Go To Training High Impact Online Training


Published on


Published in: Business, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Go To Training High Impact Online Training

  1. 1. Live Online Training That Works: Strategies for High Impact Learning and Development by Tom Bunzel
  2. 2. Introduction .................................................................................................................................................................................. 3 Benefits of Online Training ............................................................................................................................................................ 6 Strategic Issues .............................................................................................................................................................................. 7 Getting Past the Glut ................................................................................................................................................................... 11 Monitoring the Transfer of Training ............................................................................................................................................. 13 Blending Live and Online Training Modalities ............................................................................................................................... 14 Best Practices for Content Development ...................................................................................................................................... 15 Best Practices for Delivery and Performance ................................................................................................................................ 19 Resources and References ........................................................................................................................................................... 23 About the Author ........................................................................................................................................................................ 24 Objective: This eBook describes techniques to maximize the effectiveness of training delivered online “live” and in real time--in terms of planning and execution to maximize engagement and retention--and to achieve measurable results.
  3. 3. Introduction With the explosion of the Internet and on-demand access, one of the fastest growing areas of interest is education. In colleges and universities, more and more assignments and interactions between students, faculty and administration are happening online, and many institutions have supplemented their classrooms with online courses for remote learners to widen their reach. At the same time, corporations have recognized the need to reach employees and customers who cannot attend localized training events due to logistics or cost. The first phase of using technology to educate and train was to simply put courseware into electronic format – first on CD ROM, and eventually on the Internet to quickly make it available to more people. But simply providing information was not enough; various strategies were developed for supplementing manuals or textbooks with the ability to communicate with instructors through email or forums in order to increase the efficacy of “e-learning.” Nothing adequately replaces the dynamic of a live This has led to development of real-time, live online training solutions with classroom – without the physical presence of the power of a synchronous event, where geographically dispersed other students and one or more proficient participants can share knowledge and experience yet remain at their own instructors with real time interaction, learning is desks or cubicles. severely limited. However, certain tools within an online learning solution can negate these However, it has also become increasingly obvious that the strategies and problems. skills required to ensure attention and retention on the part of participants are very different online. Beyond the distractions and the lack of eye contact, the ability to truly reach learners is limited without the creativity and interactive resources to use the online medium to its full advantage and to turn some of its apparent limitations into strengths in order to meet both institutional and personal objectives. Ten years ago, Wired magazine reported that a Forrester Research study found that managers “were struggling to convince employees to utilize ‘boring, text-heavy content,’ and were meeting real resistance from employees who preferred traditional person-to-person training methods. According to the report's author, John P. Dalton, “much of the problem is caused by firms who simply convert standard instruction manuals into Web pages.” (Source: http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2000/08/38504)
  4. 4. American Society for Training and Development's (ASTD) 2009 State of the Industry Report cited in The Business Intelligence Cortex noted that, despite the recession, learning expenditure has remained consistent among its member organizations. Among its top trends for 2010 is a move to “Bring virtual classroom capabilities to your organization. This live online instruction brings people together online to share and learn. The instructors need experience and training on best practices in engaging an audience that they can’t see and keeping a discussion going as appropriate. The growth of virtual classroom reflects the travel cutbacks and also cost of face-to-face facilities and the prep time and materials. Another advantage of virtual classroom is ability to access the recording to review material.” (Source: The Business Intelligence Cortex -- http://bit.ly/aC3A0a) A recent ASTD blog commented on a study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom that “the following principles should be adopted to underlie any e-learning strategy, program, or intervention: · Start with the learner: Know your audience – acknowledge the needs, preferences, strengths and limitations of your target audience. · Relevance drives out resistance: Learners are more likely to engage with the e-learning program if they recognize its bearing to the organization. · Take account of intermediaries: Regardless of delivery methods, learners need both support and challenge. Intermediaries are essential in achieving this, even with e-learning. · Embed activity in the organization: E-learning cannot take place in isolation; it has to be integrated with other training courses and human management training systems. · Support and automate: E-learning should be used as one element within a range of formal and informal support mechanisms which can help learners to work and learn. (Source: ASTD blog February 8, 2010, Martyn Sloman, Kingston University - http://bit.ly/bE7Wz2)
  5. 5. In the academic world, a 2004 online survey of 12,000 college professors, instructional designers and administrators who were members of either the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) or the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications (WCET), asked its respondents to look 10 years ahead. At that time “a large majority of respondents predicted that learning outcomes of online students would be either the same as (39 percent) or superior to (42 percent) those of traditionally taught students by 2013.” Kyong-Jee Kim and Curtis J. Bonk, in their article in Educause Quarterly on “The Future of Online Teaching and Learning in Higher Education,” state that “pedagogical skill was deemed more important than technological skill for effective online teaching. With regard to the needs for pedagogical competency of online instructors, a majority of the respondents expected that online instructors would typically have received some sort of training in online teaching either internally or externally by the year 2010.” (Emphasis added).
  6. 6. (Source: Educause Quarterly, http://bit.ly/2QtUaK) “The most important skills for an online instructor Again, these were academic surveys of professional educators. Results in [during the next few years] will be how to a corporate environment, or one in which students come from an online moderate or facilitate learning and how to or public base, which are in many ways even more competitive develop or plan for high-quality online courses. environments, will depend even more upon: Being a subject-matter expert was the next most important skill. In effect, the results indicate that 1. How effectively the course material is planned and geared to the planning and moderating skills are perhaps more online venue. important than actual ‘teaching’ or lecturing skills 2. The skills of the instructor to connect to the participants and keep in online courses.” – Educause.org them engaged through creative subject matter presentation, activities and involvement. 3. How pre- and post-event assessments and follow-up activities reinforce learned concepts and skills and transfer to the workplace or other venue of application. The key takeaway is that online learning is its own specialty that requires unique skills and best practices to use effectively, whether in an academic, corporate or other environment. Benefits of Online Training “The majority of workers say they would be very Cost and logistical factors obviously are responsible for the fast growth of likely to pursue training or education if the online training events—travel and associated expenses are minimized and a obstacles they face could be overcome by such wider range of participants can be reached with online training and its initiatives as programs with flexible classroom archived recordings. hours or enrollment periods, tuition reimbursement, online learning or programs The unique nature of the live online classroom makes online training an designed and managed by local business leaders.” effective adjunct to traditional initiatives as well as a powerful medium to Eight in ten workers – regardless of income or enhance performance, skills and motivation. education level – show keen interest in pursuing further training and education. -- Businessroundtable.org -- BusinessRoundtable.Org
  7. 7. Employee retention is a powerful benefit of online training. A survey on “The American Workforce,” was conducted for The Springboard Project, an independent commission convened by Business Roundtable that is creating innovative approaches to helping American workers develop the skills they need to remain competitive in the global marketplace. (Source: http://www.businessroundtable.org) Since participants are already on the computer, programs and resources (like the Internet) can become a distraction or — when used strategically — the technology can be a significant learning aid. New social media tools like blogs and communities can lay the groundwork for real-time events and provide the means for staying in touch with learners to make sure that they get the support they need after an online training event. A good online training system will also integrate information gathered during registration and compare it with test and assessment results in order to provide important metrics as to retention of information and effectiveness of instruction. And the ability of live online training to integrate and access Web content and other programs, along with the ability to aggregate immediate feedback through polls, quizzes and registration forms, provides a wide array of resources for the presenter of an online event to educate, motivate and inspire an audience. Strategic Issues When planning an online training program, it is important to set clear objectives, organize online training according to a concrete vision and make all elements part of that overall plan. (For more information on how to meet strategic objectives using live online training, see “Using Webinars to Engage Employees and Drive Productivity” – http://bit.ly/bNL4mk.) Since the expertise of your instructor is a significant factor in the success of your program, you will want to not only get buy-in from management for your online training plan, but also forge partnerships wherever possible to supplement and reinforce the material by bringing in experienced professionals from other areas of the organization. For example, in implementing customer service training, you might consider using speakers from finance or accounting that can dramatically describe (with stories and supporting data) how losing a single client or customer impacts the bottom line. Many training professionals are familiar with the Addie Model, which is an ongoing five-step process for conventional training solutions:
  8. 8. Analysis/ Assessment Training professional and lecturer Bob Pike suggests that for ultimate success you should view training as a process. Consider the mindset of how your participants Evaluation Design enter the program and gather their input with pre- planning, pre-tests, surveys, social networks and email to gather information on their needs and plan for follow up and accountability to monitor results and reinforce material. -- Robert Pike – http://www.bobpikegroup.com Imple- Develop- mentation ment
  9. 9. Analysis/ Assessment From a strategic perspective, the Imple- metrics that are afforded with online EVALUATION Design mentation training technology allow for evaluation at each stage of the ADDIE process — and also during the live training event itself. Develop- ment The well-known Donald Kirkpatrick four-level model for training and development evaluation can also be effectively applied to the online training medium: Level 1: Reactions of Participants Level 2: Learning Results (Testing) Level 3: Application or Transfer to Real World Level 4: Impact on the Organization
  10. 10. Evaluation of a successful online training program measures results for Live Online Training Evaluation Features: each of these four levels with the understanding that true ROI is not just a function of the bottom line, but also the satisfaction of participants, those Attendee Report – Who attended, they serve and with whom they interact, management and the overall department, background, time spent culture of the organization where training is done. Test Report - Detailed results, breakdown of For example, in implementing training for a new software program at a law students and scores firm, the most obvious metric for success after the staff is trained might be viewed simply as the effect on billable hours or the bottom line. Evaluation Report – Reaction of participants and overall satisfaction and reactions However, such a purely financial measurement might be misleading if other factors like partner, associate, employee and client satisfaction; productivity and sick days; and results at trial or in conference in major cases were not taken into account. To that end, taking a high-level view of the results will make you consider:  What additional benefits will accrue from the training program? If your training is not mandatory, there is tremendous  Are there intangible results that are apparent from the competition for what you offer – you really need to be evaluations? creative and resourceful in how you promote and  How do the intangibles supplement or impact financial and implement a session effectively so that potential productivity results? participants are motivated to attend and participate.  What circumstances will inform us that the benefits – tangible You can offer self-service registration, automated and intangible – have been realized? reminders, access to training materials and pre-session With elements like chat, icons that gauge attentiveness and color-coded tests to stimulate interest and excitement. reactions, a monitor of a live online training event can get a feel for how a session is going as it happens. Fortunately or unfortunately, attendees can also provide reactions among themselves on Twitter or other networks using what is now known as the “Backchannel,” and successful online training initiatives will be the drivers rather than the victims of this phenomenon (covered below).
  11. 11. Neither your organization nor the participants in your training have their lives revolve around your event — online training is part of a cycle of activity into which it must blend and fit in order to make sense and be effective for the company or school and for the students. Content needs to be practical and memorable to maintain attention and to meet the needs of everyone involved in the process. Making sure that what is presented is aligned to the objectives of the audience and/or the organization, and measuring those results at all stages of the process is a key component of any successful online training strategy. Getting Past the Glut Not all online training is specifically part of an organizational structure; with many small businesses and entrepreneurs now active in our economy, they make training an integral part of their effort to reach out to the public and gain recognition. For example, an online flower delivery service might offer an online training on floral arrangement for special events as part of their marketing efforts. The promotion for this event might well compete in email inboxes of their clients and customers with online events and innumerable other activities. In addition, many people will register for an online event only to let it go by as the time for entering the classroom approaches for any number of reasons: other commitments, lack of interest, difficulty accessing the software and so on. The flower delivery service, for example, may offer incentives or coupons, make the event part of a game or real-world promotion, use a noted expert in floral arrangement or prepare for the promotion of the live online training event through groups on social media like Facebook, Twitter or an active blog — again all part of a process of implementing training rather than a focus on one specific date and time. (As users of social media know, results are part of building trust and relationships. For more on Social Media and Real Time Collaboration, download the eBook at http://bit.ly/1ATa8). When the event is over and archived on video, it can be promoted on channels and video hosting sites like Vimeo and YouTube, linked to blogs, Facebook and Twitter and highlighted on other social communities.
  12. 12. Leveraging the Backchannel Email distraction is the least of online training concerns; just as participants at real-word speeches and seminars now will comment on social networks using smartphones, participants in online training can be evaluating you before your first slide. Planners of online training must learn how to ride this trend to their advantage before the event (for planning and research) and during the event (for involvement and interactivity). In his new book, The Backchannel: How Audiences are Using Twitter and Social Media and Changing Presentations Forever, Cliff Atkinson provides some clear ideas on how to leverage the use of such social media to the presenter’s advantage. Atkinson is also the author of Beyond Bullet Points. The book suggests the following:  “Chunking down” a training presentation into "Twitter-sized sound bites" to facilitate and support 140-character tweets. Then you can measure the energy created by the event by how much buzz it creates on social sites like Twitter.  Using Twitter and other social media to allow those who are not in your online training event to get a feel vicariously. You can even use a program like Whrrl to send screenshots of the event (and creating anticipation for your next session). Or if your online learning solution allows for recording, you can post a portion of your session to generate interest.  Creating instant polls using tools, such as Twtpoll and Poll Everywhere, to involve the audience. This can be redundant, since online training programs have their integrated own polling features, but tweeting about the results and exchanging commentary on the implications might be helpful unless the facilitator wanted to expand the range of polling outside the event.  Publishing a presentation home page and newsletter using a blog, wiki software or Ning social network as a convenient archive for reference material along with the speaker bio, contact information and more. Instead of PowerPoint being the sole way to communicate, this widens the scope. Also, by implementing a strategy like this prior to an event, you initiate a backchannel that involves the audience, letting you gather comments and suggestions before you deliver the talk. After which, these online tools page become a repository for evaluations, further questions, blog postings, reference material and a transcript.
  13. 13. In general terms, it has been the lack of awareness on the part of presenters in general that have gotten them in trouble with the Backchannel. To the extent that you view training as an ongoing activity and begin to engage and involve participants using the social media tools Atkinson describes — and create engaging content using the best practices outlined below — the chatter on the Backchannel should be supportive at a minimum and hopefully toned down enough to make your audience attentive and retentive to the subject matter of the training. (http://www.backchannelbook.com) Monitoring the Transfer of Training Developers should plan to actively track the relevance of training from the online event to the participants’ activities on the job or in the real world. This actually begins prior to the event when you collect information from participants as to what they hope to learn and accomplish — this should already be aggregated with specific questions to determine how the lessons learned will be used on the job and applied practically — and of course these issues can and should be woven into the content for the online training event. With this accomplished, surveys, email, follow-up initiatives and smaller break-out events can be used to see how the participants have been able to apply their learning “in the real world.” Integration with a help desk, reference to online courseware and other resources (like training manuals) and continued involvement of the trainers themselves can In a comprehensive session dealing with ensure that what is learned is applied effectively by staying engaged with the complex issues with respect to software or participants. other technology, participants may well feel somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer A social strategy can also be very effective here; using a blog in which the trainers volume of data to be absorbed. solicit feedback or a Twitter account, Facebook group, forum or wiki where participants can share experiences and learn from one another can go a long way toward supporting the integration of new skills with older work patterns and behaviors.
  14. 14. Blending Live and Online Training Modalities Given the internal politics within many organizations, the attempt to introduce a new learning modality such as live online training may ruffle some feathers. Established systems or individuals may feel threatened, so it is important to recognize that live online training need not seek to replace existing initiatives but rather become part of an overall strategy. When implementing live online training, it is helpful to present the program and plan events as an effective follow-up and reinforcement of traditional classroom training or facilitation, or existing online resources like courses and manuals. The point of emphasis, however, is the ability to make a live event dynamic and responsive to the real needs of participants. To facilitate blended modules, an online training initiative can offer one To that end, planners and developers should look for areas of interactivity in classroom centralized administration center and a modality that can be carried over online: games, scenarios, case studies, polls, chat, shared content library to reuse and application and screen share, visual materials that can be placed into slides, etc. If organize content, tests and other competitive groups and exciting activities are already part of a curriculum or initiative, materials. they can sometimes also be integrated into the live online learning event with contests and team-building exercises that take advantage of these relationships. Since not all trainers in the classroom or authors of online resources will be available to participate in a live event, it is very helpful to observe their techniques and note the interaction and questions of other instructors and incorporate these methodologies into your online event, as well as to integrate the relevant training materials from printed and online resources. To this point, however, take special care, because simply regurgitating what has already been taught in other venues during a live event will prove ineffective. Only the most significant and relevant facts should be repeated in an online event, and this should be handled in a manner that takes advantage of the fact that everyone is together and able to interact and discuss this kind of information. For example, following up on a diversity training seminar with a live online training event can take advantage of the presence of employees from localities with different cultures to actually speak to some of the issues raised in textbooks or manuals with real world experiences.
  15. 15. Successful blended learning combines online training with e-learning courseware and conventional programs to provide an integrated program that is supplemented and reinforced through live instructor feedback and engagement with the participants before, during and after an online event. Best Practices for Content Development Effective developers of live online training first audit the needs of the organization and departments impacted and partner with experts to design their content. In this way they effectively align the content with practical and strategic organizational objectives to heighten interest and motivation. As a developer, you can survey participants before and after session, or set up blogs, bulletin boards, content libraries and wikis to learn what they participants hope to achieve. You can also use the registration process to qualify attendees and solicit ideas and set expectations. You can conduct polls at the beginning and end of an event and then compare results . This allows you to follow up to reinforce key concepts and see how Development Checklist: effective the retention of key information was for the content presented. -- Custom Registration Capability If a poll shows that 24 percent of the audience understood a key point at the -- Catalog and Calendar of Events beginning of the event, but 87 percent got it at the end, that’s a good start. Then it -- Library of Content will be a matter of seeing how those results transfer to on-the-job situations. -- Reusable tests, evaluations and surveys -- Configurable Class Size Because attendees will be at their computer screens and the trainers’ only direct -- Invite Attendees on the Fly contact is vocal, it is vital to use visually dynamic online materials effectively. -- Automatic Event Reminders -- Audio Options for Phone or VOIP Important points to remember:  Design all slides to be absorbed from a few feet away (unlike those created for an auditorium).  Don’t overload slides with too much information (remember the Backchannel). Don’t use slides as a teleprompter or notes — limit content to a key point or takeaway and speak to it effectively. (Resource: Beyond Bullet Points by Cliff Atkinson)
  16. 16.  Animation can be an effective way to introduce key elements (like an actor in a production gets an entrance), but don’t overdo or use it gratuitously — use it only to tell your story and strengthen communication.  Take advantage of stock images and video if possible to set a tone. A picture is a story that resonates emotionally with the audience when used effectively. Many stock image services like Corbis and iStockPhoto have excellent search tools where you can find images representing concepts like boredom, anger, confusion and so on.  “Think Hollywood” – Many presenters and trainers use a high impact opening “act” or loop a slideshow in the waiting room to create a mood and anticipation.  Address needs of fact, emotional and practical learners in your materials. Graphs and charts will convince some, images with metaphors and analogies connect to the emotions and concrete practical examples will be important for those eager to transfer their skills into the workplace. Use lots of slides with all three modalities of learning to keep attendees involved.  Plan to shift modalities frequently. Don’t spend too long on slides before going to a poll, game or other activity. Provide exercises, assignments or quizzes during events that make the training more hands-on and stimulate discussion and energy. Presentation and Speaker Expert Patricia Fripp is the source for some of these concepts, and she suggests that you also use a “hook” such as: • A catchy fact: "It may interest you to know Ferraris hold their value more than polo ponies! I first learned this lesson when..." • A startling statistic: "Did you know that if you had spent a million dollars a day, every day, since Jesus was born, you would not have spent a trillion dollars. Please keep that in mind as we strategize how to increase sales by only 5 percent." • An intriguing challenge: "Ten years ago we were the market leaders. This year we are 13th. You are now in an exciting position to turn that around." Source: Presentation Xpert (http://bit.ly/1xsgBC) and excerpted with permission from eLearn Magazine, July 7, 2009 (http://bit.ly/ALfwn), © 2009 Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.) Dr. Carmen Taran, a principal at Rexi Media, a presentation consulting firm and the co-author of Better Beginnings, was asked to compare the key elements of an online event with a live presentation in terms of a “formula.” Here is her response:
  17. 17. “Make one statement, ask one question or involve participants in some way. Then repeat. Audience involvement leads to active participation, regardless of whether you are in a blind medium or not. It’s true that body language disappears when you present virtually. However, if you have a pleasant, natural, and forceful voice, along with powerful graphics and valuable content, you can compensate. Many presenters forget to use more graphics and visual movement in a virtual medium. Something needs to change visually on the screen every 2-3 seconds in order to maintain someone’s attention.” (Source: http://www.indezine.com/products/powerpoint/personality/carmentaran.html) When most presenters think visuals they turn to PowerPoint. But is PowerPoint the only answer? In an online training event, you can use the shared desktop feature to include other programs. For example, you can add a number of pre-set shapes with captions to the Office Clipboard (which holds up to 24 items), and then open Word for a quick brainstorming session with participants. In many cases simply clicking to add the shapes and editing their text can result in a shared diagram that represents group input.
  18. 18. Familiarize the trainers, monitors and the audience with feedback tools that will be monitored on the dashboard – how to raise their hand to respond to a question, step away, and so on. Never assume that the participants have familiarity or comfort with these features; take a few minutes to demonstrate them. Rehearse your presentation with an organized agenda (which is shared with participants) and create a checklist for all supporting materials and concepts. Have all demonstration files (for example, the Word whiteboard) available and ready to go. You can also print out a version of your slides with large legible slide numbers so that you can move around your presentation effectively (enter the slide number and press enter to go directly to that slide) just in case time gets short. Make sure you have the resources and know how to record the event (and Preparation and Rehearsal Tips: also rehearsals) for feedback and continued use by participants – and for access by those who could not attend “live.” Archived video can usually be Practice and learn how to use your voice with accessed through an Internet link or downloaded from the event software authority and variety. provider for local use or redistribution. Get used to delivering without seeing your (Re)design the training materials and revise future events based on feedback audience. and experience—remember that learning is a process and each online event Never use the monitor as a teleprompter — look will provide new resources and material for subsequent sessions — make sure away as though you might have eye contact with that you note important anecdotes, stories, feedback and positive and your audience. . negative experiences with which to profit at future events. Use a thorough debriefing session with your colleagues and all of those on the staff (monitors, Familiarize yourself with the training tools for a speakers, etc.) to get all input possible for evaluation. seamless training. Take advantage of an online administration center where all resources can be stored and evaluated for reuse, and to maintain consistency over the course of a training initiative.
  19. 19. To increase interactivity and teamwork, you might consider smaller sessions in virtual “breakout rooms” (use a solution like GoToMeeting with a “Meet Now” function) for focused content after the main event or in preparation for it (Example: collaboration or team building). You can also use a technique popular in the classroom of pairing up participants, in some instances, to learn from each other and hold one another accountable subsequent to the event. Consult print and online resources for games, openers, innovative ideas and exercises. Best Practices for Delivery and Performance The first time a trainer is introduced and begins to speak with no one else in the room is a memorable experience; you should have thoroughly rehearsed (with others present) or perhaps even consider having a small audience available visually if possible. I’ll never forget the first time I gave an online presentation about the features of a popular software program. After I was introduced, I began confidently with my first slide of objectives and looked out to see the reaction of the audience, only to realize that I was staring at the wall of my office. I wanted to ask a direct question but the moderator had muted all participant lines. A small knot formed in my chest momentarily until I gathered myself and realized that I had important information to impart, that I was prepared, and that I would be able to field questions in due course. Nonetheless, I found myself at intervals wondering “How was I With each achievement as a group in terms of reaching doing?”; “Were people getting it?” a new level of understanding, try to do it together and have a sense of celebration and recognition. Such is the nature of an online training event, and fortunately the software has evolved to the point where real feedback is available. The ultimate celebration, of course, comes at the end Now I try to keep an eye out on the icons that represent attentiveness when you can summarize everything that has been and also take advantage of the raised hand feature so that I can ask achieved, and recognize key contributions and perhaps whether something was clear, or should I go over it again. issue a certificate of completion or some tangible token of successful program completion. Certainly it is important to set concrete goals for the event and reinforce how these objectives are met at key intervals. If the
  20. 20. objectives have been set by an organization, and the participants are not pleased to be in the training, it is even more important to establish a sense of rapport and get a buy-in on the part of attendees for the viability and importance of the event. If the attendees have signed up on their own volition, they should already be motivated — but you might find a way to make them feel good about their decision to attend. From the outset, tie into participants’ needs and grab them with a benefit: For example, “At the end of today’s session you will know how to use a blog to dynamically promote your business.” In today’s fast paced environment, the last thing you want to do is go into a long-winded self-introduction; if no sponsor has introduced you, leave your credentials for the conclusion and instead provide a practical piece of information quickly to grab the audience’s attention. You might also start with a startling fact, statistic, challenge, anecdote or story – but make sure it is linked to the content. For example, you could use George Carlin’s famous routine about taking care of all of his “stuff” in the opening of a session on planning and organization. You could follow up with a poll about what sort of “stuff” participants believe is most important for a particular task to succeed. Perhaps they need to organize a conference — there are various options to coordinating and putting Intersperse Interactive Activities together an agenda, itinerary and to-do list of items that will be Instead of providing multiple choice answers in a poll, needed at their event. A facilitator could provide some guidance and you can also engage participants by having them make then open it up for suggestions, call on participants who have raised lists, underline or circle key points or sketch or draw their hand and list their suggestions in a Word document in a short concepts. brainstorming session before continuing on to the next topic. It is very helpful to have an onscreen timer that lets Still, the presenter must be particularly aware of pacing and what the participants know the duration of an interactive activity audience is seeing. Video must be thoroughly tested because not all and how much time is left. video clips will play in conferencing software. More important, you can’t be on the fourth slide when the audience is still looking at the Wherever possible you can share the results during the second one fade to the third. session to elicit comments and discussion and remember to celebrate and recognize key contributions (and make them part of your next session).
  21. 21. You must monitor the audience view carefully to see how graphics display – if necessary, maintain a second laptop or computer as a participant preview if the conference software does not provide such a feature. The main presenter certainly has a lot to handle in an online event. She or he needs to advance the slides, know what to say next, and perhaps demonstrate or simulate important procedures for the audience. That’s why it is very helpful to use a moderator if at all possible to watch the dashboard and field chat and questions and pass them on to the presenter. If you do get ahead of yourself, or even just to amplify a point, use repetition for retention. Experts have found that it may take six times for people to remember an important fact or absorb a concept. For example, you’ve described in detail how your new widget will keep the cooling system working automatically and you’ve moved on to the electrical components. As you move through the diagram, you might point out with annotation tools that this key part will malfunction from overheating if you haven’t set the widget in the cooling system correctly. “Who remembers the key setting? Show of hands.” “Correct answer – celebration and recognition — the system will not overheat because of X and Y. Thank you, Joe and Linda. And you will be heroes.” It’s particularly important in an online conference not to fall into the “Death by PowerPoint” trap of showing and God forbid reading slide after slide of bullets. Live Online Training Resource List: Some conference programs make it necessary to upload a presentation and -- Audio conferencing and chat speakers can easily get into a rut of just going through those slides. -- Desktop and Application Sharing -- Video Recording and Archive If you run your presentation from a shared desktop, you have the option of -- Instant Invitations instantly switching between other programs using the Alt + Tab options on -- Change Presenters for Panel your keyboard and the program will display whichever application is -- Transfer Keyboard and Mouse for Demos maximized. -- Drawing and Annotation for Highlights -- Multiple Monitors This makes it easy to switch between a PowerPoint slide and, for example, -- Timer for Tests and Breaks the Word whiteboard described earlier. Many programs also let you show a polling slide with multiple choice questions or run a chat session.
  22. 22. A poll can be used effectively to get participants to prioritize key issues and let the presenter know what to focus on in the session. For example, which of these customer complaints about a product or service have you found most difficult to address? Show the results and generate a discussion among those who picked the lesser example as most important. Then, choose one of the options and ask for submissions of specific situations via chat, and have the moderator pick the best one for you to address directly in the training. Additionally, the use of pre-planned or ad-hoc quizzes can be a great tool to assess the participants’ level of understanding. And with the ability to set a timer and review the reporting after the session, you will be equipped to assess the participants’ learning. If you are demonstrating software for training, make sure that you have rehearsed the demo and don’t “wing it.” Make sure your example files are loaded and available, and that you know exactly the sequence of key strokes and features you want to show and the points you want to make. Then make sure that you know how to make it happen. Don’t become flustered by a minor glitch; in most cases the audience will not notice something that you might think is a major gaffe. Rehearsal and practice is the key to having the confidence to hit your marks and make your point. Remember to keep watching the audience view to make sure participants are keeping up, and repeat anything that may be confusing — ask for a show of hands for those who may need to see a demo a second time. As you switch from one modality to another to change pace and get attention back, let the audience know what you’re about to do; have some patter ready if you switch to the Web browser and the site you want to show takes a few seconds to load. Online training can certainly take advantage of Web content — but, where possible, have your content local and readily available. As you wrap things up, remember to remind participants of key accomplishments and recognize the contributions of those who actively participated. You can have some fun and provide incentives for raising hands and giving feedback – it’s surprising how even a gold star added to a slide can motivate a manager. Looking ahead, it is a good idea to create (measurable) action items that will hold attendees accountable (via follow up). “Who is going to use a pie chart in their financial presentation next week? (Show of hands) OK, we’re going to have a contest — email me your pie charts and the best one will be featured on our blog. The winner will receive a free lunch in the executive dining room.”
  23. 23. Try to infuse the event(s) with fun if at all possible. One way of doing this is splitting people into teams for small competitions — maybe the pie chart contest can also practice collaboration with Excel — so that the accounts receivable team can compete against strategists and forecasters in the financial department. All of this contributes to a sense of energy and enthusiasm, which is vital in a venue where the presenter and the participants are remote from one another. Resources and References Cliff Atkinson - www.backchannelbook.com Geetesh Bajaj, Indezine Presentation web site and blog, http://www.indezine.com Nancy Duarte, slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations, O’Reilly (2008) Terrence Gargiulo, et al, Building Business Acumen for Trainers, Pfeiffer (2006) Particia Fripp - www.fripp.com Robert Pike - www.bobpikegroup.com Dr. Carmen Taran, Better Beginnings, How to capture your audience in 30 seconds, principal, Rexi Media – www.reximedia.com
  24. 24. About the Author Tom Bunzel specializes in knowing what presenters need and how to make technology work. He has appeared on Tech TV’s Call for Help and spoken at InfoComm and PowerPoint LIVE. He was a “technology coach” for Iomega, MTA Films, Nurses in Partnership and the Neuroscience Education Institute. He has taught regularly at Learning Tree International, West LA College Extension and and does presentation and video consulting in Southern California. Among his books was “Master Visually Microsoft Office 2007,” and he wrote a weekly column as the Office Reference Guide for InformIT.com. Published in 2006, “Solving the PowerPoint Predicament: Using Digital Media for Effective Communication” is a detailed, project-oriented approach to creating effective multimedia presentations. His new eBook, “Do Your Own Ning Thing: A Step-By-Step Guide to Launching an Effective Social Network,” is available through his Web site: www.professorppt.com or his blog: tbunzel.blogspot.com.