How To: Adapt Live Learning Activities to a Virtual Environment

A 1-2-3 Guide to Making the Transition

Transitioning learning activities that were originally designed for live workshops to VILT can be a huge undertaking – and it’s just one step in your live-to-VILT conversion process.

We’ve broken out the steps you’ll need to take to ensure a successful transition to virtual training. Let this checklist be your trusty guide.


1. Select what information to include in your VILT session – and what to shift to another format

Say you’re adapting a two-day live workshop to virtual format. You wouldn’t just make this a two-day virtual workshop, since it’s much more difficult to sustain people’s attention for long periods during virtual training. Instead, you’ll need to decide what to keep in your VILT session and what information you want to deliver in another way — or cut entirely.

If you decide everything needs to be transitioned to VILT, consider how you can break out training in multiple, shorter sessions. 

If information doesn’t fit into your VILT plan, consider delivering it to your audience in an alternate format:

  • Pre-work reading or self-study assignments

  • eLearning modules that can be taken before or after the VILT

  • Group discussion of articles, case studies, or application questions

  • Post-work reading or assignments

  • Job aids for on-the-job application, and discussion groups for peer or facilitator support


VILT - Step 1

2. Define your lesson activities

In an ideal world, all of our VILT sessions would be as rich and interactive as our live workshops.  In reality, our ability to do this is confined by our audience, what our technology allows, and other factors.  Here are some questions you should ask:

1. What worked well in the live workshop? What didn’t?

Use your experience and feedback from live training. Is there a group activity, role-play, or competition that always gets people motivated? If so, think about how you can recreate or adapt that activity in a virtual session. On the other hand, do participants tend to drift off during a certain presentation? Chances are, they’ll be less focused in a virtual environment, so think about how to change it up with discussion, activities, and engaging visuals and media like audio and video.

2. Who’s your audience?

Even more than in a classroom, the number of participants and their level of tech savviness will either restrict or enable the range of activities you can use. It should never prevent you from using activities, but it may limit the types of activities you use.

3. What’s your tech platform?

Does your VILT platform offer polling, breakout rooms, or a virtual whiteboard? Your platform can enable or restrict the range of activities you have access to. Again, with creative design, the tool should never prevent you from engaging your participants, but it may limit the ways you engage with them.

4. What’s your intention?

The focus of a well-designed workshop is never to just present information — so the same should be true about your virtual workshop. Consider each part of your workshop: Is it meant to engage learners? To encourage collaboration? To practice applying new skills?  To motivate learners? To gather feedback? Once you determine the purpose behind each part of the workshop, design your activities to meet that objective.

VILT - Step 2

3. Organize your learning experience

Just like a live workshop, you’ll want variety between presentation of content, discussion, and activities. Here’s a sample VILT structure to consider: 

1. Opening
  • Warm up question and tech test
  • Facilitator (and producer) introductions
  • Review tool functionality and participant expectations
  • Get to know each other (ice breaker)

2. Presentation/Discussion: Didactic presentation with regular engagement questions (slowly increase participation from quick polls to typing in chat to speaking by voice) 

3. Activity: After no more than 30 minutes, have a more robust activity, like a breakout room or an application or reflection activity

4. Break: After no more than 30 minutes, provide a break or virtual energizer

Repeat steps 2-4 for the duration of the session

5. Closing
  • Reflection on what you learned, how you will apply it, etc.
  • Next steps (e.g., post-work, expectations for how you’ll use the content moving forward, how to get help)
  • Course evaluation (as applicable)
VILT - Step 3

Additional Resources

Training Conversion Process_v11

Live-to-VILT Conversion Roadmap

How to Select What Content to Include in VILT

How to Select Content to Include -- Or Exclude -- In VILT