A big thank you to everyone who attended my two-part summer series on virtual training design and delivery! There were so many questions asked during the sessions, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to answer them all. Here are a few of the common questions, along with answers.
Q: I missed one (or both) of the sessions! Where can I view them?
Both sessions were recorded, and can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/222202796
The handouts from both sessions are available on my website, on the Home Page under ‘Resources.’
Q: What is the name of the book you mentioned during the session?
One of my favorite books on synchronous virtual training is The New Virtual Classroom, by Ruth Colvin Clark and Ann Kwinn.
Q: What’s the best way to engage a global audience?
We talked about many tips during the session on how to engage international participants, and thanks to everyone who submitted ideas in the Q&A box. Many of you agreed that trainers should: use visuals, speak slowly, choose words carefully, post discussion questions either on screen or in a chat window, and to be generally mindful of potential language limitations. In practice, this might look like giving extra time to read a poll question and respond, or to avoid local references that are not easily translated across cultures.
A recent blog post by Roger Courville gives some additional great tips: http://thevirtualpresenter.com/ask/8-tips-for-presenting-cross-culturally/
And Darlene Christopher, of the World Bank, wrote an excellent ASTD InfoLine called Facilitating in the Global Virtual Classroom.
Q: Is your Producer in the same room as you?
No. When I deliver with a co-facilitator or a producer, they are always in a different location. And sometimes in a different country! One advantage of having a producer who is elsewhere is that you have backup in case of technical troubles. If my internet connection were to unexpectedly fail, the producer could keep running the session while I reconnected.
As part of our pre-class setup process, my producer and I will establish a backup mode of communication, either via Skype or text message, so that we can still chat in the event of an emergency.
Q: You mentioned calling on participants by name. Doesn’t that put them “on the spot” and make it uncomfortable for them?
What a great question! As trainers, we want to create a comfortable learning environment for participants. Yet we also want to keep people engaged in the virtual classroom, and calling on them by name is one way to maintain interest. So how do you balance these two?
One way is to set ground rules/expectations right at the start of a session. Let participants know that this session will be interactive and they can expect to be called upon.
Another technique is to be mindful of the direct questions you ask…. make sure they don’t have one correct answer (i.e. “Maria, what’s the square root of 23525367135?”) but instead are more general (“Adam, what’s your experience with this feature?” or “Juan, what do you think about this topic?”).
My friend Mike Abrams offers a third tip: he will let participants know that they will answer a question soon. For example, “Let’s hear from Emma first, and then James will be up next.” That gives participants a moment to catch their breath before responding.
So, there are ways to both call on participants by name and still maintain a comfortable learning environment.
Thanks again for your participation in the webcast series! I hope you enjoyed!
PS Don’t see your question addressed above? Let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them in the coming weeks!