Four Common Pitfalls In Online Training | Ufi VocTech Trust

Four Common Pitfalls In Online Training

This blog post by Mark Berthelemy, an expert in solving digital problems, supports the first session in our series of free 'How To' Webinars. These were developed to support trainers who need to rapidly move their learning provision to wholly online.  You can watch the recording on GoTo Webinar: How To Move Training Online - A Trainer's Quick Start Guide.


Whenever you start doing something new you're probably going to make mistakes.

This blog post will hopefully help you learn from the mistakes I've made...


1. Expectations Of Trainees

This is particularly true if you're going to try to set up any sort of online community, but also applies for any new process (eg. submitting assignments).

It takes time for people to get used to new ways of working. This, combined with a lack of confidence in the online environment, might mean that your plans may be a little ambitious.

Two pieces of advice:

  • Build in time for people to acclimatise
  • Be absolutely clear, concise and accurate in your communications


2. Expectations Of Yourself

You may be trying out all sorts of new 'toys' like learning management systems, content authoring tools or virtual meeting applications.

Whilst it's tempting to experiment with all the bells & whistles, I'd advise you to keep it simple at first. This will help your learners, but it will also help you. Focus on the basics and get them right before trying out the more advanced stuff.

For example, if you're using virtual meeting software, start with just a very basic conversation. Make sure you know how to keep things secure. Get used to using your camera & microphone, and to supporting your learners through their setup.

Only when you're all comfortable should you start introducing things like screen sharing, chat, collaborative whiteboards, and breakout rooms.


3. User Experience

As I've said in a previous blog post, the end-to-end user experience is critical. Make sure you've mapped it out - including every touch point you have with learners.

And then look at the pain points.

You'll find these quickly enough by keeping track of what problems people need help for. Ideally you'll have pre-empted a lot of them, but there will always be something you miss.

You might want to think about these key points:

  • Joining instructions
  • How to get to your materials
  • How to submit assessments
  • How to get help
  • How to retrieve certificates


4. Legal Stuff

It's very easy, when we're in a rush, to ignore our legal obligations. I'm afraid, if you do, they'll like come back to bite you later.

So, when you're designing your processes, learning programme and materials, think about these things, and make sure you adhere to your organisation's policies:

  • Data protection (GDPR) - especially when you're buying into new software systems. You must understand your data privacy obligations.
  • Safeguarding - especially if there is a social / communication element to your programme. Who is allowed to talk to people. Who has access to those conversations?
  • Copyright - especially with regard to images. You can't just take images off the web without explicit permission. Even Creative Commons licensing comes with obligations.


Note from Stephen Hinde, Community Manager for Ufi VocTech Trust

The 'How To' webinar series from Ufi is an evergrowing catalogue of knowledge which was introduced to support and ensure teaching and learning still happens during the restrictions arising from Covid-19. While the sessions were built to support immediately during the outbreak, a lot of the information and learnings can still be transferred into the future to supoprt the way learning happens.

Connect with Mark Berthelemy on LinkedIn.

See Mark's previous blog posts for Ufi VocTech Trust at