As an educator and coach with MRG, I’ve been facilitating online trainings for more than 10 years. We’re a global company with coaches in more than 50 countries around the world, so online delivery has long been the most practical way for us to teach people how to use our tools.
While video can be a handy tool, we don’t do prerecorded trainings. Each session is a live webinar, because questions, ideas, and interactions with other students are essential parts of the learning process that we’re not willing to sacrifice for efficiency.
In facilitating hundreds of hours of these trainings, there are a few things I’ve found helpful to keep in mind.
- Use your voice to express emotion and connect. It’s much easier for the attendees to zone out or try to multi-task when attending trainings or meetings remotely, so it’s important to try to be as engaging as possible so people aren’t falling asleep and missing the messages.
- When making references, be specific. If you’re planning to refer to any materials that attendees will be viewing – either digitally or in print – make frequent references to page numbers or locations. Don’t assume they’ll already know what you’re referring to; it can be harder to pick up context cues in a virtual context, so take it slow and make frequent check-ins to make sure attendees are on the same page (literally).
- Ask questions… Don’t just allow for interaction; be very deliberate about inviting it. Have a class list handy and mark down who has participated so you can call on those who might be sitting in the background.
- …and wait for answers. It’s easy to feel uncomfortable with silence in a remote interaction because you can’t see the expression on the other person’s face and can’t tell if they’re thinking deeply about the question or just not engaged at all. Other times, in a class, students are waiting for someone else to speak up, so they hesitate. It’s important for the instructor not to jump in and save them, but to actually hold the silence for a bit until someone is brave enough to dive in.
I’ve also been inspired by a number of these neuroscience-based tips for making virtual learning engaging.
If there’s anything we at MRG can do to help support you or advise you as you transition to more online coaching, training, and facilitation in the coming weeks, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re all working through this together (even if we’re apart!).