Let’s face it: There are still leadership speakers and business leaders out there who say that face-to-face learning is better. Online learning or virtual training is not as effective.
There are also many trainers and companies that moved their training online, but most of them are just doing what they are doing offline and doing it the same, online.
They do not realise that the engagement strategies on any online platform is entirely different from offline.
Many trainers do not know how to create an experience where a learner can have fun, participate in activities and leave the virtual training wanting more.
So, how do you actually turn your next virtual training into a fun and engaging experience?
First of all, before I carry on, I want to stress that most online learning takes place in 2 forms.
Virtual training: Asynchronous learning vs Synchronous
Asynchronous virtual learning means you can learn something at different times. For example, you watching a video to learn to play a guitar at any time you like. The issue with this form of learning is that most people have short attention span, it is not easy to complete the program alone. Unless you are a highly motivated and driven individual.
Synchronous virtual learning however, means that learners do it at the same time. This means that the program is instructor led and delivered LIVE. This allows learners to ask questions and be engaged in the session. There is a huge difference between sessions delivered LIVE and those delivered through recorded videos.
In our experiences, we see a stark difference in the ability of a participant to be engaged and actually complete the course. Sometimes, there is even up to 10x difference! In other words, a person who attends a learning session LIVE is more likely to complete the course compared to a person who watches the video at his/her own timing.
(Of course there are other factors such as the duration of the event, how entertaining the speaker is and etc.)
Tips to engage your participants virtually:
- Get participants to turn on their videos. Turning on their videos ensures a higher chance of them paying attention and not doing other things at the background.
- Engage participants every 5 minutes. This means that you could ask a question, application to their lives or vote on something. This creates interest and helps to participants to pay attention to you.
- Use kinesthetic responses. Get your participants to respond to you by making hand actions when answering question. It can be fun and gets participants to engage by moving their bodies.
- Use multiple online applications to engage them. Online applications like Kahoot, Mentimeter, Sli.do and many more can create different fun interactions.
- Ask questions that make them reflect and consider implications to their work or personal lives. This helps in the transfer of learning and create desire to apply it immediately.
- Use your virtual backgrounds for story telling. Most people use virtual backgrounds to hide the “messiness” of their house. Use it to tell stories and change the backgrounds to help participants have a visual image of it.