? In general, we recommend basing your decisions on your priorities.

If the organization requires a fast fix and delivery on a limited budget, then level one is the right design strategy. However, more engagement is usually more motivating, increases learners’ retention, and allows for the greatest feedback on the effectiveness of the courses. When your budget includes the resources, your team has the bandwidth and expertise for the conversion, and redesign is limited to specific courses, level two is a good goal to reach for and will provide measurable impact.

Finally, if you find that your organizational priorities allow for innovation, scale, and measurable impact across multiple modalities of learning and you need a comprehensive training program update, level three would make the most sense. In this case, your organization may have the budget and internal bandwidth to scale ILT to VILT training, or to bring in a consultant to support your efforts.

You may access additional information and resources by watching the recording of our webinar, here.