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I think it’s safe to say we have all been there. You know what I’m talking about. That virtual classroom session where you thought you’d learn new things, but all you gained was a sore jaw from yawning. This was not what you signed up for! Whether you are brand new to the virtual training world, or a seasoned pro, here are some tips to help create a powerful virtual learning experience and avoid boring classroom delivery that causes your learners to yawn or—worse yet—completely tune out!
Offer a Friendly Greeting
Regardless of your setting, a warm welcome goes a long way. If you are calling a store for customer service, or visiting a restaurant, you want to hear a friendly, “Hello, how are you today?” In the virtual classroom, it’s nice to be greeted and welcomed the same way, as if you are the only person in the world. Try this: “Hi there. Welcome to our session today. It’s nice to have you on board.” A friendly “hello” with a smile and a warm, welcoming tone makes it more inviting and encourages learners to stay a while.
Include an Introduction
Whether we are thinking back to 2019 with hugs or handshakes, or today with elbow bumps, an introduction is another step that goes a long way to ensuring your session is engaging. In the virtual classroom, it’s important to introduce yourself and your company, and to provide a little back story on both. If you are not using webcams, you can set aside five minutes to turn them on so clients can see you and connect with a virtual handshake. The introduction helps set the tone for your session.
Keep Learners Busy
You don’t want your learners tuning out so it’s best to avoid the dreaded PowerPoint presentation and hours of talking. Instead, engage your learners every 3-5 minutes. Ask an open-ended, overhead question and have the group respond verbally or by using the whiteboard and annotation tools, for example. Or, have learners share their ideas in chat or use the status icons to agree or disagree with a proposed solution, answer a question, or to laugh or cheer on other learners. Polls and breakout rooms also help keep learners busy and engaged. Using a variety of tools and methods is key! Make sure everyone is engaged with you throughout.
Offer a Friendly Send-off
Just like a warm welcome, a warm send-off is also an important piece of the virtual classroom experience. Make sure to thank everyone for joining and be sure to ask them if there are any follow-up questions or if they have any comments they would like to share. A positive and memorable lasting impression will give learners a reason to tell their colleagues about the experience, rave to their boss, bring it up to grandma in their weekly call and, most importantly, feel excited to attend their next course with you!
What tips do you have to keep your learners engaged?
To learn more about creating powerful, interactive, and engaging virtual learning experiences, have a look at our Maximizing Engagement in the Virtual Classroom workshop.