Virtual internships provide interns the chance to work on a corporate team without having to leave home. They provide a learning experience for those who cannot do a daily commute to the office. To help you develop a successful virtual internship, DevelopIntelligence provides some helpful tips.
1.) Pick the right online collaboration tool.
Some of the features your online virtual internship platform should have are ways to to assign tasks, communicate quickly and regularly, and to share documents. Such a platform will help your team members stay current on what is happening on a project. Video conferencing and other project management tools (like due date tracking, tracking task completion, data back-up, encryption, discussions, and tags) will make the platform even more powerful and capable of managing large projects. Try to find one that allows managers to send reminders and offer advice as well. Interns can get the support and direction they need by working through a truly collaborative platform and communicating with their supervisors.
2.) Get an internship coordinator.
The internship coordinator is the go-to person for interns. This person might be the interns’ managers or an online instructor. Additionally, this person oversees interns’ assignments online and communicates with them. They answer questions, provide support, and help solve problems.
3.) Make it real.
Although virtual internships don’t provide practical experience, simulations, case studies, and branching scenarios (like Choose Your Own Adventure books for the corporate world) can get interns to apply knowledge picked up in previous lessons. The virtual intern coordinator or manager can give interns feedback on their performance. Later in the internship, they can refer back to the individual learning experiences, such as before they meet with their first client or need to solve a problem.
4.) Meet regularly with interns.
There should be a weekly online meeting with all the interns so that they can connect, share ideas, experiences, troubleshoot problems, etc. Managers can provide feedback and provide support. You might also use the meetings to have interns host a webinar on a specific topic. Make sure they know what you expect from the presentation and provide enough time to put the presentation together.
5.) Online incentives.
Add incentives to your internship program to engage interns. You can provide certificates at the end of the internship that help them find their next position. Another idea is to turn your internship program into a game by enabling interns to collect points, badges, and to post their names on leaderboards. The intern with the most points or highest number of successful projects, for example, could win a special award at the end of the program. Keep the competition within reasonable limits, though, to keep the community safe and friendly.