Discover how technology can be used to empower and teach others.
I’m a qualified teacher with 100s of hours of standing up, delivering and controlling a class, while all the time motivating and teaching. Some might think that transitioning from this classroom environment to teaching online using web and video conferencing would be difficult as the environment would be completely different.
Similarities between teaching in a classroom to teaching online…
While some might assume the two environments couldn’t be more different, there are, in fact, many similarities between the two environments.
As in a traditional classroom, students learning online can still ask questions, raise their hands, watch videos or demonstrations, and share their achievements and methods.
While some might believe that managing software functions, displaying content and delivering a clear verbal message all while engaging and responding to participants is difficult. However, I feel it is easier; there is no shouting out, no hierarchy (everybody feels like an equal) and, in general, it is a more controlled environment.
A few positives of teaching online
One of the most positive aspects of teaching in an online environment is that the students tend to have more confidence and are able to share their views without the stress and fear that everyone is turning their heads to look at them every time they speak.
Another positive I have found is that the list of participants’ names shown on the screen is a constant reminder of who is in the room and who’s talking. After all, how many times have you forgotten names five minutes after everyone has introduced themselves? This information can be vital when building a sense of community or bond within the group especially on long term training projects.
How can does it actually work?
I find that it is easy to engage an online audience. As I move through different areas on a single slide, I direct my audience’s visual attention to each section as I talk about it.
Web conferencing tools such as Adobe Connect and WebEx always include drawing or annotation tools that let you highlight areas of the screen with lines, boxes, circles, or colours. I always provide a virtual handout that contains additional information to that on the slide deck. I always make the handout available at the beginning or shortly before the presentation, so participants can use it to take notes.
In order to keep a steady momentum between slides while reducing development time I create a presentation without animations or transitions, which can add time to the webinar itself.
Benefits for HR
There are many in training and HR today who are looking to offer live, online training as a way to retain employees, reduce travel expenses, inform internal and external stakeholders of key updates, and, in general, keep up with the rapid increase of learning that must take place to remain competitive.
For many students, workers and teachers, online delivery is now a way of life. However for many organisations, departments and individuals the technology is available – they just don’t use it.
My top 5 tips for running a training workshop online
- Get support – when running webinars for large numbers of attendees, get support from your provider in running the training session. There is nothing worse than a disorganised classroom whether online or offline. A professional webinar helps retention, encourages good feedback and helps you to focus more on the training and less on the technical side.
- Encourage participation – online training webinars shouldn’t be just one way conversions. These types of training sessions are boring and demotivating. Ask the group questions, use the polls feature and get users to use their icons. One good idea to break the ice and test everyone is listening at the beginning is to ask everyone to use their raise hand icon if they can hear you.
- Don’t read each slide word for word – death by PowerPoint can be quicker online than in a classroom. Be specific on your slides and talk like you naturally would. No user wants to listen to 150 words on one slide, especially when they can read it quicker. You also need to stimulate your audience’s imagination by using visual words. Pictures are worth 1,000 words according to the old saying.
- Always prepare – I always upload all the documents at least 30 minutes before the start of the online training workshop. That way if there are any problems there is time to rectify them and last minute rushes are avoided. The added benefit of this is that those entering the online classroom early get a good first impression. Make sure you have a lesson/session plan ready, complete with activities and timings – exactly like you would in a physical classroom. Finally always practice your presentation prior to delivering it.
- Record your presentation – not only is this good for those that couldn’t attend but by sharing the recording with those that did attend they can use it for referencing later on. A recording also allows you to reflect on your own teaching and where to improve- sometimes you can’t do that in a traditional classroom setting.
- Don’t be intimidated by online teaching
- Online teaching has many benefits and helps with community building
- Online teaching is a fantastic tool for HR to use to upskill, empower and help retain workers