Can there be anything just as effective as teaching or training in person? After 20 years of e-Learning history, we’re sure: although its methods and tools are pretty different, it can be equally inspiring. Below are 10 suggestions you can implement before, during, and after your next training to guarantee success as an online trainer.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
- Use registration to gauge interest and tailor content
When students sign up for your corporate learning session, invite them to send information about their professional passions, current role, and aspirations. Use their feedback to tailor interactive activities and course content around topics related to these interests. Most e-Learning platforms allow you to customize your registration form so you can add simple open-ended or multiple-choice questions to the signup process automatically.
- Invite a guest speaker or host a panel
Even if your training session is a one-off event, having a guest speaker or panel discussion can transform the learning experience. When designing your course, think about the types of panelists or speakers your students might identify with and begin reaching out. Because mobile learning platforms allow speakers to connect via webcam from anywhere in the world, you are not limited by geography or travel-related time restraints.
- Practice makes perfect
Before your course, practice teaching your class in totality. Use your e-Learning tool’s rehearsal features to experience what it is like to present your material in front of a computer. Prepare yourself to engage with your unseen audience. Rehearse how to sit in front of your webcam so you are comfortable and look professional. Practicing can help reduce the awkwardness of teaching online (especially if you are just starting out as an online trainer) and can boost confidence in your presentation skills.
DURING YOUR CLASS
- Grab their attention
Keep your presentation fresh. Use video, music, current events and interactive material to instantly grab your audience’s attention and keep them focused on your course. Corporate learning can sometimes feel stale, so add relevant and relatable content that your e-Learners will enjoy. If you are having trouble finding ways to make your presentation more engaging, use a PowerPoint converter to add video and interactive content to your existing, more traditional, slide decks.
- Remember your course is not an online meeting
Whether your organization frequently hosts digital meetings or not, you do not want your students to feel like they are attending an online lecture or sales presentation. Create a schedule for your course that will add structure to your mobile learning experience and keep your audience on track. Present learning objectives for each component and call attention to each task completed before moving on to the next topic. Use quizzes, assignments, and group or audience goals to drive focus and reiterate key points so that your most important components do not get lost in the information clutter.
- Put your e-Learners first
Mobile learning enables students to learn anywhere, anytime, from any device. They can consume course content and feedback in ways that mirror their professional lives, which makes the learning process more seamless. Receiving class updates via text or emails may feel more natural to adult learners than waiting for their instructor to hand back paper assignments. Try to think about what your students’ daily lives look like and mirror your coaching and feedback style around their needs. That is not to say that e-Learning eliminates the need for face-to-face communication and traditional teaching methods. Instead, simply try to update these important elements in a fresh and modern way, such as hosting digital office hours via webcam.
- Embrace the second screen
Although multitasking can detract from your students’ mobile learning experience, it’s impossible to completely eliminate the “second screen” – whether that’s in the form of a cell phone, tablet, or background browser windows – when teaching online. In addition to any motivational techniques you use to keep e-Learners focused, periodically embrace the second screen to alleviate students’ temptation to tune out. Ask students to text each other answers to a group question, look something up on their tablet, or complete a team exercise online to acknowledge this space in a purposeful way.
AFTER YOUR NEXT CLASS
- Provide feedback
Do not wait too long after your class to provide assignment results or input about the class. Professionals are used to receiving immediate feedback, so mirroring this feedback loop in the corporate learning environment is important.
- Share recordings from the class
Most mobile learning platforms let you record, store, and share your sessions. Send relevant recordings to students so they can revisit important information. This is especially beneficial for e-Learners who need additional time to absorb information or who are tactile and visual leaners that could benefit from viewing and listening to your session again.
- Follow up
Corporate learning is a lifelong experience. Once your session is complete, feel free to foster a professional relationship with students who showed interest in your material and send a follow up note to the whole class. Use this opportunity to ask for feedback on your teaching style and course material, present useful networking opportunities to the class, and ask for recommendations. Connecting your students with each other also adds additional value to your course by giving them a built-in pool of resources and ideas to help build their professional career.
Did we forget anything? Let us know, or share your own online training experiences in the comments below!