My last post focused on using your mouse deliberately for any movement on the screen. What else needs to be executed in a deliberate and overt manner in the virtual classroom? Nanette Miner shares excellent tips on deliberate language in her article, The Non-Drowsy Virtual Classroom in T&D Magazine this month. Miner suggests, "... language in the virtual classroom needs to be much more direct." and "To assist your participants, give written instructions for activities, preferably both on the screen and in a handout."
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.