A meaningful, engaging, and successful virtual classroom (VC) experience doesn’t happen by accident. A successful VC program requires careful planning, as well as a facilitator that is set up for success.
Here are five ways to set your virtual classroom facilitators up for success:
- The VC program must be well designed, following both instructional design and adult learning principles. The workshop should focus on high priority content and include meaningful application (practice) exercises and several opportunities for feedback.
- The VC platform should have a variety of features and tools that allow the facilitator to provide a variety of activities and maximize learner engagement. For example, group and private chat, status icons, whiteboard with annotation tools, and breakout rooms.
- The VC facilitator should be given adequate preparation time to learn the platform, course content and flow, and all activities. Time should be given to the facilitator and producer to run through the workshop several times in a practice environment.
- The VC facilitator requires a detailed lesson plan that includes the “need to know” content, intended presentation methods, visuals, examples, and questions to ask. It should also include each exercise, its expected outcome, and an accurate estimate of timing. The lesson plan should provide a clear road map of each session where little is left to chance.
- The VC technical producer is a critical part of the facilitation team and supports learners with connection and technical issues as they arise during the session. The producer also manages the technical side of the platform including the use of polls and breakout rooms. The producer allows the facilitator to focus on the learners and their virtual classroom experience.
As you can see, the overall success of the virtual classroom depends on several factors. When all these elements come together, the effectiveness of the VC experience is maximized, and the benefits of the virtual learning environment are fully achieved. What are your secrets to virtual classroom success?