Book Recommendation: Next Level Virtual Training by Diana Howles

I’m always excited when a new book on virtual training is published because there is so much to explore on this topic and new ideas to discover. Diana Howles’s new book, Next Level Virtual Training – Advance Your Facilitation (ATD Press 2022) is well researched and includes dozens of learning principles and theories, all presented with virtual training lens. She offers refreshing look at the topic of virtual facilitation by structuring the book’s content around eight virtual trainer capabilities:

  1. Experience design
  2. Environment shaping
  3. Online facilitation
  4. Facilitator Presence
  5. Technical fluency
  6. Dynamic engagement
  7. Agile troubleshooting
  8. Evaluating impact

I especially liked the advanced facilitation techniques she covers in Chapter 4: “Applying the Secrets of Effective Online Facilitation.” She includes great ideas on how the make virtual spaces inclusive, the importance of instructional clarity and the pausing principle.

The book concludes with an excellent chapter on “Combining Online and On-Site Learners in Live Mixed Learning.” The term live mixed learning was new to me and it’s a much more precise way to describe hybrid classrooms. Howe offers practical ideas on how to overcome technical challenges and learner experience inequities for in-person vs. virtual participants. Designing and facilitating live mixed learning are definitely advanced skills for learning professionals and she has good ideas on how to maximize benefits and mitigate risks for this format which continues to expand as hybrid workplaces become mainstream.

So if you are serious about growing your virtual training skills to the next level, add Next Level Virtual Training to your reading list.