Uh oh, you’re designing a virtual course and you hit a snag. There’s no way to fit all the content in the time allotted. Well, no need to fret. If there are multiple sessions for the course, you can assign intersession work.
But wait, that sounds a lot like homework! If you’re like me, the word alone conjures up some painful memories. I can recall getting home from school, only to be locked in my room with hours of homework. No wonder it gets a bad rap.
Some will argue, “You can’t expect participation in class AND assign homework.” Have you heard the expression, “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too?” It’s difficult enough to keep our learners engaged in the classroom and now we want to assign work outside of class? Well, I say, “It’s a piece of cake if done correctly.” So how do we make it engaging and enjoyable for our learners?
Follow these tips to create dynamic intersession work:
1. Be sure to give clear estimates for the time required to complete the work before learners attend the session. This way they, and their supervisors, will be aware of the total time commitment for the course. Also, remember that intersession work is meant to be done during the workday, not after hours.
2. Limit the intersession work to a maximum of 90 minutes per day. Any more than that and you run the risk of it not getting done. Let’s be mindful of how much we’re asking our learners to do.
3. Have a contingency plan if learners don’t complete the intersession work. For example, if you’re reviewing the content, allow learners to look in their manual at the appropriate pages.
4. Give learners a purpose when reviewing the content from the intersession work. For example, if they were asked to watch a video or complete a reading assignment, debrief the work in the next session before applying the content.
5. Make the intersession work applicable to each learner’s job. Just as learners are more likely to be engaged in online sessions if they are tailored to their experience and needs, the same holds true for intersession work. This will make the assignment more meaningful and cognitively engaging.
6. Write a blog and post it to the company intranet. Add a question at the end of the blog to prompt learners to think about the content. Have them respond in the comments section.
With these tips, your intersession work will be a hit! For even more ideas, check out our Maximizing Engagement in the Virtual Classroom workshop. You’ll learn how to optimize engagement from the start, involve participants when presenting content, and close each session on a high note, just to name a few.
What do you do to ensure your intersession work is a success? Let us know in the comments below. Well, look at that. Your response is an example of dynamic intersession work. Now, that’s what I call the icing on the cake!