Getting the most out of online delivery
There’s a lot of online delivery going on at the moment. Admittedly a lot of it is food-related – but as it looks increasingly likely we’ll be working remotely for months, rather than weeks, more and more people are looking at online training options.
But how do we teach online? Or more importantly, how do we teach well online? The key message here is: get the basics right.
The proof is in the planning
Try to get a feel for your learners’ prior knowledge in advance so you know what you need to cover. Once you know your starting point, you can think about pulling your content together. When you’re doing this, it’s important to chunk the information into sections and arrange them in the most logical order. Try to estimate how long each bit will take, so you get an idea of overall timings. But remember – keep it short and succinct. You don’t want to overwhelm your learners.
Talking of timings, build in time to recap learning at regular intervals. If you chunk your content as suggested, you have natural places to stop and do this before moving onto the next section.
Once you’ve done all of that, it’s time to produce the content itself. Here, it’s really important to think about ways to keep the audience involved and engaged. It’s easy to zone out or get side-tracked on a remote call. Combat this by asking individuals to contribute to the session – make use of polling tools, breakout rooms and whiteboarding. But if you don’t have any of those, good old questions work just as well.
Time to deliver
Where possible, have cameras switched on – it’s the closest we’re going to get to a classroom environment for a while. When your participants start to arrive, check that they can see and hear, and that they’re comfortable with the technology. And if you’re planning to use collaboration tools, it makes sense to explain which ones and how they work at the beginning to avoid any interruption once the session has started.
As you go through the session, try to keep to your timings to avoid running over. And if you’ve reserved time to recap learning throughout the session, remember to use it. Check for understanding and get feedback – and don’t be afraid to use this to inform the rest of the session. Speed up or slow down as appropriate to keep your learners engaged and the session as useful as possible.
Finally, remember to summarise the session. Think about the key things you want your learners to remember and how it helps them day-to-day.
Keep it going
Once the session has finished, follow up with an email summarising the key points. If you’re running an ongoing programme, plan offline activities for your learners to complete in between sessions and don’t forget to recap them in the follow-up session.
And lastly, reflect. What would you do again? What would you improve?