Tip #860: A Virtual Training Nightmare

“You never run out of things that can go wrong.” Murphy’s Law

I recently conducted a full day virtual class using the WebEx Training platform. It didn’t go well.

The class was supposed to start at 9 AM, so I went to log on at 8:15 AM to get everything ready. That was when I discovered that I didn’t have any link for the program. Forty-three minutes of emailing and calling anyone I could think of finally got me the link at two minutes to 9:00. To say I was stressed would be an understatement. Strike One.

But I’m a trouper and I jumped in with energy and enthusiasm. I asked everyone to introduce themselves in chat- and then couldn’t figure out how to open chat. Once I was able to open chat, it kept disappearing from the panel. It became a terrible loss when I asked for participant responses to a specific learning activity. I didn’t see their answers until after the class was over. Strike Two.

I had included some polls in the program. WebEx requires you to take a several steps to move polling into a panel you can see. I hadn’t had time to do that before the class, for the reasons mentioned above. So, I had to do it before I used the poll- and then couldn’t access the poll. Sigh. I finally I told the participants simply to respond in chat. Strike Three

There was a huge poll that served as the basis for a good portion of the morning session. Luckily, I was able to access and open the poll. When I went to show the results to the participants, I forgot I needed to select both “show results” and “apply.” I didn’t realize this until I got feedback after the program was over. And I had spent a good ten minutes looking at the poll results and discussing them, assuming the participants could follow along. Yikes!! Strike Four.

Although I thought all participants had been muted, at various times we could hear conversations. I would politely ask the person to mute, which sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t work. Later I realized I could have determined who it was and muted the person using the participant panel. Strike Five

Please note that all of this occurred even though we had practiced twice with the program. Unfortunately, we never had sufficient time to talk through or practice all the activities.

What I learned is that:

  1. A few days prior, I need to make sure I have a working link to the program.
  2. I would prefer not to use WebEx Training again.
  3. I need to give whoever is assisting me clear written instructions.
  4. I need lots more practice with a virtual platform to feel comfortable and competent.
  5. It would be ideal if I could pilot the activities with a few folks.
  6. Participants are very forgiving of technological glitches.
  7. I experienced baptism by fire and discovered that it’s possible to survive it.

May your learning be sweet- and safe.


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