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Informal learning – is it still possible in a remote world?

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This is a topic that has come highly requested in the feedback to my short webinars, and it’s no surprise given the way the world has shifted. So I thought why not share some tips for delivering engaging virtual instructor-led training and keep your learner’s attention from drifting.

Keep the sessions short and potentially space them over several days

I don’t think I’m the first one to say this but do not fill a whole day with training, even if you plan on offering short breaks. I would also suggest not starting first thing in the morning. Allow your learners an hour to catch up on emails, have a coffee and get in the mood for learning something new. To give you an example, our Storyline training takes 3 days and is spaced in 2 sessions per day – 10am to 12pm  and 2pm to 4pm, so attending this training is not taxing to the learner.

Start with an ice breaker

Get to know your learners, ask them where they are joining from, what’s their role and potentially why they are taking the class.

Give frequent breaks

10-15 minutes in a 2-hour session is great and allows your learners to unwind, check on their kids, prepare a snack and then come back ready for another round.

Engage with your learners

You are competing with every app and website out there for your learner’s attention. Possibly with their children as well. How to keep your learners engaged? Use Polls and Quizzes frequently. Don’t just rely on these but ask open ended questions and ask learners to use the chat to reply to you. Read some answers, make some comments. Don’t let momentum die with their answer. My personal favourites are questions that ask the learner to think back on their own experience as they have to take a moment to think, bringing their attention back to the screen. I would also suggest not going more than 5 minutes without any interaction – be it a poll, checking if all is clear or even asking your participants to think about certain situations.

Add multimedia

Avoid Keep the learner’s attention by switching from lecture to videos or from theory to demonstrating applications in practice.

Create engagement among participants

I have not heard as much excitement about learning until people discovered breakout rooms on Zoom. Needless to say more – use them.

If possible, get a helper

We use this in our own training sessions and I think it’s great. Apart from the trainer there is always a facilitator that is ready to answer any question on the chat or engage with participants there. It will make people feel more comfortable with asking any questions given they are not interrupting the flow.

Last but not least, put a lot of effort into choosing the instructor and adapting the content to an online environment. It is not a given that the instructor delivering in-person training will be great at delivering it virtually. It is a lot harder to convey your personality and forge a connection to your learners via a monitor. Don’t take VILT learning lightly, it takes a lot more effort to maintain engagement among learners, especially when on the same screen they could literally be watching anything else.

I hope you found these tips for delivering engaging virtual instructor-led training useful. Have you found other ways to maintain your learner’s attention?

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