Saturday, January 14, 2017

Tools of Engagement

A great site with information about 
instructional technologies 
and ways to enhance your skills

Discovered during a TLTG FridayLive webinar.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Ideas related to facilitating learning in a webinar environment

I have the wonderful opportunity of facilitating web workshops for Lexia Learning and in helping to facilitate learning for the TLT Group. Most recently The question I have been exploring of late is this. Why and how is facilitating learning different in a webinar environment versus in a face to face environment,  My first step in answering that question has been to read a book titled "Great Webinars: How to create interactive learning that is captivating, informative and fun"  by Cynthia Clay. I first read this book when I was working as a Faculty Development Specialist for EDMC.

Below are some of my notes and ideas from the book. This is not yet in any coherent order but what I will say is that reading this book has helped me generate ideas that I have already put into practice. In addition I continue to add to this list as I learn new things along the way.

The beginning
My colleague Lisa Casto shared these adult learning characteristics:
  • Adults who do not summarize new learning lose it within one hour! -Bob Garmston
  • The average adult forgets 25% within one hour and forgets 85%within one week. It takes 21 attempts at something new for an adult to establish a pattern and 100 times for something to become automatic. (A child – 10 attempts and 85 times to be routine.) - -Judy Ann-Krupp
  • Adults formulate their impression of a learning situation within the first 90 seconds. The number one turnoff is, “It’s time to begin.” - Bob Garmston
All of these factors are worth exploring in depth.  The last bullet point is of interest to me especially as it relates to a webinar environment. I am not sure when the clock starts. Is it when the participant enters the room? Is it when we are ready to start? Is it before or after we have participants sign? Maybe all of those factors contribute to the impression we are creating for the learner.  The question I am now wrestling with is this? What kind of impression do I want the learner to have? Here is my thinking so far:

  • The content will benefit me, will be directly relevant, the trainer is flexible and will adapt to meet my needs.
  • The trainer is knowledgeable and organized
  • The trainer is enthusiastic and friendly
  • I, the learner, anticipate being challenged to learn new things.
The next question is  what can I do to influence that 1st impression in a web workshop environment? For me, this is where paying attention to detail will be important and of course, there will be things that will be out of our control, but what are the things we can control and or influence. I think there are things that we can do in a webinar around these parameters.
  • Attention to the appearance of the room, 
  • the organization of the day,
  • the behavior of the presenter is imperative as participants enter the room.
What are the things we can control and/or influence as it relates to "attention to appearance of the room?"  Here is what I have come up with so far:
  • Be sure there is a screen to project the webinar image.
  • Work with the onsite person to maximize the webinar window.
  • Project a welcome message.
  • Ask site person to post links on the board and assist people in logging in.
  • Be sure each participant has a computer.
  • Be sure each participant has a handout.
  • Have my live image (the facilitator) visible when participants enter.
  • Understand the type of room: is it a library, a computer lab, a classroom, a cafeteria.
  • Enter the room 15 minutes ahead of time with on site person so audio and video are ready to go when participants enter.
The ending
I have been disappointed in how I have ended webinars so I have made it a point to improve the ending, No matter how the time and expectations may fluctuate, my goal is to reserve 2-5 minutes for some sort of ending. Ideally I want to have time for a short reflection on next steps, a review of the session goals, thank you and the survey.

One idea that I have not tried yet is to use the white board in WebEx to capture the next steps ideas
generated at the end.

My colleague Susie Evans, shared this tip on March 17th. She has been setting an alarm to go off with 15 minutes until the end.  She gauges where things are at and may then give participants some options on how to spend the remaining time. Considerations: Size of group, what transpired earlier,

I have decided to use the phrase "web workshop" versus webinar. I think it implies a more interactive learning environment. The word webinar more reflects a passive environment.

One thing I would like to do more of is to encourage participants to tell their stories.

I would like to improve the type of open ended questions I ask. Such as "Does anyone have an example of a time..."

Remember to breathe and to smile and enjoy the experience. Jane Pfau puts a picture of her daughter by the camera. Matt builds in praise and customization. Chris creates a conversation rather than a one sided presentation.

Lipstick and glasses help the audience focus on the presenter.

The beginning of a webinar involves some housekeeping activities and I plan to start calling it that. For example: getting participants logged into myLexia and TodaysMeet, being sure they have the handouts, talking about how we will communicate, introducing myself, talking about the survey at the end, etc. This is still a work in progress and does change given audience factors.

Pre webinar assignment
I do like the idea of providing a pre web workshop assignment but it would need to be very simple. I am thinking something like this for a launch: log into myLexia, find the training on demand videos, view one and answer one question.

I think we could do more related to a self assessment prior to a data coaching session. This would be fun to develop..

Getting to Know Participants
Getting to know participant names is something else I am working on. For a large group that is more challenging but for a small group, I have been using a bold marker and a large post it note and capturing names from the myLexia site and attaching the post it to the side of the computer screen. In cases of a large group I capture the name of a few key people only. Short video 
Getting to know participants

Ideas for handling slides with dense information
Instead of just presenting the slide related to research on at risk and usage, I have created a question
and asked the group what they think the result might be and then present the slide. The research data slide is very dense with information and asking the question first helps in focusing.

Slide Format
I have added an affective goal. So in addition to the overall goal of implementing Lexia with fidelity, I have added "Get excited about implementing Lexia." I have been thinking about adding a polling question where I ask the participants how excited are you to implement a Lexia. I am still working on this idea. Balancing the getting started tasks with audience technology comfort ability is an important considerate. The poll question could also be something very simple like asking yes or no about experience with Lexia.

You actually need more slides for a webinar and slides in general need more graphics and less words. With that in mind, I have modified the slide I had been using with the 5 keys to implementation fidelity and created 6 separate slides. I also refer participants to the training guide.

I want to develop a slide at the end where I summarize various post webinar support resources such as the Help desk, the training guide, training on demand videos, Twitter, lead is website, onsite experts.

Two of my webinar colleagues use a cursor that blinks when the control key is pressed. I plan to check it out.  Here is how you activate that function.
  • Go into your Computer Settings
  • Select Devices- then choose Mouse and Touchpad
  • Choose Additional Mouse Options
  • Go to the Pointer Options tab at the top
  • Click the box for "Show location of pointer when I press the CTRL key"
Check in frequently with participants and in different ways:

  • Korrie Skibinski shared this activity she called 1-2-3
    1 - 
    In the beginning she asks the group to share one word to describe how they are feeling and then addresses those feelings.  For example, if the group says they are feeling overwhelmed, she might say, Lexia has some featured that will help you easily see how yours students are doing.
    2 - After the experimentation with the student program she asks the group to share 2 words describing the student program/
    3 - At the end of the session she asks for 3 words describing what you have learned today or your next steps.
  • Kathy Broderick suggested asking specific questions versus always saying "Do you have any questions?"  For example, I am looking for 3 people to share what they like about Lexia.
  • Suzy Evans asks participants in a Data Coaching event to identify 5 students they would like to discover more about and then she takes them through the various reports. At the end she asks them to narrow this down to 3 kids and to identify what steps they plan to take.
There is a way in WebEx to make the chat box disappear for the participants, it's called "clear view mode." You activate it by hitting Crtl, Alt, Shift and H.  You bring it back by hitting escape.