Virtual learning etiquette – the do’s and don’ts of online training

Online learning has many benefits. It means that you and/or your team can continue working on personal development flexibly, at a location that suits you and it’s certainly a cost-effective solution. This option is something that has proved pivotal during the coronavirus outbreak where more legal professionals are working remotely, and we’ve seen many firms and individuals take advantage of our Live Online offering, especially now the Professional Skills Course (PSC) is available entirely online. However, despite approaching learning from an informal location, there is a level of etiquette that should be carried forward to your virtual classroom environment if you truly wish to reap the rewards. For our blog this week, we’re talking about the do’s and don’ts of online training.


Ask questions

The chat box is a function of online training for a reason and just because you’re in a virtual classroom setting does not mean that you cannot or shouldn’t ask questions. It’s been scientifically proven that we learn by asking questions and according to Success magazine, questioning allows us to explore different perspectives and become less biased in our decision-making.

Mute your microphone

When you’re not talking or contributing to the session, it’s useful to mute your microphone to ensure that any background noise doesn’t disrupt the session. You can always unmute yourself when you want to ask a question, but make sure you are mindful of the appropriate times to do so.

Be respectful

This applies to your trainer and fellow delegates too. Remember, your trainers have put a lot of time and effort into delivering high-level course content (especially during a notably unusual situation), so maintain the level of respect that you typically would for a face-to-face environment. And when it comes to your fellow delegates, remember that for some, this may be the first time that they’ll be undertaking an online course.  Lastly, as with face-to-face sessions, please be on time and be respectful of other people’s time.

Be mindful of your language

As well as the obvious curse words or rude tone (this falls into the respectful category too), this means avoiding using caps lock, sarcasm or humour that may be misconstrued. It’s easy for written text to be misread. According to Psychology Today, without facial expressions, tone of voice or gestures, it can be difficult to interpret how a message was intended, and our minds will fill in the blanks based on previous experiences. So, make sure you read it out loud first before you hit the send button.


Get distracted

Similar to a face-to-face classroom environment, distractions can hinder your learning experience, and this is something that you should look to avoid if you wish to fully take advantage of this time. 70% of workers state that they feel distracted within their working day, which is hugely problematic for motivation when you’re trying to add development time into this schedule. So, switch off your phone, minimise your background noise and find an area in your home where you’ll be able to set up and fully concentrate on the course at hand.  Don’t forget to switch off emails, messaging apps and other pop-ups that can come up on your screen prior to the session.

Share inappropriate material

Sounds pretty obvious we know but nothing that you share online is ever private, even in the breakout rooms with other delegates. Be mindful of what you share and remember that we’re living in a world of screenshot culture. Would you really want to be seen as the legal professional who shared that image or message?

Share confidential information

While you’re learning, you may be encouraged to share workplace examples that relate to the topic of discussion. However, be mindful of client or firm confidentiality, especially when sharing examples via the written chatbot where information can be screenshotted. Plus, remember that Live Online sessions are recorded so can be accessed later on. So, if your fellow delegates missed the hypersensitive information you shared the first time around, it’s unlikely that they will by the second or third occasion. 

It’s clear that online learning comes with a great deal of benefits and it means that learners can continue their development whether they’re working remotely or even if they’ve been furloughed. Plus, now that you’re fully immersed in our online learning etiquette, our team can help you to identify the opportunities available to suit your needs. So, if you’d like to speak to us about our online course offering, and what Live Online can do for you, email us on

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