Tip #863: Great Virtual Learning Activities- Part One

“Virtual training: a highly interactive, synchronous online, instructor-led training class, with defined learning objectives, that has geographically dispersed participants, each one individually connected using a web classroom platform.” Cindy Huggett

I’ve just finished reading Cindy Huggett’s Virtual Training Tools and Templates: An Action Guide to Live Online Learning. It is excellent, and I strongly recommend you read it for yourself.

She walks us through all the stages in creating a live online learning program, from considering whether to use virtual learning through to evaluating its effectiveness at all five levels. She is extremely thorough and practical, providing worksheets, templates, checklist, and tips for every step of the way that we can put into practice immediately.

Here are virtual learning recommendations and learning activities that I particularly took to heart. I’ll complete the list in the next Tip.

  1. Develop preprogram content that:
  • sets expectations for the participants to come prepared to actively participate; and
  • sets learners up for success in terms of what they should do to get ready for the program, such as: printing handouts, having a headset, and planning how to minimize possible distractions. She offers a pre-session message from the facilitator.
  1. Have a start-before-you-start activity that gets participants engaged right away but doesn’t penalize late-comers. Here are some of the activities that she suggests:
  • Show a map and have participants mark where they are joining from or where they might like to go on vacation.
  • Ask participants to introduce themselves in chat: name, location, job role and something personal.
  • Post a checklist of tasks, such as searching for specific reaction tools or opening the handout to a specific page.
  • Use poll questions to ask participants about their experience with the program topic.
  • Have a gameboard onscreen, such as a crossword puzzle using program topic terminology; and
  • Post trivia questions related to the program topic.
  1. Help participants minimize distractions.
  • Invite participants to sit somewhere removed from their normal workstation.
  • Ask participants to close out of email and raise their hand once they’ve done that.
  • Include a beginning poll question asking people to share if they are willing to stay focused and not get distracted.
  • Establish ground rules at the beginning and ask everyone to commit to following them.
  • Let participants’ managers know the time and date of the program in advance and ask for their support in creating time and space for the employee to learn; and
  • Create a strong motivation for them to stay engaged. For example, ask them to share in chat how paying full attention will help them in their jobs.

I love these activities! How about you?

May your learning be sweet- and safe.

Deborah

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