Get yourself ready:

  • Invest in a strong internet connection with the right service provider. This will pay off with setting a clear and undisturbed connection with your participants and ensure your presence at the event.

  • Set up clear audio channels with good mics.

  • Remove visual distractions in your frame – be aware how the video looks in your background.

  • Set up proper lighting around yourself to help participants stay focused on you.

  • Turn off all the notifications on your computer, close tabs, etc.

Prepare the engaging content:

  • Prepare your materials and have them at hand.

  • Break down your activities (i.e., group work exercises) into small chunks (5-10 minutes) and set the timer during the training session to keep the process focused.

  • Keep it short and to the point. Content should be simplified & made easy to understand.

  • Think visually and let others think alike – use Canva for creating attractive
    and engaging images, share photos or sketches visualizing your words.

  • Establish the location where videos, PDFs, and other necessary files are stored and can be shared with your participants.

Invite to simple activities:

  • Invite training participants to type in the provided chatbox before and during the meeting; introduce and communicate before the workshop starts.

  • Ask about emotions at the beginning and at the end of the session.

  • Ask question such as “What's your favorite dessert?” to break an on-arrival ice.

  • Encourage to hear everyone’s voice when you meet.

  • Encourage the use of webcams on online workshops to get instant feedback:
    - a “thumbs-up” from everyone
    - see heads nodding in agreement
    - hand raise to vote
    - see everyone’s smile 😊

  • Leverage more individual work followed by share-outs.

  • Ask participants to take a piece of paper, write their answer or comment and show it to the camera.

  • When an open question is asked, let each person nominate the next one to share out or introduce an imaginary ball thrown to one another, to ensure all participants’ involvement and facilitation of a playful atmosphere during the training.

  • Invite participants to the breakout rooms to discuss a given topic or solve a challenge.

Once in the rooms: be mindful of reminding about the topic of the discussion and when time is almost up.

  • Use icebreaker games for community interaction.

  • Reward your participants on completed tasks. Rewards could come in the form of appreciation, points, marks, etc. Keep it playful 😊 Gamification is key for adult learners.

  • Connect with learners on a personal level, as well as professionally.

Strengthen your facilitation:

  • Remote workshops rely on applications to make the interaction possible. Try out:
    - Jamboard
    - Mentimeter
    - Miro

  • Think which tool suits best your activity. To some extent they are all free to use.

  • Make yourself comfortable with one to be used during the training. Practice beforehand to identify possible fail points.

  • Onboard everyone with a warm-up exercise that requires participants to use the chosen tool.

  • Use chat multiple times.

Have a “Plan B” at hand:

  • Technology fails.

  • Have a co-host with you to give support in troubleshooting.

  • When one experiences issues in communication, ask to re-enter the virtual room with the same link.

  • Always have fallback communication channels and alternatives for planned activities.

Between the sessions:

  • Stay connected

  • Assign homework between the sessions - plan activities to be completed before and after workshops, e.g., have participants collect data or examples ahead of time.

Sources:

Authors: Joanna Wrońska Training Manager and Yaroslava Tytarenko Online Education and Trainers Community Manager