The COVID-19 crisis has closed schools indefinitely. When you think about the scale, scope, and implications of that it is mind-boggling. Millions of students are now at home with their routines, social networks, and classrooms/campuses ripped away from them. Millions of parents are trying to juggle work and creating a learning routine for children. Add to that all the organizations that host workshops and learning events for employees and the scale is enormous.
How to Bring Workshops and Courses Online
A couple of weeks ago, I hosted a series of open office hours for anyone tasked with transitioning their work to an online environment and I spoke with professors and leaders looking to move courses online. Cecil DeJoux was one of the people I caught up with – after a long hiatus. He summarized our conversation here and included some of my basic recommendations:
- Invest time and thought into how you welcome people into the new space and how they make introductions to each other if they don’t know each other already.
- Encourage people to use video – yes, I hated it in the beginning but it really is better.
- Don’t assume engagement and facilitation – plan for it. Nancy White et al have created a fabulous Online Facilitators Toolkit.
- Use technology to be creative – use sub-groups, prompt people to record their comments and post instead of writing them, which adds intonation and variety for people tired of writing and reading text online, and find ways to incorporate graphics and video.
How to Bring Workshops and Courses Online Resources
I have run a number of Community Business Case Courses online and we run our Community Management Fundamentals Course as a cohort course in TheCR Network. In both cases, the priority is on mixing engagement channels, discussions, and content in a way that holds people’s attention builds relationships and keeps participants accountable. We use a mix of the following:
- Short pre-recorded videos – we keep these between 10-15 minutes in length.
- Worksheets that reinforce lessons are done individually, and then uploaded to a shared location where participants/students can discuss, ask questions, and provide each other feedback. This shared space works for adult learners but may not for younger learners.
- Class discussions via video so participants can reflect on what they are learning, talk synchronously about implications, ask questions, and hear how others are applying concepts.
- Online questions of the week that prompt participants to reflect on something related to the coursework and interact with each other.
- Participant presentations via a video call with live discussion and questions from other participants and the instructor.
Is Online Learning Effective?
By mixing up the delivery of learning and prompting deeper thinking and interaction, online learning can be as effective as offline learning – but it looks quite different and is more asynchronous. The positives are that online learning is self-documenting, in that it is all recorded and can be reviewed as many times as needed – and at the right points – for each student, which creates individual learning paths and doesn’t waste precious class time repeating information.
Learn How to Bring Your Workshops And Courses Online
Interested in hearing more? On Friday for Engagement That Scales, C.C. Chapman, who is on the faculty at Wheaton College and whose expertise is digital content, will be joining me to talk about how he is adapting to the online environment – and helping others to do so.
Join us, Friday, April 3rd and 1 pm ET. RSVP here.