Tuesday, 15 April 2008

AG08 session The Secret of Delivering Outstanding Virtual Classroom Training by Frank Gartland

(For the live blogging info look below the AG08 synopsis)

Frank Gartland at LinkedIn

(AG08 synopsis): A primary challenge of any virtual event is successfully engaging the audience. Even skilled presenters often encounter challenges when bringing their presentations to a virtual environment. From getting the audience's attention at the start, to keeping them focused and engaged, to motivating them to participate – all are challenges for any on-line presenter. Anyone who has presented virtually understands the pressures and challenges inherent to this type of content delivery.

This session will provide practical advice and best practices on how to win the attention of a virtual audience and keep them engaged. Session participants will learn easy-to-implement techniques that will keep their audiences out of e-mail, and focused on the objectives of the event. These techniques will enable participants to focus on their day-to-day activities by providing them pragmatic and easy-to-apply approaches to leading successful virtual events.

Live from room Palm 4 at Hilton, Orlando, Florida
(My comments will be in Italic)
Frank likes to clap hands and he gets some questions at the beginning of the presentation (he is focusing on virtual classroom training) and uses bulleted ppt (not published yet, so I cannot link to it yet, but that is why I have bullet lists below based on the ppt).

techniques to focus your audience
  • be clear and concise
  • "grab your mouse"
  • walk them through every step
(okay, I thought this was an intro that would lead up to: DO NOT GRAB LEARNERS' HAND, but no, he means it: walk the audience through every step. I really do not believe in this, I believe that if you need to empower users and engage by intelligence not by training them like monkeys... euh... carried away, I do understand that you sometimes got to let learners do something specific)

use the participation meter to gauge interest

use features to engage
  • hand raise
  • feedback
  • chat
  • surveys
  • pass the floor
  • Q&A session
  • use video do not over use video
ask people to interact at least every ten minutes (with a way for them to know when they did not), ilink found that in virtual environments you need to engage your learners.

(agreeing - specifically the open floor, you learn a lot from others no matter what age or background if you give them the floor. It makes them think about what they are saying, makes them build arguments through discussion, gives them experience in speaking to a group)

  • Don't use one tool or one feature tool over and over
  • mix it up
(just thinking about adjusting the content you want to give in regard to the speed of the course when you decide to go interactive... that is one I sometimes have trouble with)

Common challenges / motivation (what the people say)
  • "our sessions are pretty long and people get tired"
  • "we don't have enough attendees to get creative"
  • "our audience might be too technical for this"
  • "it seems people drop off before we're finished"
Techniques to motivate your audience
  • know your audience, but take risks
  • try a contest...! try an open discussion
  • Ensure content is relevant and real-world
  • use the whiteboard for live brainstorming session
  • let students have shot at stumping you
If you use co-leader be sure to keep room for learners. Vocal variety is something to consider (Frank mentions female and male voices to keep the learners clear on who is talking - just thinking about a friend of mine who has a very low voice although she is a woman)

Discussion in the room (20 minutes left) quickly jotted down
give the learners feedback on how to mute their mic if they use open speakers.
depending on the pace put in some breaks in (10 minutes if you have a 3 hour session - max session 4 hours) a timer to let the participants know when to get back.
humour is content and culture related.
how to deal with people that follow an advanced course but did not follow the introduction class: depends on your learning model how you want to treat that person.

Frank did use the strategies that he mentioned (open floor, q&a ...) so virtual (as long as it is simultaneous learning) = face-2-face best practices in learning (mmm, that reminds me that I have a workshop with advanced teacher tactics coming up in May, jeej)

Any tips you have... add them!