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Online training: how can you keep people virtually engaged and how does interaction work?

In the past few months, we have talked to a lot of trainers. Our central question: How can you keep people virtually engaged and how does interaction work during online training sessions? We’ll summarize the highlights of these conversations in this blog post.

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Photo by Marten Newhall on Unsplash
The right balance

If you organize training sessions using a tool such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, you need to hold participants’ attention. In a virtual setting, they get more easily distracted than in a physical training room. So, it’s important to keep them on their toes. Our conversations with trainers pointed out that Bob Pike’s 90-20-8 rule usually works well: during a session that lasts 90 minutes at the most, you should change the pace every 20 minutes and involve the participant every 8 minutes.

Several parties use a similar structure. During the training courses we held in the past year, for example, we did the following: we made sure a training course lasted 2 hours at the most, took a clear break, discussed the topics in 10-minute ‘chunks,’ and involved participants more thoroughly in the content. Moreover, they were required to turn on their cameras.

In any event, it’s important that you don’t just convey information. According to trainers, interaction is paramount during online training sessions. Even if you present your message in the most inspiring way, you should actively encourage people to participate. If you ask them to share their views or opinions, you will spark their interest and help them reflect on things.


The poll problem

You can ask participants questions in a variety of ways. Polls are often used for this purpose. Our conversations with trainers pointed out that in some cases, polls are very effective: they create interaction, and participants feel that they are involved in the training.

But there’s another side to the coin. Some trainers find that the traditional poll distracts from the training and don’t really see its added value for participants. They prefer a live version of the poll. For example, they have participants wave their arms if they agree with a question. Or, they ask participants to share their views by getting up or sitting down. This way, trainers ensure people stay involved in the training and are willing to turn on their cameras!


Would you like to exchange ideas with other trainers who use LearningStone? Join our roundtable discussions!



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