Whether you are leading a team meeting, sales/service demonstration, webinar or an online course, creating an environment that draws learners requires specific skills and actions. Successful facilitation goes far beyond the logistics of checking equipment and scheduling practice sessions. While this behind-the-scenes work and coordination during the program is important for success, it takes more to truly engage the audience.
To improve audience engagement, focus on all the opportunities available to interact with the audience.
Plan an engaging welcome session
How an eLearning program begins sets the tone for the level of engagement you can expect throughout the program. Programs that begin with a dry introduction and housekeeping can’t expect much more than that level of engagement from the audience. Get your program off to a great start by developing and planning for a lively welcome session. Here are few ideas:
- Use this time to share information or valuable resources, such as links to helpful content.
- Showcase a case study or trending news about the industry.
- Ask for the company name of registrants during the registration process and share good news or information about a few of your learners and their companies.
- Recruit a team of engagers to respond during the welcome session. People like to join active discussions.
- Create a hashtag for your learning program and begin live tweets before the program begins. Ask for your learners twitter IDs and engage them in the program. Create an incentive or giveaway for those who help share about the program in advance. This strategy will work with other social media channels too.
Employ the right presenter/instructor
Who was your favorite teacher in school? More than likely someone immediately comes to mind and they were probably the favorite of several students. For most of us, there is a standout teacher who connected with their students and built a rapport that went beyond instruction. This is the right presenter for eLearning. It’s someone with the natural gift of speaking, who is a conversationalist and has the ability to make any topic interesting. The right presenter backs up the presentation with a lifetime of experience and real world working knowledge of the topic. They are influential in the industry, well known and connected.
Teach/present using interactive content
Few instructional designers have experience with gamification but winning awards, achieving levels, and scoring points is a viable incentive for learners and can help increase engagement. Interaction with audio, video, and interactivity adds life to the learning experience. When creating your eLearning program, especially for longer course-based programs, identify and implement ways to make the content interactive.
These tips are just the beginning. If you present online and are interested in learning facilitation skills to conduct meaningful, engaging, and productive programs, join the free two-part webinar Facilitation Skills: Training with Sue Brundege. The series includes two one-hour webinars designed to help you improve your skills and achieve better results.
WATCH THE ARCHIVE OF THIS WEBINAR SERIES HERE.