Virtual Classroom: Low Price, High Value, Personal Experience – by Bill Brandon


Over the past several decades, online conferencing software (or web conferencing or online meeting software) has grown in capacity and attributes. Organizations that want to conserve money by hosting meetings, providing presentations, supporting collaboration between employees and experts, or providing training and learning as occasions, are making more use of these programs.
While the virtual collaboration tools become more widely used, users themselves are often contested by lack of familiarity with all the new capacities or by a belief that the tools can break their budget. I interviewed a speaker Cindy Huggett designer, and facilitator who specializes in collaboration technologies and training. She helps organizations and coaching professionals move to the virtual classroom. Below are some of her tips.
BB: what sorts of subjects are best suited for addressing in online events?
CH: I think all subjects are fine. And for that to be a cop out type of response, I really don’t mean, however, I believe, and in my experience, you can do anything that you could do in person. You have to be intentional, sometimes, about it. For example, some people will say that if you’re going to construct a relationship, if you’re going to try to construct a rapport with somebody, you want that in-person experience. I find you could build rapport with people in online events — if you make a point to get acquainted with one another and to discover common ground in case you’re intentional about it, and if you turn in your webcam. Nowadays, the technologies that we have to be taking out a number of those barriers we used to see in events that are online. So, I think all types of topics could be carried out in an event.
Most of the people that take part in events that are online now are used enough to the technology, which it is no problem.
For the most part, as a blanket statement, there remain pockets of people who struggle with technology and technologies and then it’s about the facilitator, with the event coordinator that is online, to assist them. Most programs are so easy that it is one click and you enter. And when we’ve got somebody who is new, who doesn’t use devices (and think about the study –the last thing I saw close to 80% of Americans and similar around the planet have a phone or a wise device) –if they are unfamiliar with how to link, the way to click and join, then let us teach them. Let us make it simple for them. So, yes, there are pockets that stay but more and more it is becoming easier, and most are comfortable with logging into a website, saying hello, turning on their webcam…
BB: Are there topics that are hard for delivery?
CH: I believe there is a response. We have got to divide them into different categories, when we think about events that were online. We have got online events which are a presentation–one person talking to a massive audience. Then we’ve got two colleagues who are meeting, or the events that might be a one-time meeting between a supervisor and employee, or a coach and a project supervisor, or a small group, a small distant group. Then we’ve got the training courses, which are skill-based or learning-outcome-based. So we have got these different types of occasions. A few people might believe, well, having a coaching conversation with a worker is difficult, obtaining a conversation that needs compassion is difficult, if we think about something that’s hard to deliver. But with online tools we could turn on these webcams and have a conversation. It requires the awkwardness or the problem from it. And there are some environments where webcams are forbidden as a result of business regulations, or due to bandwidth difficulties or having a connection that is choppy. I would bet if those can be defeated by us, then I don’t see much.
For one quick example: I used to telephone coaching courses that we did at the same classroom where everyone was together “the traditional class.” I used to call them “face-to-face courses” or F2F was that the acronym. I call them “in-person courses” because online we are turning on these webcams so we are still face, but at the online environment.
BB: What are some of the crucial features in tools for collaboration?
CH question. They all have a few things in common, although you might discover that low-cost tools or platforms have various sets of attributes.
Number one, the capability to have video conferencing. We look at a great deal of tools that are free or don’t cost much: the video conferencing. So I’m considering Google Hangouts, I’m thinking just some of those examples, about Slack movie calls.
Number 2, chatting and having a bigger audience, or when we want to capture some sort of text, having that capability to a message or chat.
Number three, the screen sharing. I’m showing you slides or we are collaborating on something to do screen sharing if I want to reveal a document.
BB: How can a facilitator make use of the advanced features to earn occasions that are online more interactive?
CH: A few of the features that are advanced. And then the capability. In screen sharing, in case you and I want to collaborate, then we might have shared tools. But with a bigger group we might want to annotate or draw on a whiteboard or possess that drawing capacity that is shared. If you may, so I’d place annotating and polling in that sort of second grade.
And finally there are the features that are great for collaborating. Some of those lower-cost tools have a capacity or a breakout. If a stage has that skill and you have a group or a coaching class, then finding a platform which has those attributes is worth the hunt.
Cindy Huggett will present “Creating Highly Interactive Online Events on a Low-Cost Budget”, as part of The eLearning Guild’s L&D on a Shoestring Online Conference April 22-23, 2020.
In Cindy’s session, you will learn:
Which online meeting tools are accessible for collaboration
How to use online meeting tools in creative ways for interactivity
Easy ways to engage audiences that are distant using tools.
You’ll get a fresh perspective on interactive online events. Registration is available here!


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