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“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” --– Benjamin Franklin.   I’ve been in corporate training for the last 20 years and my most difficult task (to date) has been finding techniques to “involve” learners so they can effectively apply what they learned in class to their job. 

Luckily, I’ve been able to establish some best practices for classroom training.  My favorite technique is my ‘jeopardy-style’ method.  During class, I immediately assign learners to random teams.  Throughout the session, I take a break and have my learners compete in a similar fashion to the “This is Jeopardy!” gameshow.  Each team would select a category and answer questions related to concepts that I just finished teaching ….sometimes all for the sake of winning a $20 gift card to Starbucks (whatever it takes!)

Hello, COVID!  Since March, my jeopardy games were tossed out the window and my $20 Starbucks gift cards that I normally expensed turned to a $100 Jabra Evolve headphone, which has been put to good use for the last seven months.  A $100 headphone seems steep but I know I will get a positive ROI on this expense as I am betting that seven months of virtual training sessions will extend to a longer period of time.

The million dollar question and the heart of my blog is then, “what are best practices to involve learners in virtual training sessions?”  This was a trial-and-error process for me but after viewing countless TED talks on learning, blogging with other trainers, and conducting research, I have learned a few that I can share with you:

  • Check the pulse of your audience more frequently and efficiently.   Instead of asking, “Any questions?” and get silence as your answer, why not take a break from teaching and involve your leaners to respond to a set of questions. There are so many tools you can use but my favorite is Kahoot (thanks to my daughter’s suggestion).  Caveat- your learner must have a mobile device that can send text messages and approve the use of their mobile device. This technique works well when asking a multiple-choice or a true/false type of question and it keeps responses anonymous—a feature that may well be the reason my daughter loves using it at her schoolJ .  Let’s take a break and do a few now, shall we?        
  1. True or False: IQ integrates with Poliscribe to generate natural language text for your letters.
  2. Which of these activities below can an intern do in IQ?

    A. Create a new contact record
    B. Create a new affilation code
    C. Create a new issue code
    D. All of the above  

Scroll to the end of the blog to view your answers.

  • Assign learners into small teams (3-5) and use breakout rooms.  Why small teams?  Because there will always be one person who will try to stay quiet and invisible in large group discussions (aka me in college), thus, a smaller group encourages everyone to participate. In my classroom’s ‘jeopardy’ sessions, I would simply have the team find a space or corner in the class to collaborate.  This concept holds true for virtual breakout rooms.  Having another online moderator with you to keep track of these breakout rooms would be ideal. 
  • Have the students show you what they learned.  This goes hand-in-hand with the breakout rooms.  Let’s say you are teaching the concepts of (1) logging a constituent opinion in IQ and (2) sending a newsletter to a new contact.  Divide the audience into 2 groups and send the group into breakout rooms. One group will use the breakout room to discuss how to log an opinion and the other group to discuss how to send a newsletter.  At the end, allow a team rep to present the steps to the entire class.  The team that wins might even receive a virtual $20 gift card to Starbucks. 

Answers: True/ A) Create a new contact record

I hope these techniques help you in your next virtual training session.