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I’ve produced and facilitated virtual training for many clients on different platforms covering all types of content. And the one thing I’ve found to have the most impact on my success, as well as my participants’ success, is an outstanding virtual classroom (VC) producer.
If you’re a virtual classroom producer, here are the four key competencies I believe will help you produce a seamless experience for your facilitator and your participants!
Create a Welcoming Environment
Feeling welcome starts the moment your clients log in. You are typically the first person to interact with the attendees so be sure to convey enthusiasm, be energetic, and demonstrate confidence as you greet each learner. This sets the tone for the entire session and allows learners to settle in, feel comfortable, and get ready to learn and interact. Use this as an opportunity to build rapport and to informally introduce the platform tools. For example, ask participants to respond to a warm-up question in the chat, through a poll, using the annotation tools on the whiteboard, or by weighing in using the status icons.
VC producers that are flexible throughout the session make a facilitator’s job so much easier! There are many variables and unexpected situations in the virtual classroom, not to mention the content itself. It’s best to remain calm and be ready to move to “plan B” when needed. Part of your role as producer is to back up your facilitator. You’ll need to track time, have some workarounds in your “back pocket,” and be able to go with the flow when your facilitator decides to change things up a bit based on the experience and/or participation of the learners.
Possess Technical Agility
Technical expertise is what VC producers are most well-known for. I certainly don’t want to facilitate any sessions without a skilled technical producer! Know your platform well enough to identify challenges and be able to quickly address them. Work with your facilitator to create a seamless partnership. You’ll want to actively communicate with the facilitator via a pre-determined backchannel so you can be proactive if issues arise.
A VC producer acts as an advocate for the facilitator, but also for the participants. Listen actively to the learners’ verbal responses, monitor their chat responses, and provide technical instructions as needed. In partnership with the facilitator, provide feedback through the chat, annotation tools, and status icons to encourage participants to interact and engage.
Whether you’re a seasoned virtual classroom producer or just getting started, work on these four key competencies to have a huge impact on the success of your organization’s online training!
If you’re interested in becoming a dynamic, adaptable, and prepared virtual classroom producer, come learn and practice these skills in an upcoming Virtual Classroom Producer workshop.