Improving learner outcomes

Using technology to deliver training

Man listening on headphones with a laptop

Author Siobhan Duvigneau

Date 2nd Apr 2020


Did you know OLT has a Video Chat facility on our site? We know it’s more important than ever to stay connected, and while you can’t roll out face to face training you can use our Video Chat facility to convene online training sessions for up to 15 people. The recommended browser for using this facility is Chrome and Firefox. If you are looking for other services, Zoom and GotoWebinar are also excellent for facilitating meetings and training sessions too!

Facilitating synchronous discussions or workshops online can seem a daunting task especially when you’re managing ‘group talk’ and fielding questions! Like all things, there is an ‘art to facilitating conversations online’ so we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 tips to help you deliver training online!

Like all things, there is an ‘art to facilitating conversations online’ so we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 tips to help you deliver training online!

  1. Plan, plan, and plan again! Having a solid instruction plan is absolutely crucial. Break up ‘teacher talk’ with opportunities to contribute ideas, react to your inputs and clarify understanding. A general rule of thumb is that 7-15 minute inputs should be broken up with a 2 minute ‘breather’ for group discussion or inputs.
  2. Enlist some help! If possible, arrange for someone to help you manage group participation. This individual can keep an eye on chat, field questions and most importantly deal with technical issues while you are running the training.
  3. Set expectations upfront! Always start your training with guidance on how to participate in the discussion. Introduce your training plan and the learning environment. Show individuals how to access the chat feature (if there is one). Ask individuals to speak clearly, and one at a time. Invite participants to field their questions through the chat panel or by raising their hand. If emoticons are available, ask individuals to use these symbols to signal that they want to make a contribution or field a question. Here are some ideas for managing contributions using emoticons:

    * Use the thumbs up symbol to signal agreement
    * A waving hand, or waving emoticon can be used to indicate a question
    * The thumbs down symbol could signal disagreement
    * In the absence of emoticons, be creative! Use letters e.g. Y (Yes), N (No), ? (Question) or hand signals too!   

    Always manage participation by taking a note of the individuals who have raised their hand and stating clearly what the running order for contributions will be. This will help individuals manage their own expectations and reduce the number of concurrent contributions! If individuals are enthusiastic, thank them for their contribution and remind them of the rules of participation. Assure them they will be able to speak next!
  4. Always programme in ‘open talk’ sessions! Research shows individuals who contribute to a learning event in the first 5 minutes are more likely to contribute or participate in discussions later on. So, invite people to talk! Even if it’s just to introduce themselves to the group at the beginning of the training event. Keep momentum going by asking questions as you walk through your presentation. But, remember to ask individuals to field their questions through chat to minimise disruptions!

  5.  Give several options for making contributions! Some individuals don’t feel comfortable in digital learning spaces so always provide different options for making contributions. I’ve already mentioned Chat but with a little planning you can use polls and multiple-choice questions to gather information/feedback.




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  • Lyndsay Schinkel
    Lyndsay Schinkel said on: 2nd Apr 2020 at 12:53

    I will be pointing our tutors to these tips as all of our cohorts have their F2F sessions via video conferencing now. Can we share our desktop and play a video clip in this video chat facility?

    • Nick Maloney
      Nick Maloney said on: 8th Apr 2020 at 16:55
      Log in

      Hi Lyndsay I’m afraid that we can’t currently share desktops through the video chat facility.

  • Wendy Pelizzo
    Wendy Pelizzo said on: 2nd Apr 2020 at 22:39

    This has come in very handy as we have just written Online Meeting Etiquette. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sandra Michielin
    Sandra Michielin said on: 6th Apr 2020 at 09:10

    Thank you

  • Jacqueline Donaldson said on: 17th May 2020 at 14:10

    Very useful tips, we are always looking for better ways to present online.

  • Tanele Spiteri said on: 3rd Aug 2020 at 07:34

    Great advice!

  • Sally Howard said on: 11th Oct 2020 at 08:08

    Dear Siobhan, I found that as I read through each of your tips, I could reflect on recent online communications and training courses I have participated in, and tick off these points. Thanks, these were excellent tips and I appreciate someone taking the time to define successful steps that I could then use, should I ever need to run/organise or assist others in online training. Sally

  • Heather Moyes
    Heather Moyes said on: 5th May 2021 at 14:02

    The delay is sometimes off putting but better than no contact.

  • Mackenzie Moore said on: 7th Oct 2021 at 11:10

    Thank you.

  • Louise Haley said on: 25th Oct 2021 at 13:09

    Thanks for posting this. Very handy.

  • James Bunoza said on: 3rd Nov 2021 at 11:57

    Great and simple tips to follow. Helpful with use of technology and Learning From Home.

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