In any training, participants must feel safe and be supported in order to learn. In most online learning situations, you are not able to read the body language of the students, therefore you need to learn ways to make them feel both accepted and respected by other students as well as the instructor. Especially for first time online learners, there may need to be some type of orientation to the new system and extra calls or emails through the first few weeks. This will help the learners feel more physically and psychologically safe and open to making mistakes which will increase their learning. Sharing guidelines (netiquette and class expectations) can help all know what is expected. Create a set of participant and instructor expectations so that the participants know what you expect from them and what they should expect from you. One perk of online learning is flexibility for participants, however you need to make sure they follow through with all expectations. Participants should know your expectations and that you are willing to help by sharing when you are available for emails, phone calls or texts to help with questions.
By providing an introductory page at the beginning of the class, participants can view the expectations, the training outcomes, handouts and tips on navigating through the course itself. Screenshots can help participants navigate through the site itself as well as the content.
All of the suggestions above help the participants to trust you as their instructor. Privacy is also a very important part of building trust. It often takes some time to build trust, but if you respond to participants promptly and as promised, you will build that foundation for trust.