Virtual Classroom Training

Virtual classroom trainings conducted for a relatively small target group by a subject matter expert with real-time interactive components such as questions and answers, discussion and exercises.

Area of application

Virtual classroom trainings are virtual classroom meetings with one or more experts who provide information on a specific subject matter. The main goal is to transmit knowledge and develop the competences of the participants. The format includes a certain level of interaction between the trainers and the participants ranging from questions and answers, discussion or exercises. 


The virtual classroom training could be part of a longer learning process or a stand-alone activity depending on the goals of the knowledge-sharing process and the target group. The specific learning objective of each online training should be defined in advance. The individual learning results should be applied in practical exercises and could be tested during or after the training. The maximum number of participants is limited to 25-30 people to ensure the possibility of meaningful interaction between trainers and participants. For exercises the participants can be split in smaller groups.

Virtual mode

The main advantages of virtual trainings compared to traditional classroom trainings is that they are easy to set up and can reach people in remote places. In online trainings it is easier to have a follow-up contact with participants, as contact details are shared. The main challenge is the lack of personal interaction between trainers and participants, which might result in a delayed recognition if the learning process is not going smoothly.


Methods for virtual classroom trainings are focused on learning, application of knowledge and reaching learning objectives. This includes, for instance, presentations, storytelling, questions and answers, discussion and individual or group exercises.

Breakout sessions are easy to set up and good for keeping participants engaged.

Considering the different levels of knowledge or the specific interests of the target group, it might be beneficial to split the group in breakout discussions or exercises, or maybe even organise two separate virtual meetings. Asynchronous work and a mixture of online and offline tools can be particularly useful as it allows the adaptation of the programme to individual learning paths. The difference to the virtual version of Blended Learning is that the main part of the learning process takes place in the classroom trainings complemented by some asynchronous work.




As virtual work might be new for some participants, an introduction to the technical tools (approx. 1 hour) could be offered one day before the start of the training. This makes it easier for participants to feel comfortable, to concentrate on the content and participate more actively.

to ensure that they are familiar and comfortable with the technical tools and to clarify their roles and responsibilities.

Use of synchronous and asynchronous working is recommended. Before the event, the participants can prepare for the discussion topics by reviewing supporting materials.

Consider inviting participants to join a “soft landing” 15 minutes before the training starts. This is an informal get-together which helps to create an atmosphere of trust. Participants and trainers can chat and get to know each other in an informal setting. This also significantly increases the chance that the training can start on time.  In appropriate cases, some music can be played in the background to create a welcoming atmosphere.

Compared to in-person meetings, the use of a less sophisticated language by trainers is recommended as participants’ ability to concentrate during online presentations is shown to be lower. Finally, workshops, group meetings and classroom trainings have a lot in common when it comes to moderation and technology. Useful tips for the organisation of workshops can be found in the other areas, too.




Sufficient time should be dedicated to defining the training objective, the target group and criteria for participation, e.g. required prior knowledge, identifying appropriate trainers or experts and conducting the application process for selecting participants.



The costs are lower as it is a virtual meeting, but the input by experts, the development of the training concept, facilitation and interpretation still need to be budgeted. Additional time for follow-up support, e.g. supporting participants in applying the training or written answers to the Q&A session, should also be budgeted.



Videoconferencing tools for virtual classroom trainings should be easily accessible for all participants. Tools that have integrated additional features for breakout sessions might be more suitable to facilitate. The participants' cameras should be switched on and the microphones should be muted. In parallel to the speaking room, participants should be encouraged to take advantage of the chat feature. A “raise-hand” function could be useful for participants to engage.



The following roles are involved in virtual classroom trainings:

defines the learning objectives for the training, identifies the target group and the initial level of knowledge, selects and coordinates the trainers, puts in place an appropriate application process for selecting participants and conducts the selection.


Janin Fischer
Suzana Lange
Corinna Weigelt

Contact us
© Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt