Blitz of online trainings, webinars, and conferences are happening every single day. Sometimes, we must breeze through two or more of them at a time. This now begs the question, is online training still effective at this rate? How do we make our online trainings a better experience for all participants and trainers?
As training facilitators, we need to remember some important considerations in facilitating online trainings. HABI Education, an organization founded by dynamic, innovative, and young professionals lists three important elements that we must consider in facilitating and designing online training experiences. These are the Spaces, People, and Process.
Spaces. Consider diverse physical environments that the participants may be in so that you can imagine and identify their needs during the training. At the beginning of the session, you may want to survey in the form of a game what are the sources of noise in their environment. Knowing these, you can better aide them during the training. Select consistent and easy to use online platforms that majority of the participants are well versed with to avoid unnecessary technical difficulties during the training. Explore added features as well such as availability of break out rooms, features for more interactive discussion such as whiteboards and annotating tools.
People. It is important to establish norms and roles in online trainings. Let the participants know what they are expected to do and not to do during the training. This will draw the parameters of the training interaction. Facilitators of online trainings also need to ensure accessibility and participation. Before starting any online training, facilitators anticipate the limitations that may arise during the training that may affect participation and think of ways on how to handle them such as providing low bandwidth options for participants who have connectivity issues.
Process. The first thing that facilitators must do in online training is to clarify the learning goals to give the participants a clear picture of the journey that they have to take and their destination. Use well-phrased and dynamic prompts to aid the transition in between parts of the training. Set parameters for interaction and collaboration such as whether they can unmute their microphones when they would like to share something or just type it in the chat box. Finally, to get the participants trust the process, facilitators need to set concrete milestones and do reviews along the way to check if they are still on track.
Most of all, facilitators should personalize so that they can relate better with the participants despite the physical distance and provide them with the best learning experience online.
Gretchen V. Catane
Education Program Specialist II