Have you run training sessions that seem to be missing the mark then this article may be just what you need?
During the first prolonged lockdown I like many others felt at a loss as to what to do and wondered what I could do to fill my time. At this stage I hadn’t yet developed my online training skills but what I did do was to attend many free online training events.
Some of these events were excellent and I learned about a lot about the subject matter, some on the other hand were shall we say ‘less than engaging”.
Nevertheless, I am grateful to them because they put me back into the mindset of a leaner and has helped me understand what I need to do as a facilitator to ensure that my training does not miss the mark.
Here are some of my thoughts:-
Treating training as a presentation
Many of the ‘online training’ sessions were simply the Instructor reading out the slides without interaction from the learners.
One training event encouraged us to participate by using the chat facility but by the time she had read everyone’s comments the moment had passed. It would have been so much easier if we had been encouraged to use the ‘raise hand’ option or if our cameras were on to literally raise our hand when we had a question of comment to make.
Just like in the physical training room learners need to opportunity to interact and share their thoughts and experiences on the topic.
Too detailed and messy slides
I was once advised to restrict the information on slides to a heading, 3 words and a graphic. Overloading your slides with information enables learners to read ahead of you and quickly get bored as they are then inpatient to move on as you appear to have already given them all the information.
One of my pet hates is when the slides are so detailed that the ‘trainer’ simply reads them out to the audience. “I can read and don’t need to be read to”
Keeping the slides brief allows for you to have a conversation with your learners and establish what they already understand and fill in the blanks
Ignoring the basics like setting course rules and housekeeping
The reason that we take time out in the physical training room to explain things like fire exits is we both want to inform and relax learners because we recognise that attending a training event with a bunch of strangers can be a scarey thing . Furthermore things can still go wrong such as losing WIFI signals and attendees need to understand what to do if this happens.
Additionally, when I attend meetings I like to know when we will be taking breaks so I can plan bathroom visits (a sign of my age I think) and if I like to know this I am sure some of my attendees would welcome this information as well.
Setting out course rules such as ‘mobiles off’ and being back on time from breaks is as equally important in the virtual training room as it is in the physical one. I always encourage learners to add their own rules so it feels like it is their course and not the instructors.
Best practise from the ‘face to face ‘ training environments are even more important online when your learners can literally be joining you from anywhere in the world. Just because we are now online and not physically present doesn’t mean we abandon the best practises that we have evolved our the years.
Focusing too much on the technical aspects of the platform and not on the content
There are a number of different platforms available to us to run a training course on. Sometimes the choice of platform is ours whereas sometimes the client may dictate the choice of platform.
Regardless of whether you are using Zoom, WebEx, Teams or one of the other platforms we need to became masters of the technology so that we can focus on the learning experience and not what button to press.
If you are asked to use a platform that you are unfamiliar with download the application (very often they have a free introductory period) -you can even watch YouTube videos to understand the system but be sure to practise with it.
Why not talk to friends, families and other trainers and ask them to be your practise audience and I recommend attending as a learner as well as a Host because they screens can often look different and it can help you to know what they are experiencing when using that platform.
The only way I know how to become proficient in technology is to practise, practise and practise until running a course using that software is second nature.
Failing to include recap and summarising sessions
I think that this is linked to focusing so much on the technology that we neglect basic trainer best practises of the recapping and summarising session.
For every 60 minutes session you should include 10 minutes for an opening and 10 minutes for a closing giving you opportunity to refresh minds from their previous session.
The great news is that there are lots of means and ways to recap using games and activities. One of my favourites is to create a word search using keywords from the previous session(s) -have the learners identify the words in the puzzle using their annotation tools and then after the words are found -review those keywords and their relevance to the previous topic.
Don’t be one of those ‘presenters’ who lose the interest of their audience rather be one of the engaging style of trainers- Want to know more why not book a free 20-minute consultation with me?