Thursday, December 31, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Over the weekend I heard an interesting story on NPR about the future of the book industry called Book It. Host Brooke Gladstone spoke with various guests about the changes occurring in the book industry including the growth of self-publishing and e-books. One section of the interview was with Bob Stein of The Institute for the Future of the Book who spoke about "books 2.0" and how the future of books will be a collaborative process between authors and readers. It sounded far-fetched at first, but as he described the process, I was intrigued.
The discussion about books 2.0 had me thinking about the learning industry and how technology has changed and will continue to change the industry. Many of the ideas that Bob Stein discussed can be applied to the learning industry, for example, readers influencing books by collaborating with authors as they write books. This sounds like learners contributing to learning programs by participating in interactive learning experiences such as wikis and web conferences. "Learning 2.0" has come about as a result of technology that allows for more interactive and collaborative learning experiences and it's good news for adult learners. Adults learn best when they are engaged and contributing to the learning experience. The pace of change in the learning industry has definitely picked up and I predict that adult learners will continue to benefit from new learning tools and techniques that focus on collaborative learning.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Not only was the material of the presentation extremely relevant for training professionals, but he also demonstrated best practices when delivering training via web conference. During his 45-minute session he included four chat exercises and a poll exercise interspersed throughout the session so the audience was continuously engaged. His slides were rich with images, graphs and concepts and not overloaded with the usual bullet points of text. Furthermore, when speaking, he annotated the screen non-stop using white board tools. I felt as if I could see him gesturing as he annotated and it added tremendous energy to the presentation. It was a very valuable session where the audience had a two for one experience: excellent content and an exceptional demonstration of how to make material come alive in a virtual classroom.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Now that you have a well-crafted FAQ, what’s next? One technique I’ve used is to email the FAQ to attendees and those who signed up but couldn’t attend the web conference. This technique works well when you deliver the same course or session more than once and you develop a comprehensive FAQ from all sessions so that attendees in one session can benefit from the questions and answers from another session on the same topic.
Another technique for sharing your FAQ is to integrate it into your web site or online collaboration space. Depending on how and where you post the FAQ online, you can create a more permanent home for your FAQ and also make the FAQ visible to others who did not attend your session. For example, posting FAQs online from a virtual orientation program for new hires benefits all new hires, not just those who attended the session.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
What are the time zones of the participants?
Make sure that you schedule your event during a time that's convenient for participants.
What are the national holidays in the countries of the participants?
Check these online resources so you don't schedule an event during a public holiday in another country.
http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/dpl/63099.htm (US State Department list of national holidays)
What is the legal work week in the countries of the participants?
Monday - Friday is the work week in the US, but not the entire world. In Muslim countries the work week is different to allow for Friday as a day of prayer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workweek
Friday, August 28, 2009
You can listed to the podcast by going to Metro DC ASTD Podcast.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Now as an experienced web conferencing practitioner, I can’t imagine a web conference without an active chat panel. Do I expect participants to chat as the facilitator speaks? Yes. Is it distracting, or does it mean they aren’t paying attention? No. If you copy and paste the chat text at the conclusion of a web conference and review what participants typed, you will usually see that the majority of the text contains comments about the session, answers to questions posed during the session and clarifying questions from participants. According to the eLearning Guild’s 2008 research report on Synchronous Learning Systems, chat ranks at the top of the feature satisfaction list and feature ease of use, and it’s the fifth most commonly used feature.
In today’s world of texting and microblogging, participants are more comfortable than ever with the chat panel in a web conference. Encourage your audience to use the chat area early in your session by doing something simple such as typing in their location. Give feedback early by acknowledge those who are the first to use the chat area, to send a signal that you will be responding to chat comments. As you verbalize a question, post it in the chat area as well. You may receive verbal and chat responses, which means more participants had the opportunity to contribute. The facilitator doesn’t need to respond to every chat comment or example, just acknowledge that there are many good examples and highlight a few. Weaving chat comments and questions into the verbal discussion or presentation opens up a huge door for interactivity.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Confusion among participants when they are asked to complete a task or activity is not uncommon, but can be easily eliminated with deliberate language. Graphics and images can also support your instruction. For example, when facilitating a course with scripted role play, we asked two participants to volunteer by raising their hands and simultaneously showed a slide with instructions on how to raise your hand plus an image of raised hands. Next we assigned roles and asked the two volunteers to read the script on the screen. The role play was written like the script for a play and speaker lines were highlighted in corresponding colors to keep it straight. By encircling a task with clear instructions and images, we eliminated confusion and didn't miss a beat with this exercise.
Monday, July 27, 2009
To prevent this problem, all of your mouse or pointer movements should be slow and deliberate so your audience can follow your movements. As you point or click, tell the audience what you are doing, for example: “I’m clicking on the Reports tab to open up a drop down menu. Next I’ll select Manager Reports…etc.”
One way to check your mouse movements to is to log in as a participant and watch the participant view as you click through a web site or whatever it is that you will be demonstrating. Another technique is to record yourself as you rehearse. In either case, watch closely to ensure that your mouse or pointer movements are supporting your content and objectives and not taking away from your audience's experience.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Polling can also be used creatively to support learning objectives. For example if you want to explore a web site with your audience, turn this activity into a scavenger hunt by posting a poll or two with “quiz” question. Then ask the audience to search the web site for answers to the poll questions. If you plan to share statistics or data, an interesting way to engage the audience is to pose questions about the data prior to revealing it. After the audience has a chance to respond to a poll on data, display the poll results juxtaposed against the actual data. Integrating polls into the content of your session using these techniques is a great way to maintain the interest of the audience and support your learning objectives at the same time.
If polling is a topic that you would like to explore in depth, join me for a free web conference on Best Practices for Polling on Tuesday June 23, 2009 from 1-2 PM Eastern Time.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The discussion made me realize that it’s not a question of “can” but “how” we teach soft skills. With more than 137 workers worldwide involved in some sort of teleworking, a huge number of managers and others have to be able to give performance feedback or inspire others to follow his/her leadership virtually. Teaching these soft skills in a physical classroom is important, however when we teach these skills in a virtual classroom we simulate the real situation that many people face every day. The tools that virtual teams generally have at their disposal are the telephone and email, so they need to be taught how to deliver the appropriate messages verbally over the phone or in written communication.
Pairing up participants to role play, scripting role plays, and asking participants to type a sample sentence for an email in the chat are just a few of the ways that we can simulate the situations for participants and make the virtual classroom reflect the reality of millions of workers.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
- Main speaker, subject matter expert.
- Advances slides. Engages audience verbally.
- Not active in chat. Comments verbally on what others type.
- Comments on poll results.
- Leads and debriefs exercises.
- Web conferencing expert. May or may not be familiar with subject.
- Explains technical features. May kick off and conclude the session.
- Active in chat. Engages audience by posting and responding to questions/comments. Prompts facilitator to address chat questions. Types key messages to reinforce learning as facilitator speaks.
- Opens/closes polls.
- Explains how exercises will run.
What does your faciliation dream team look like?
Friday, May 15, 2009
Let’s assume you are not using a web cam in your web conference। How do you communicate your message and content with impact when your audience cannot see you? The trainer or presenter is left with his/her voice and content to keep participants engaged and interested. I’ll focus on voice in this posting.
The speaker(s) during a web conference should focus on a variety of volume, pitch and rhythm in their voice. Presentations skills trainers often suggest that you think about how you use your voice when you read a story to your children or other kids. Clarity and focus are also of utmost importance. Finally, to keep the speaker’s voice animated, he or she should stand up during the web conference, smile and gesture while speaking. Even though the participants can’t see this body language, they will hear it in the speaker’s voice.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
During a conference call with a team in the UK a few weeks ago, I also realized that even business words in American English and British English may cause confusion. The team referred to “bespoke e-learning solutions” which made no sense to my American ears. Now I know that bespoke means customized, but I got hung up on this word in their email communications and during the call until they sorted it out for me.
The spoken word in a web conference is so essential. Practicing what you plan to say with others from different cultures is a great way to raise your language awareness level so that what you say will be understood by everyone, regardless of where they are from.
Friday, April 17, 2009
A very interesting group dynamic formed and I learned a great lesson – a mixed audience of individuals participating from their desks plus a group participating from a room may spell trouble. The solo participants were able to connect better with the instructor and other solo participants than the group, and consequently were able to work through the material better. At first I thought the small group would benefit from being together to help each other and exchange ideas, the small group began forming a clique, alienating the rest of the participants. Next time everyone will participate from their desks and we'll try to leave those high school clique-forming tendencies to the high schoolers!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
1. The first three minutes: My first post on this blog was based on an article by Masie about the importance of the first three minutes of learning, which set the tone for the rest of an event. In this case the first three minutes consisted of an overview of findings as the audience viewed a title slide (not even a slide with key findings). A much more compelling opening would have been to turn some of the more interesting findings into questions for the audience such as, “What was the #1 practice correlated with the occurrence of informal learning?” (answer: sharing best practices).
2. Duration of each slide: About halfway into the webinar, one slide remained on the screen for 9 minutes as the speakers talked, and the final content slide stayed up for a whopping 12 minutes! Keeping your audience engaged and attentive is an art not a science, but in this case the delivery team could have easily included a few more interesting slides to support their commentary.
3. Q & A: The last ten minutes of the session were dedicated to Q & A. A good delivery team can weave the questions and answers throughout the web conference. If questions are collected throughout the session, the producer needs to be on the lookout for questions that map to a particular piece of content and get the speaker to incorporate questions from the audience during the entire session.
Every time we use learning technology, even for a presentation that is not meant to be a true learning event, we have the opportunity to practice what we preach about adult learning. Masie's content was intriguing, as always, but the delivery needed more polishing.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Although I tend to see the opposite problem -- too little interactivity -- I believe the answer to this question is yes. If the interaction does not support your learning objectives and you are interacting with participants merely for the sake of interacting, then it can frustrate your audience. Also, if you are using the interactive features of your web conferencing tool with your audience simply because you think the feature is neat and not to support your content, then the audience may feel like they are jumping through hoops pointlessly.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
"Get the audience to have a stake in the webinar – ask them to send questions before the event."
I like to send a pre-course survey before a web conference to get a sense of the learners’ experience level, needs and of course to see if they have specific questions they would like to address during the course.
"Reminders: send the day before and again 1-3 hours before the event. In the reminder email, remind people of the value proposition so they remember why they signed up for your event. "
The timing of email reminders is critical, and I agree with Molay’s suggestion. Also make sure the reminder is coming from an email address that the learner expects. Ideally, all communications about your event should come from the same email address.
Friday, February 20, 2009
We can learn from the pros at NPR how maximize the use of voice to improve the delivery of a web conference. Since the audience may not see the speaker, the speaker’s voice carries additional importance. One tip that someone recently shared with me is to use the recording function of your web conferencing tool to record and listen to your voice as you rehearse. Great idea! The Public Speaking Help blog also offers 10 Tips to Improve your Speaking Voice
Friday, February 6, 2009
1. First, Calculate carbon emissions from transportation. Enter participants’ flight info, or estimate where all participants would have come from, and come up with one average flight. Then multiply the emissions for that flight by # of participants. You can use emissions calculators from CarbonFund.org or Terrapass.com
2. Next, convert the tons of carbon saved into something more tangible. The EPA has a great Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. Use Option 2 and input CO2 totals from #1 above, then click "Calculate Equivalencies." You'll get a variety of results to choose from - select the ones that will resonate with your audience.
Friday, January 30, 2009
I am at the ASTD TechKnowledge Conference in Las Vegas Nevada and what an amazing week it has been. Today I made two presentations on “Facilitating Virtual Events,” one to a virtual audience and one in a traditional meeting room. In the spirit of knowledge sharing, I collected best practices and tips from both audiences and have posted them here. Any other good tips out there?
· Applaud volunteers profusely
· Rehearse in front of my dog
· Don’t read your slides verbatim
· Don't put ALL content on slides. Slides should reinforce what you are saying
· Use your National Public Radio (NPR) voice
· Don’t limit interactivity to verbal questions. Ask for hand raises. Include electronic click questions, free text response questions, etc.
· Create competitions to add some fun
· If you plan to record, make sure people agree to be taped. Remember that every form of recording is discoverable in a court of law.
· Participants should close all other non-applicable applications to enhance performance and reduce if not eliminate band-width issues.
· Help presenters with developing their own interactive solutions by providing coaching feedback on their rehearsals/teach-backs
· Give a "door prize" ( a gift certificate or book) for participants who complete pre-work (verified by us)
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The Post Mortem is simply a review of what you did. One component of the post mortem is an evaluation by participants (such as a level 1 online evaluation, at a minimum). The importance of soliciting feedback and making adjustments cannot be understated. Since we cannot see our participants, the evaluation is even more important. Another component is a debrief by the facilitation team. Talk with the team about what worked well, what needs to be changed to improve the delivery.
Both of these tasks should take place immeidately after the event. Make the changes to your course as soon as possible...before you forget what they are and before you forget to do them altogether! The last thing you want to happen is to log in for your next delivery of the session and then realize that you didn't make the changes needed (to the content, exercises, etc.) from the previous delivery.
Monday, January 26, 2009
In the Execution step, you are ready for the formal launch of your training. By the time you reach this step you have planned and rehearsed, you are ready to go!
A few tips to make sure your delivery goes smoothly are:
· Log in 30 min. early; ask participants to log in 15 min. early.
· Start and end on time.
· Display conference call number or audio information on screen.
· Engage the audience early, exposing them to the variety of methods they can use to interact.
· Give audience time to respond to questions, polls, chat. Some silence is okay.
· Have a second computer next to you so you can see the participant “view” at all times.
· Disable email arrival notification pop-ups and chimes.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I shoot for three practice deliveries: one with the facilitation team to work on timing and flow, then two rehearsals with mock audiences. After each rehearsal note adjustments needed and incorporate them into your session.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Five areas are listed in the planning stage, beginning with task of learning the platform. I’ve seen this happen before where the only preparation step taken was to learn the platform. Obviously you need to become familiar with the web conferencing platform and this is an important first step, however there are a few other tasks to consider. You'll also need to adjust your content and exercises to work properly in a web conferencing environment. Once you've finalized your materials, create a facilitator script that describes what is happening in terms of interactivity on each slide. Finally, you'll need to select your facilitation team which generally consists of a lead (the subject matter expert) and the producer (the web conferencing expert).
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Planning: In this model, the majority of your time will be spent planning. Simply taking the slides from a face to face training and uploading them onto a web conferencing platform will not result in a positive learning experience. You will need to re-think and adjust three main areas: your content, exercises and language.
Rehearsal: There are many moving parts in a web conference, therefore, it takes more time to practice and rehearse. If you have been delivering a course in a face to face setting, give yourself time to practice the delivery in a web conference. Even if you know your content inside and out, you need time to rehearse to see how it flows, based on all the adjustments you made to your materials in the planning stage.
Execution: When delivered properly, a web conference can be just as engaging as face to face training. This is the execution step and an engaging and flawless execution means that you have planned and rehearsed. It also means that you have the right facilitation team in place.
Post Mortem: A post mortem means “a review of what you did.” This step includes a debrief with facilitators and an evaluation from participants.
I’ll go into each step in more detail in future posts.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
American Society for Training and Development
World's largest organization dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals. Learning Circuits is ASTD’s online e-learning source for the latest learning technology news and ideas. Go to ASTD home > Publications > Learning Circuits.
Brandon Hall Research
Independent research on e-learning trends, best practices, tools and vendors.
Chief Learning Officer Magazine
Articles on a variety of topics and trends in training, and is especially good for organizational issues and innovations in e-learning.
Provides publications and research from education, corporate, government/military sectors and is a good site for current news in e-learning. Free weekly newsletter.
Comprehensive portal of information on e-learning, covering key issues and links to key publications and reports.
The Guild provides a good source of surveys and reports on trends in e-learning. Different levels of membership provide access to different information, however the free membership level includes a subscription to Learning Solutions eMagazine and eLearning Insider.
Learning for International NGOs (LINGOS)
Mission is to facilitate the creation, development and support of learning environments in the humanitarian relief, development and environmental sector. Members gain access online courses and e-learning tools.
MASIE Center Learning Lab and Think Tank
Source of information on technology, business, learning and workplace productivity run by Elliot Masie. Free e-newsletter subscription called Learning TRENDS.
Society for Applied Learning (SALT)
SALT is a professional society that offers resources and conferences for those in the field of instructional technology. Sponsors three journals: Journal of Instruction Delivery Systems, Journal of Interactive Instruction Development and Journal of Education Technology Systems.
A Consortium of Institutions and Organizations Committed to Quality Online Education. Publishes the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks and the Sloan-C View, a free weekly newsletter.