If you’ve ever attended Langevin’s Instructional Design for New Designers workshop, you know that early on in the design cycle we cover project planning. At this stage in the process, we’re looking to identify potential design constraints and determine the timing parameters for our proposed design project.
“Agenda” is a Latin word meaning “things to be done.” Every training session should include one. It is an invaluable tool that can help start, manage, and end a course. Here are six ways to get the most out of your training agendas:
How to cope with challenging participants is certainly not a new topic. In fact, you’ll find numerous blog articles written by my colleagues (and myself, for that matter) on handling challenging situations in a traditional classroom setting. But what about dealing with difficult learners in a live, online, synchronous environment or virtual classroom? How you respond to a challenging behavior can make the difference between a healthy, collaborative learning experience and an awkward, uncomfortable session everyone wants to escape. While many of the coping strategies are the same for instructor-led training and virtual classroom training, there are some subtle differences.
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!
Historically, participating in the virtual classroom has been a lot like watching TV. There was little or no interaction. You would just stare at the screen and hope something would sink in. However, as we bring more technology into the picture, we can't even focus on staring at the screen because we're distracted by work deadlines, social media, and so many other things. When that happens in the virtual classroom, learning even the most basic of tasks becomes quite a challenge.
Photo by: Christin Hume via Unsplash
After reviewing many virtual classroom sessions, I’ve noticed that polls are one of the most underused features available. They’re mostly used as a kind of “check-in” feature, asking learners if objectives were met, or if the pace is okay. Here are four other ways you can use the polling feature to liven up your virtual classroom training.
I saw a television commercial the other day advertising an energy drink. The commercial claimed the drink will help you focus so you can achieve your goals in life. How funny! All this time I thought ambition, drive, dedication, and hard work helps you achieve your goals in life. Now I can forget all of those things and just drink more caffeine! The TV commercial is right about one thing though. It shows how important mental concentration and focus are to achieving anything.
Since the launch of our newest workshop, The Virtual Trainer, I’ve received quite a few questions about how to make the transition from traditional classroom training to the virtual classroom. People tend to focus on the technological and content changes that are required however, one of the most common challenges during this transition is preparing yourself to train in this new platform. To help address these questions below I’ve included an excerpt from our virtual trainer course where we cover this very topic.
Preparing for the virtual classroom (synchronous training) is critical for a virtual trainer. Failing to consider all that could happen could mean an unsuccessful session. Sure, there are the obvious things that need to be done, such as checking that your computer is plugged in, the internet connection is wired and reliable, and you have thorough knowledge of your virtual platform and content.
Let’s face it, live, synchronous, virtual learning is not just a trend, it’s a training delivery strategy that’s here to stay! It’s extremely effective, economical, and geographically desirable! If you’ve never attended a virtual classroom training session, you might think it a bit scary. I must admit, I was a little nervous when attending my first virtual classroom session.