On Tuesday, Steve Ressler, President of GovLoop, Andrew Krzmarzick, Director of Learning and Development at GovLoop, and Jennifer Kaplan, Product Marketing Manager at GovDelivery, hosted an online training on “11 Tips to Transform Your Virtual Training and Events.” But we ended up with more than 11 – here are some bonus tips that will take your next online training to the next level.
In the world of online trainings, it’s important to be flexible and to go with the flow, based upon audience feedback. Don’t over-plan! But how do you deal with those audience members who want the training to stick to its original game plan? The answer is to be clear with the audience, from the beginning, that things are going to change and evolve throughout the course as listeners give feedback. If you state that fact outright from the beginning, learners will be more open to change when it does happen. Emphasize the feedback-oriented nature of your online training, so that they know that the tweaks being made are a reflection of the audience’s own thoughts.
If your online trainings have been lacking in attendance, what tactics can you use to up the ante? It’s always wise to keep the communications about the event short and sweet. People are less inclined to read an invitation or reminder if it looks too long. It is also important to test out different dates and times for the reminders, and see what works best. Make sure you’re targeting your audiences properly towards those who will actually be interested, and packaging the invite well visually.
How do you encourage technologically-challenged populations to participate? Won’t they be intimidated? Actually, most people have a baseline understanding of computer technology. Online trainings are designed to be user friendly – it’s just a matter of helping people understand that it shouldn’t be too difficult. Link it back to the platforms that people feel more comfortable with – Facebook, YouTube, and other sites that people use in their everyday personal lives. If there is an element that is more difficult, tend towards over-communicating how to navigate the system so that people feel like they have more than enough support in the process.
What’s the difference between web overlays and popups? Web overlays are a great tool used by government agencies to improve online training attendance. Successful web overlays are visually appealing and closely related to the content of the page. When web overlays are directly relevant, government agencies have found that they are very successful. Pop ups, on the other hand, have a negative connotation and look like spam – and aren’t closely related to the content of the page.
Is it a good idea to have a chat room enabled? It’s generally a good idea to have a chat room available to encourage listener interaction and feedback. Always have a moderator for the chat, though, to communicate on questions, discussion points, and technological difficulties. Experiment with different options, and tailor your chat room experience to what you’ve found works best for your specific audience.
And finally, how do you deal when you get too many questions? Go through each of them quickly, providing brief but succinct answers to as many questions as possible. If you can’t get to some, follow up with one-to-one communication or blog posts on the topic.
Thanks to our fantastic hosts for the event! To listen to the entire training, click here.