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Whiteboards in the Virtual Classroom

Posted by Melissa Grey Satterfield on 3/9/15 4:00 AM
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If you’ve ever attended one of Langevin’s virtual classroom workshops, Learning in the Virtual Classroom, and/or The Virtual Trainer, you’ve been exposed to a virtual whiteboard (a.k.a. a PowerPoint slide you can annotate). Most synchronous software programs have them. They function in the same way a flipchart does in a traditional classroom setting, allowing everyone to contribute. The most common use of a virtual whiteboard is to record ideas during a discussion, but the possibilities don’t end there!

Consider these five additional uses of whiteboards and annotation tools for your next virtual training:

  1. After a brief lecture, include a diagram, chart, picture, or blueprint (related to your content, of course), and have your learners annotate or label the various elements to reinforce what they heard.
  1. Use the same picture and list five to ten labels down the left side of the PowerPoint slide. Ask your participants to draw a line from each label to the correct element on the slide.
  1. For teambuilding in a virtual environment, ask a team to draw an elephant on a whiteboard. Give them three minutes to discuss/plan their process (this could be done verbally in breakout rooms). Then have the team remain silent while they execute their plan. Have the rest of your learners observe the creative teamwork that ensues.
  1. Create a grid on a slide with photos of your learners. As they arrive in the virtual classroom, ask people to “sign in” next to their photos, adding their names and favorite hobbies. You’ll build a collaborative learning community as people get a sense of their fellow classmates.
  1. For an end-of-session review, have the group discuss their key learning experiences aloud or enter them in the chat pod. While they make suggestions, have a volunteer (or two) draw pictures and type the various key points on the whiteboard. It’s fun and engaging to watch the images and words appear (no artistic talent necessary!).

In the virtual classroom, we have the ability to turn almost anything in the share pod into a virtual whiteboard. Whiteboards allow everyone to participate at the same time, keep kinesthetic/tactile learners occupied, and reinforce learning for visual learners.

So, how will you have fun with the whiteboard in your next virtual training? I’d love to hear your ideas!

For even more virtual trainer and virtual classroom tips and best practices, check out these blogs!


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Melissa has been a course leader with Langevin since 2000. She graduated from the University of Nevada where she studied broadcast communications. During her college years, Melissa worked as an on-air personality for several radio and TV stations in Las Vegas. She’s always been a bit of a performer, which is probably why training is such a good fit for her. Before coming to Langevin, she was a senior training specialist and course developer for an organization based in L.A. Melissa knows the challenges trainers face, as well as the rewards that come with improving job performance. Her training mantra is summed up best by something she learned during her very first Langevin workshop, “Never do for the learners what the learners can do for themselves.” When not in the classroom, Melissa loves travelling, relaxing at the beach, cooking, and hosting dinner parties.

Topics: virtual trainer, virtual classroom

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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