Pictured above is Alex Mwai, the Digital Marketing expert here at the SNDBX who's trained SMEs in Kenya on the use of digital platforms. With over 500 business trained in person, Alex is now training digitally.
Whether you are a college or high school teacher, a consultant who would normally host in-person workshops and training, it’s likely that you’re now looking into the world of remote teaching immediately and with little preparation. COVID-19 has thrust us into an e-learning world where we are now expected to be able to deliver the same content, but to a screen and with no people in the room you’re in.
There’s a lot of work that goes into virtual training from the pre-training preparation to the tests, to the materials but this blog focuses on delivery of the training, tips on how to train once you’ve considered all other factors. Other blogs regarding these previous materials will be shared in coming days but for today, let’s dive into delivery.
1. The usual nitty-gritty:
To deliver a successful online training you have to factor in a few things that are then vital to your delivery. These are:
a. A comfortable setting with little to no interruptions.
Trust me you don’t want to be delivering a training to your audience and you seem uncomfortable and burdened with interruptions. A good chair, desk and some water close by to deal with dehydration are a great start.
See my setup below:
Ergonomic Chair with back support, charged laptop with HD video Webcam, Well lit room with no background distractions
b. Your delivery tools
These things are crucial to help you facilitate well:
A good PC with a good webcam is an essential because that’s what will show you to your audience. Make sure your battery is fully charged and plugged in, for the eventuality of power interruption
An ear set piece with a good microphone. Yelling into your computer can be uncomfortable and the audio may come off with an echo if you are in a closed room. I’m using the Jabra Evolve
A steady internet connection with at least 10MBp/s speed to avoid lags. Make sure to have a standby in the case something like a power outage happens. You can use your mobile device to tether the connection or one of those portable WiFi devices. Like the JTL Faiba MiFi/Airtel 4G MiFi Pocket WiFi Modem
See my setup.
Jabra wireless headset with great inbuilt microphone, 750ml water bottle for hydration, steady 40MBp/s internet connection for efficient broadcasting, backed up with a JTL Faiba MiFI Device.
2. Have Great, Organized Content with a laid out delivery plan
Tell trainees what you’re going to cover. Introduce your session with a brief overview of the content and how it’s planned and overview the training subject’s main points
Make sure the content you plan to deliver is relevant, organized, clear, and to the point. Once you think it is organized, make it better. You won’t have the time to ‘page flip’ and look for what you need in an online class. If you confuse your learners with too much topic-jumping, recovery from confusion in an online environment will be exponentially more challenging.
3. Be More of Yourself, With Less
You may be comfortable with your personal style in the classroom but the trick is to also develop an online style as well. The tool you use can help, particularly if you provide your audience with some suggestions and ground rules for how to interact in your classroom.
Beyond buttons and dialog boxes, think about what entertains you and holds your interest. What do you find enjoyable when watching television commentators and professional speakers, or while listening to radio shows? Try to bring some of those appealing elements into your online delivery, while staying true to your own teaching style.
4. Engage your audience often
Training online can be difficult as attention spans may be drawn away, you can’t really view your audience and hence you want to make sure you involve them as much as possible so they don’t drift away.
Quick ice breakers can be of great help, anything from social questions such as what food do you enjoy most and where are you learning from (in the case it’s an open registration for participants)
CLICK HERE<< Here’s a quick link to some fun ice breakers.
Asking people to volunteer to also tell more about themselves and how they’re finding the training or expecting to learn can make the learning environment more calm as more people associate with others in the training
4. Be Aware
The best thing a coach or a teacher can be is aware. From the physical classroom to online, you need to pay attention to your students. Questions and comments do not necessarily need to be addressed immediately, but a trainer should set respectful ground rules to outline how questions will be handled. As questions arise, each will receive acknowledgement, but the trainer will not permit student feedback to route the class off track.
In an online class, this ability to respond to questions and feedback is even more important. Use the tools and ground rules to take QnAs periodically and the students can always write down what they had in question.
Being aware also factors putting yourself in the shoes of the participants. Give frequent breaks, especially for half-day or all-day sessions.
5. Addressing questions or feedback
Questions will arise as you train. If you have set aside a QnA session then you want to repeat questions before answering them. This practice ensures that all participants know what the question is so they can make sense of the answer.
Always make sure after answering the question to ask whether you’ve addressed the question well enough to the person who had raised it.
6. Continuous improvement for your online training
The first one may be the hardest one but once you try it you realize it’s just like your usual in person training session only that you are seated and more comfortable the whole time 😊.
But improvement is key hence, analyse the session as you go. Always be on the lookout for what works best. When you discover a new technique or method that clicks with the group, note it on your training materials so it can be incorporated into the training outline to be used in future sessions.
Solicit feedback on the training session. Critiques work best when they are written and anonymous, unless a trainee volunteers to discuss his or her thoughts in person. Trainee input is vital for making the next session—and the overall training program—more effective.
7. And Most importantly
Keep your session on track. Start on time and finish on time. Don’t hold up class waiting for late arrivers. Run the class according to the schedule and don’t get too far off course. Opening up discussion among participants may lead to some pertinent tangents, but don’t let side issues take over. Ask if there’s enough interest to pursue a separate session on that topic, but get this class back to the lesson plan.
Many suggestions have been made above for how you can use your own style to draw in your audience, manage two-way communications in class, and eliminate concerns that you may just be talking to yourself rather than a captive audience.
Try the suggestions that work for you, your organizational culture, and your learning goals and dismiss the ones that don’t. Be creative, and remember that the extra effort to practice and prepare will go a long way toward improving your online teaching skills, and hopefully student enjoyment.
This article was written by our Digital Expert Alex who is the Creative Director of Archer Digital an agency that works with companies to smoothly transition into a fast moving digital world with solutions in digital marketing and change management consulting.
If you have any feedback or inquiries write to him via this link >> Email Alex