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How To Create Engaging Synchronous Online Training Courses
Synchronous online training is one of the most effective approaches because it provides employees with the motivation and structure they need to achieve their performance objectives. There is a caveat to this, however. In order for synchronous online training to be memorable and engaging for them, it must have just the right blend of interactivity, collaboration, and support. Here are a few tips to help eLearning professionals create synchronous online training courses that increase ROI, regardless of the industry.
- Discuss expectations in advance.
Before you dive into the online training course itself, you must first clarify expectations. Employees have to be aware of not only what they are expected to learn during the process, but also how much they are expected to participate. In asynchronous online training courses, they are expected to go at their own pace and create their own self-study schedule. Synchronous online training, on the other hand, requires active participation and undivided attention. Let them know in advance that their online training experience should be free of any distractions, such as Instant Messaging chat windows, email inboxes, and noisy offices. In addition, make them aware of how much participation is necessary to get the most of the session.
- Keep text short and simple to avoid information overload.
All eLearning experiences involve clear and concise content development. However, when you’re designing a synchronous online training course or event, this is even more essential. Text should be short, clear, and concise. Don’t include a word-for-word overview of yourpresentation or write out stories or real world examples that you will be conveying verbally. Only include text for main ideas that employees need to absorb, as this will help to distinguish them as key takeaways. If you are dealing with more in depth ideas or concepts, then integrate as many bullet points in order to avoid cognitive overload. In addition, you will want to reveal each piece of information as you address it in your presentation. For example, if you are talking about the steps involved in a customer return, list out each step of the process as you get to it rather than revealing everything at once. By doing this, employees can master each step one at a time instead of having to absorb it all up front.
- Ask questions that encourage employees to relate and reflect.
Keeping employees engaged and connected to the synchronous online training experience is vital and you can achieve this by periodically asking them questions that pique their interest and encourage them to relate to the subject matter and reflect upon how they can use it in on-the-job. Pose open-ended questions that make them think about the applications and benefits of what they are learning, so that they can see the true value of the online training experience. If the question requires an answer, they can simply type it in the chat window, comments section, or give it verbally.
- Follow the 5-minute rule.
Even when employees have been asked to remove all distractions from the room during the online training session, they are still sometimes found to disengage. Their minds may begin to wander or they might be tempted to reply to work emails. This is why it’s so important to follow the 5-minute rule. You must find a way to engage employees every 5 minutes in order to keep them actively participating in the online training session. You can do this by calling upon them directly to answer a question, encouraging them to offer their input, asking them to recap key ideas or even by providing a step by step walkthrough of a process.
- Encourage group collaboration by integrating team-based assignments.
This tip is particularly helpful if you are dealing with a large group of employees, as it allows them to break off into smaller groups where they can spark online discussions and benefit from one another’s skills and expertise. In some instances, employees may feel as though they don’t have the opportunity to speak up and be heard in synchronous online training sessions. However, by asking them to complete team-based assignments, such as engaging in a group scenario or creating a slideshow that covers a specific topic, the smaller group dynamic gives everyone a chance to share their thoughts and become active learners.
- Remember that the corporate trainer is in charge of setting the tone.
Corporate trainers serve as online facilitators throughout the synchronous online training event. They are the ones who are in charge of setting the mood. If they aren’t particularly excited about the subject matter, then they cannot expect from the employees to be either. As such, it’s essential that corporate trainers inspire and motivate employees by creating a synchronous online training atmosphere that is entertaining, fun and enlightening. They must be passionate about the topic and let that shine through in every online training activity and presentation.
Looking for more tips on how to develop an effective synchronous eLearning strategy for your organization? The article 8 Tips to Create a successful Synchronous eLearning Strategy offers additional invaluable tips you can use to achieve training goals without devoting an abundance of resources to on-site instructors or printed learning materials.
Last, but not least, if you’re interested in boosting online collaboration amongst your audience, read the article 6 Tips to use Google Hangouts for Synchronous Learning to learn more about how to take full advantage of Google Hangouts to enrich your synchronous online training experiences.