We’ve heard from many of you that your employers are asking you to conduct trainings online during the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re used to in-person trainings, this can be overwhelming.
First, know that you’re not alone in this. So many teachers and artists and workers of all kinds are in the same struggle as they move to remote delivery with little time to prepare. There is a lot of stress going around, but there is also a lot of goodwill and empathy, and people will likely be more patient with you than you think.
We did an in-depth interview a couple years ago with the trainers at Wiley who run the Everything DiSC Workplace® certification training online. Here are some tips from that article as well as from others on our team:
- Know your audience. Knowing their level of knowledge and their goals will help you deliver real value. Offering content resources to students before the training can help everyone get to the same level of knowledge. Facilitators will find that having an Everything DiSC Team View report next to them, will help them to tailor their interactions with their students’ styles.
- Test everything out in advance. This is likely the first piece of advice you’ll read in most articles about online training, and there’s a reason for that. Spouses and friends make great guinea pigs. Encourage participants to test things on their end in advance, as well.
- Have a producer or assistant. If possible, have someone who can focus on the technology and answering chats from learners so you can just focus on facilitating.
- Set expectations. At the start, make people understand that they will get out of the training what they put into it. A passive learner will have a much different experience of the same training than a fully attentive one. You might want to ask people to review and print out their Everything DiSC profile and have it next to them during your training.
- Communicate goals and schedule. Make sure you are clear up top about the goals, agenda, and duration of the session. If you will be taking breaks (which are recommended for longer sessions), let people know up front.
- Show progress. As you move through the training, return often to the agenda so attendees have a good sense of how much has been covered and how much is left. It’s easier for learners to focus when they can see the end point.
- Invite frequent participation. This may mean asking questions that participants verbally respond to, using the poll function of many online training platforms, or asking people to “raise their hands” if they agree or disagree with something. The Wiley trainers ask for a response of some kind every three minutes or so. As they say, “We’re not doing webinars, we’re doing interactive education.”
- Break into small groups. Many online learning platforms allow for break-out groups. Having groups of 2-3 people discuss something and report back to the full group can be a great way to increase engagement.
- Mix up presenting and showing video. Online learners can tune out if they are listening to someone talk for too long, or if they are watching a long video. Alternate between presenting and video. Everything DiSC facilitation kits have many videos for facilitators to use. For example, you can show a video scenario of two different DiSC styles interacting, then ask people to discuss what they saw.
- Make room for social connection. Set up a virtual lobby or other social space, if possible. In the ten minutes before training starts, and during breaks, how can you encourage people to connect socially? Especially during this time when many of us are scared and physically isolated, your learners will likely appreciate a chance to share how they’re doing.
- Keep the learning going. After the training, what are some ways you can keep the information fresh in your learners’ minds? It might be a short, regular email with tips on working across DiSC styles, or adding a DiSC check-in question at the top of regular meetings.
Everything DiSC Workplace: Virtual Facilitation Activities, John Wiley & Sons
Tips for Successful Virtual Facilitation, John Wiley & Sons
What It Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting, Harvard Business Review
10 Tips For Giving Effective Virtual Presentations, Insights by Stanford Business
A Day in My Inbox Activity, discprofiles.com blog
Taking Everything DiSC certification online, discprofiles.com blog
Building trust on virtual or remote teams, discprofiles.com blog