How to get live-online training that really works

Considering a live online training course provider?

Put your training provider on the spot. Just ask some not-so-tricky questions and all will be revealed.

  1. Can you run a short trial session? The answer should be "Yes, of course". This is a great way to iron out lots of possible problems in advance, so that they don't foul up the session itself. Ideally your provider should set up the trial with you or a colleague using the same software and equipment (laptop, camera, headset) as the delegates who will attend the session itself.
  2. How well do your tutors know the meetings software? It's worth pushing for specific assurances that they are well-rehearsed and know their way around every function they will deploy on the course. (We make all our tutors run at least two practice sessions. The first one is sometimes full of glitches - which is excellent because the more mistakes they make when it doesn't matter, the fewer they’ll make when it does. By the second practice session they always boss it completely).
  3. Do your tutors know how to present online? Good question, because the lazy ones will try to convince you there’s nothing different about working "on camera". It's very different: it needs good technique, it takes practise, and not everyone can do it.
  4. Have you stress-tested your online Joining Instructions? In other words, do they really work? Will people know where to click, where not to…
  5. How will you support the people who don't read the Joining Instructions? (Because you know that most people don’t read them thoroughly, and some don't read them at all). The answers you’re looking for might be:
    1. We'll publish a "Joining Time", not a start time. When everybody shows up at the last minute, we'll greet them as they appear, and check their audio/visual connection. If everything's working fine, we'll bung them in a breakout room for a chat with their colleagues until everyone has arrived.
    2. Our IT trouble-shooter will be there at the start. You need someone like Sally Austin. Sally is our fabulous IT Manager who liaises with client IT departments (i.e. speaks their language), welcomes everyone to our courses, and makes sure they're connected and ready to learn.
    3. Our IT trouble-shooter won’t disappear. People click on the wrong button, their audio gives up the ghost, their connection fails. Whenever there's a problem, you need someone like Sally to be all over it until it's sorted. Beware the provider who says their tutor can simultaneously spot an IT glitch, fix it quickly, and carry on leading the course. They're having you on.
  6. How will your online course be different from your normal face-to-face courses? This question will tease out what the provider is doing to ensure that online delivery will be effective.
    1. Printed materials (preferably). They free up screen space and give your people something else, and something tactile, to look at.
    2. Fewer materials. (always helpful if printing is not an option).
    3. Adjusted content. Most of our courses involve people in making decisions and then learning from discussion and feedback. We haven’t made any huge changes, but there have been lots and lots of minor adjustments to cater for not being "in the room".
    4. Shorter sessions. They work well, but everything takes a little longer online, so ask how the provider is planning to ensure there will be no rush and no late finishes.
    5. More breaks. Otherwise people will tune out or just endure the training, rather than engaging. Tutors who give precise instructions about re-start times have almost no late returners.
    6. Breakout rooms. People really like being left to get on with whatever you've asked them to do - with the option to call on the tutor for help.
    7. Polls. Everyone loves a poll. And they're brilliant for generating discussion, especially if you get split decision. Who voted "yes"? Why? Talk me through your thinking? Now for the "No" voters…

Get in touch if you're looking for support to deliver the PSC or online skills courses.

Image of an online meeting

Feedback from our live training

"I thought the online delivery worked really well. The use of polls and breakout rooms almost made the session more interactive than the normal face-to-face sessions. I really enjoyed the course."

"IT coped very well. As good as face-to-face teaching. Use of polls a good addition. Online delivery definitely a serious option to be used in future."

"Honestly can't believe how well done this course was considering the nature of the content (advocacy), it ran very smoothly and Olivia (tutor) was fantastic."

"My scepticism about attending the whole three-day course online quickly disappeared. I thought Zoom worked really well with hardly any technical issues and I still felt that we got exposure to advocacy and the skills that are demanded. I'd like to thank the Kinch Robinson team for always making the training really fun and engaging!"

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Posted by News Desk