1. Process - a strong focus on process the main elements of our design will give you a flexibility of adapting in the moment as needed. When in the virtual environment it is important to let people know what they can expect and where they are going.
Process pieces you will want to make explicit include:
Overall elements/sections of the training or call/webinar
When to expect break
What to expect around engagement (see tip 2)
How visual anchor points will be created through slides and/or participant materials
What process pieces are important to consider or refine in your upcoming program?
2. Engagement - Providing multiple opportunities for members to connect with what they are learning is a key principle in adult learning. Virtual engagement opportunities should be ongoing and often more frequent and varied than in the in person environment. Consider creating pace changes and different ways for participants to engage with the material through different strategies such as;
Use of whiteboard
Handouts, worksheets and/or participant guides sent prior to the call which can be used
What engagement opportunities do you want to include in your upcoming work? What prep will you need to undertake to make this work? What transitions do you need to build in to make these successful with your platform?
3. Variety - Webinars and virtual learning don't just have to be one way passive flow of information. From an interactive intro of having people mark and locate their location on a map, to breaking people up into virtual breakouts which can mimic the best of classroom based dialogue, variety really is "the spice of life".
Consider using the techniques listed above under engagement to boost variety and how each part of the module can be presented and/or reinforced in different ways.
How much variety do you want to include?
4. Pacing - Pacing is a key factor for success in any virtual environment. Consider how you can mix activities - from lecture, to breakouts, to using the whiteboard, to chats and individual reflection.
Each group will have it's own pace so asking the group to identify how things are going using an emoticon as a pulse check throughout the session, particularly longer ones, can be important.
What pace will work best for your current group? How do you keep energy flowing?
If you are interested in this topic and wanting to refine your skills as a virtual facilitator, I hope that you will consider joining me this September and October for the Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive program which will be held on Tuesdays from 5-8 pm Eastern/New York for five consecutive weeks starting September 15th. In addition to exploring more best practices of virtual facilitation you will also have ample opportunities to practice and receive feedback on your own virtual facilitation skills. Classes are hosted on different platforms each week to give you an experience in the different platforms. CLick here to learn more and register.
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