by Jessica Delaney, Principal, Engagement + Strategic Communications
In mid-June I delivered my first virtual IAP2 Planning course. It wasn’t the same as in-person, but different is good too. Here are a few things that I heard from participants that might be insightful for anyone considering online training:
- Scheduling: We offer two formats – express (over five days) and extended (over eight days) and we did this based on feedback from our past and future participants. The key message here is make it work for you. Plan ahead, know what you need in order to focus and make a plan to be present.
- Learning Styles: Just because we are online doesn’t mean that our learning styles change. In fact, we can often lean into our learning styles. So, if you are a tactile learner make sure you have something to doodle, knit, squeeze or fidget with. If you are auditory then make sure the sound is good and maybe consider taking video breaks. For the visual learner make sure the screen set up works for you and that you have hard copy materials handy to make notes.
- Mashup: Participants enjoyed the online experience, but they also enjoyed having a hard copy manual. With enough time, Delaney is committed to shipping manuals to participants ahead of time. We don’t page flip, but we do make references to the manual and participants told us they loved having a hard copy. Register at least two weeks ahead of time and we will ship you a manual and other participant goodies.
- Morning Coffee: Our online classrooms open 15 minutes before “class” and this allows people to check their technology, but also have a cup of virtual tea or coffee together. We always stay after class too to answer in-depth questions, or just connect about topics that are engaging and close to home.
- Even Playing Field for technology: Delaney always facilitates a one-hour technology orientation before the course. We do this so that everyone is starting on Day 1 with a solid understanding of how the technology works, what tools we will use and we can troubleshoot potential issues before the course starts. We also have a technology host and their role is to support participants in ensuring they have what they need to fully participate.
What we heard after our first course from participants:
- “I know we weren’t together, but it felt like we were.”
- “I got to learn, but also test and learn about technology at the same time.”
- “Money well spent, learning that was enjoyable and relevant!”
- “I really enjoyed the virtual iap2 Planning module. It gave me the opportunity to look at my work and how to really reach people, while also exploring how to be more inclusive in order to conduct better engagements.”
If you are thinking about taking online training and want to register or have questions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our next course is July 20 and is offered as an express virtual academy: Monday to Thursday; two, two hour sessions daily.
We hope to see you there.