Free Lesson Plan: Training Your Staff on Converting Programs from In-person to Virtual

Here in the United States, our Spring of COVID-19 has turned into the Summer of COVID-19, and soon, we’ll have the Autumn of COVID-19. It doesn’t appear that we’ll be coming together to deliver in-person training or in-person conference sessions any time soon. So how can organizations best help their presenters convert their programs from in-person to virtual delivery?

Retrofitting your existing programs to try to do the same thing, just in a virtual environment is tempting. Keep in mind, however, that virtual delivery offers opportunities for which in-person instruction doesn’t allow… and there are some things you can do in-person that you just can’t do online. Below, you’ll find a lesson plan that we’ve created for a 90-minute session that you can use to help educate your staff, co-workers or clients on ways to think through the conversion from in-person to online instruction.

Retrofitting your existing programs to try to do the same thing, just in a virtual environment is tempting. Keep in mind, however, that virtual delivery offers opportunities for which in-person instruction doesn't allow. Click To Tweet Continue reading

I was a white racist. I think training made me a better person.

With a headline like that, I’m guessing my future career in politics may be over before it begins. I’m ok with that.

For a long time I felt that we lived in a nation that was realizing Dr. King’s dream, where people in the United States in the 2000s had every opportunity to be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin. I worked in Washington, DC, in a youth center helping students earn their GED credential so they could have bigger and better opportunities. My students seemed to enjoy my tough love approach and my sense of humor and perhaps most importantly, my presentation style – it worked for my students in a way that their traditional high schools didn’t.

There were times when my students would be talking about “white people” and I’d give them a look and they’d quickly say: “Oh, we don’t see you as ‘white’, Brian!”

I worked with neighborhood gang members and drug dealers and it really felt to me that with some hard work, a good support system and some determination, anyone in this country had an opportunity to make it as far as they themselves wanted to go. I saw it with my own eyes! My students were earning their GEDs and getting jobs!

Then, a little over 13 years ago, I was serving as the training director for the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association. Our organization worked closely with the foster care system – a system which touched families of color at an overwhelmingly disproportionate rate compared to the general demographic make-up of the United States. Our organization’s volunteers across the country were overwhelmingly white and middle aged.

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What kind of facilitator are you?

Designing effective training is one thing. Designing training that can be delivered effectively (by you or by someone else) is a bit of a different animal. It doesn’t matter whether the training is being delivered in-person or virtually, the person delivering the session is an enormous X Factor in whether the training will be effective or not.

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Keys to being an effective “producer” in your next virtual training

How many people does it take to put on a successful webinar? A facilitator is obviously necessary to present the content and facilitate activities. If you want to present information while using polls, having participants white board on the screen and getting people into small groups using the breakout rooms feature all while responding to private messages in chat – both about your content and about technical difficulties – then you’re going to want a “producer”.

Unlike in-person sessions, this role isn’t the same as “co-facilitator”. An effective producer can make the difference between top notch virtual training and a well-intentioned virtual train wreck.

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A Training Activity that Leads to Discussion Every Time

“G****mmit, I knew he was going to make this hard!” exclaimed one of the participants as we got underway.

Earlier this week I was asked to drop by a client’s meeting with a group of their trainers. I’ve worked with these trainers for several years and they have adopted the dialogue-based approach to training in which my company specializes. I wasn’t asked to help them work on their facilitation or delivery, I was asked to come in to help ensure everyone understands the “why” behind this dialogue-based approach. So I reached deep down into my bag of tricks to find a way to unearth any resistance or misunderstanding that may still exist among these trainers.

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Scary moments in Presentations

Happy Halloween. Fun scary days call for spooky stories…

In a dark room, a visage is backlit by a square projected light. Ghost-like and monochromatic the visage speaks, is he speaking directly you? Should you answer his indirect questions? No, the words are abstract and generic, almost as though he is reciting an old childhood adage he has recited over and over before he has brought them before you today. Continue reading

Successful Team Retreats

Last week our team gathered together for a team retreat. During this retreat, all of us left our families and work priorities to spend a few days together to grow as a team, work on Soapbox, and be intentional about the culture we are creating at Endurance Learning. We are all sensitive to the sacrifice it takes to attend these retreats and place the utmost priority on making them useful and successful. Continue reading