7 Synchronous Training Strategies For 2017

Just using the webcam isn’t going to cut it this year. With more customized and flexible options available, synchronous training will need to highlight its advantages to stay in the marketplace. Learn the 7 synchronous training strategies you need to create the high engagement your clients deserve.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Virtual Classrooms Vs. Web Conferencing

Web conferencing is about assembling people in a room and exposing them to content. It’s about workers learning what they’re supposed to learn –when they’re told to learn– and all according to the way you want to teach. For a time, that was enough. But people don’t learn that way anymore. Here is how the advantages that virtual classrooms have over web conferencing address the Virtual Classrooms Vs. Web Conferencing dilemma.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Benefits And Limitations Of Web Conferencing For Synchronous Learning

A Learning Management System can strengthen web-based training with social tools that ensure the learning doesn't stop when the webinar is over. Here are the benefits (and some limitations) of web conferencing for synchronous learning.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

7 Reasons To Host An Online Training Event

Organizations around the globe, including countless Fortune 500 companies, are now offering online training events for your corporate learners. This can probably be attributed to the fact that it such an effective and engaging tool, particularly when it comes to dispersing knowledge to a distributed workforce. In this article, I'll share 7 convincing arguments for why your next training event should be online.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Synchronous Learning Advantages And Disadvantages In Corporate Training

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Synchronous Learning In Corporate Training

Synchronous Learning has changed everything in the corporate online training environment. Synchronous interaction eliminates the isolation that asynchronous online training involves, as it promotes collaboration and fosters a sense of community. Especially in the corporate world, where effective team work among distributed workforce is considered of especially high value, synchronous learning can help eLearning professionals develop significantly engaging online training courses. But are there any hidden drawbacks to this practice? In this article, I'll share 10 advantages and disadvantages of synchronous learning in order to help you decide whether you should implement it and integrate it into your corporate online training strategy.

5 Synchronous Learning Advantages

  1. It is cost effective.
    You do want the best for your employees, don’t you? Imagine having the chance to provide them with knowledge from the best experts from around the world for their training, without paying the accommodation and travel expenses that traditional corporate training involves. Your employees can take their online training courses at home or at their offices while connecting not only with the most reputable trainers, but also with their colleagues who live in different cities or even different countries without having to move. The only costs you need to have in mind are those related to the development of the eLearning course, as well as the trainer fees.
  2. It is convenient.
    Taking an online training course without having to be in the same location with the rest of your peers, regardless of their position on the world map, provides a great level of flexibility, especially for large organizations that have a globally distributed workforce. Apart from videoconferencing, your employees are given the opportunity to participate in online discussions from any location, as long as they have an internet connection. As physical barriers of distance are eliminated, your staff may use any device for their online training, from desktop computers to mobile phones and tablets.
  3. Provides immediate feedback.
    Real-time interaction means instant feedback, and instant feedback allows not only your employees to immediately get their questions answered, but also trainers and instructors to immediately recognize difficulties in understanding of the online course material. Rapid feedback has an incredibly important role in eLearning; it enhances knowledge retention by keeping your audience active in the learning process, as a quick response allows your audience to learn from their mistakes and to eliminate the chances of repeating them in the future.
  4. It is highly motivating.
    A synchronous learning environment enhances learning by increasing your corporate audience's motivation levels, as real-time interactions are much more engaging than the isolated environment of asynchronous learning. Using performance goals in real-time activities is a great way to inspire your employees to demonstrate and develop their skills and abilities while competing with each other in engaging team player eLearning games. Real-time activities provide ongoing motivation, as they encourage participation from all employees, even the most reticent ones.
  5. Fosters a sense of community.
    Social interaction and collaboration are the essence of synchronous learning, as your employees have the ability to communicate not only with their trainers and instructors, but also with each other, no matter where they are located. Organizing a series of online group activities encourages team work and cooperation, as online discussions allow your audience to develop their learning community in online forums or in social networks and exchange ideas, questions, and concerns about the eLearning course material.

5 Synchronous Learning Disadvantages

  1. It is strictly technology-based.
    This goes, of course, for online learning in general; however, the truth is there are several large organizations, the employees of which may still lack sufficient computer skills in order to get their training online. This means that these people might struggle to engage in a synchronous online training program. Lack of technical knowledge, poor computer skills, and inability to handle the various technologies involved in synchronous learning may tremendously frustrate and discourage online learners, so high dropout rates might be expected.
  2. Demands a high speed internet connection.
    It is true that synchronous learning requires a good bandwidth, and this could be an issue when online training for distributed workforce is involved. Trying to synchronize several different areas in the world via collaborative learning technologies can be challenging, but different bandwidth capabilities may create serious problems.
  3. Local time barriers.
    Synchronous learning eliminates barriers of distance, but what about barriers of time? Different time zones can create communication challenges, as a synchronous learning course requires from both employees and trainers to be online at the same time. Distributed workforce has conflicting work schedules, and sometimes not even technology is able to facilitate real-time interactions.
  4. Requires careful planning.
    Speaking of conflicting schedules, as a consequence of the above disadvantage comes the challenging planning process that synchronous learning requires. Coordination of schedules is absolutely necessary, but sometimes not possible. To ensure full participation to an asynchronous learning course you need to carefully plan your online meetings; however, different time zones can lead to very limited time frames, which naturally weaken both the training group’s identity and the virtual community’s interpersonal bonds.
  5. It is challenging for employees with poor social skills.
    Studying at one’s own pace creates a sense of isolation, but some of your employees might crave this exact sense. A synchronous learning experience demands active participation and collaboration, and some members of your workforce might not be as social, as open, or as communicative. This is not a wrong thing by default; after all, you don’t need all of your employees to have strong communication skills, only the ones that are expected to work closely with others or to connect with customers. However, in a synchronous learning environment the “quieter” employees may find it challenging to participate in online discussions or online group activities, and learner frustration is never welcome in a successful online training program.

Now that you know all the advantages and disadvantages of synchronous learning, you may be interested in knowing more about how you can implement it in combination with asynchronous learning techniques and instructor-led classes. Read the article Tips To Use Blended Learning In Corporate Training and learn about the various blended learning models and how to utilize them in your next blended learning course.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Top 7 Tips To Be A Successful Webinar Host

How To Be A Successful Webinar Host

Connecting with your audience through a webinar goes beyond the capabilities of social media, your website, or your professional blog. It breathes life into your eLearning content, it generates trust between you and your attendees, and it offers you the opportunity to create new connections and form prosperous professional relationships. Needless to say, being the host of your own webinar means that you have complete control over its flow and outcome.

But is this something you can do? Would you be able to deliver engaging eLearning content and interact with your audience at the same time? Could you stimulate their curiosity, inspire them, and maintain their interest up to the last minute? Of course you could. In this article, I will share 7 tips on how to be a successful webinar host so that you can be sure that you feel relaxed and highly professional while you deliver a flawless, entertaining, and stimulating webinar.

  1. Pay attention to the sound.
    Audio
    is undoubtedly the most important element of your webinar. To make sure that everything goes smoothly, keep in mind the following tips:

    1. Choose the right location. 
      Find a quiet or, even better, a sound proof room to record. Furthermore, consider not using a wireless internet connection; instead use a land line, to avoid technical problems.
    2. Have a technical assistant. 
      Speaking of technical problems, keep in mind that during your webinar you need to be focused on delivering your content. Have an assistant who knows how to handle technical issues, if they occur, in real time.
    3. Use the right microphone. 
      Don’t rely on the built-in microphones in your laptop or desktop computer; use external mics. If your webinar includes multiple speakers, equip yourself with a high quality speakerphone.
  2. Practice, practice, practice.
    Don’t underestimate the power of practicing multiple times before going live; practice makes perfect. To make sure that your voice overs are effective, you will need to make sure that you remove every “uhm” and “err” from your vocabulary, and practicing will help you gain more speaker confidence. Ask for feedback as often as possible. Have someone to listen to you and offer you their honest opinion. Ask them to share one thing you did well and one you can improve. Is your vocal pace ok? Are you speaking clearly? How about your tone? Is it friendly or too serious and flat? Ask them to listen again and again while timing you, to make sure that you don’t end up having to rush through your last slides. Furthermore, consider recording yourself and reviewing the footage to see what is working and what is not.
  3. Start with a story.
    What is the best way to introduce yourself? Certainly not reading a long bio or a slide that lists your agenda; these are ways to rather ensure that you lose your listeners’ interest. Narrate a story; sharing your story and explaining what brought you there will establish trust and develop an emotional connection between you and your audience. Just remember to keep your story brief, personalize it with a few suspense elements, and conclude with a strong ending. A great trick is to also smile while you’re telling your story, as it helps elevate your voice; your listeners will be able to feel your enthusiasm about the online deliverable.
  4. Grab and hold your audience’s attention.
    The average attention span of a typical audience is about 10 minutes. Webinar audiences are worse; you are competing for their attention with their computer screens, their always open social media accounts, and their email inboxes. This is why it is important to not only grab their attention, but also hold it. Limit the text in your slides and avoid overloading them with bullet points. Instead, get your audience involved with an interesting mix of interactive questions, mini challenges and tasks, rich images, compelling videos, and even music.
  5. Maintain a conversational tone.
    Remember that you are talking to real people, not to a machine. Personalize your webinar by:

    1. Imagining that you’re speaking to a friend or colleague. 
      If you have, say, 150 attendees listening, you are actually having 150 one-to-one conversations. This may sound overwhelming, so try to visualize a friendly face you are talking to.
    2. Breaking your presentation up by using Q&A. 
      Q&As are a great way to maintain interactivity. No one wants to listen to one person talking endlessly, no matter how smooth is their voice.
    3. Addressing your audience by using “you” in your sentences. 
      Don’t say “Today I’m going to be sharing…”; instead say “Today you will learn…”. Don’t ask “Does anyone out there have a question?”; instead ask “Would you want to ask me something?”. Utilizing the word “you” makes your audience feel more engaged.
    4. Using humor. 
      Don’t be afraid to throw in a funny comment; just be sure that your humor is politically correct and relevant.
  6. Use interesting real facts and examples to support your message.
    Hearing real life experiences and thinking of how to apply the same solutions to one’s life is one of the most effective ways to learn. Filling your webinars with multiple boring graphs and figures will not captivate your audience; using real world scenarios, case studies, and examples will. Real success stories, research, and beautiful infographics that back up information are great ways to support your message and help it get across. Explain why certain strategies work and others don’t using real facts and make sure that your audience will want to remember everything you are talking about.
  7. Remember that your voice is the connection.
    Of course you will need to make pauses while you’re talking. Use them, but keep them short; don’t allow more than 2 or 3 seconds of silence, otherwise your audience might think that they have lost their sound. And if you are to be silent, let your listeners know. For instance, when you want to give them some time to read something, tell them “I will now let you read a few lines about…”.

Webinars are here to stay. Follow these tips on how to be a successful webinar host and be sure that not only you have complete control over this indispensable eLearning tool, but also your audience keeps coming back for more.

Now that you know how to be a successful webinar host, you may be interested in learning more about eLearning narration. Read the article 7 eLearning Script Writing Tips To Perfect Your eLearning Course Narrative and discover some invaluable tips that can help you create an eLearning course narrative that is powerful and polished.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.