If you are a facilitator delivering corporate learning you’ll know how challenging it can be to switch from a live to a virtual format.
You likely refactored your curriculum to ensure effectiveness when delivering online. Changing activities, building in more engagement, cleaning up slides and maybe even incorporating new digital tools that were not available for live in person classes.
And then there’s the adaptation of your delivery style. The way you connect with participants, monitor their interest, make sure no one is having problems that are not being addressed — you know, all that ‘reading the room’ stuff that comes naturally when delivering live.
Then, on top of it all, you were expected to learn how to use a delivery platform, and not just use it, but support it for learners as well.
But technical support for a virtual classroom is much different than a live classroom. In a live scenario you might have to worry about a projector not working, or internet availability if showing a video. Simple things to narrow down and get support with. But with virtual learning, that support multiplies, not only in complexity of potential issues, but also in the sheer number of potential failure points. With live training, you have one ‘site’ to support – but in a virtual environment each student is a ‘site’ with potential for technical issues that need to be supported.
That’s why many organizations have adopted the use of virtual producers, or as we call them at Learngistics, virtual classroom producers. VCP ‘s help facilitators by taking away the pain and stress of supporting all the learners.
Here are 20+ ways that virtual producers can support corporate learning.
BEFORE THE LEARNING SESSION STARTS
Long before the learning starts, virtual producers get to work in order to make sure things run smoothly, here are some of the things they start with.
Set up the platform options – Platforms are constantly evolving, offering a multitude of settings that allow for the customization of the virtual learning environment. Virtual producers are aware of those settings, and how they affect the virtual classroom. They can recommend the ideal settings for your online sessions.
Dry runs with facilitators — Virtual Classroom Producers can run through a learning session with the facilitator to look for areas of improvement in terms of using the technology. They will also work with the facilitator to ensure their audio and visual presence is at a professional level.
Upload decks and other assets (Webex Training) — so platforms allow for preloading of decks and multimedia materials to help improve the streaming of these materials. Virtual producers can upload these materials.
Set up polls — Polling is one of the easiest ways to engage with learners. Some platforms allow for polls to be created in advance, others allow for on the fly creation, or both. The virtual producer will work with the facilitator to create the appropriate polls for their session.
Preconfigure breakout rooms — setting up breakout rooms in advance helps with the flow when moving into group work
Set participant privileges — who can chat with who? Can participants unmute themselves, are there cameras automatically off, can they record, can they share files. All things a virtual producer can help with.
AT THE BEGINNING OF THE LEARNING SESSION
Virtual producers are usually the first to the online session. They work hard to make sure the facilitator and students are connected and ready to go. Some of the work they do to make that happen are:
Open the Meeting Room Early — By opening the meeting early it allows participants who want to get on and test their equipment to get started.
Greet attendees — There is nothing worse than that awkward silence when connecting to a meeting or event. Virtual producers can greet attendees who come on early, getting them engaged right from the start and helping with any technical issues they might be having.
Introduce Speakers/Facilitators — Oftentimes virtual classroom producers will introduce to the speaker and then bring them on stage to take over.
Explain how to use the platform to participants — a sometimes forgotten, but very important step in running a virtual training session is explaining to learners how the platform will be used, and how different functionalities are accessed on the platform.
DURING THE LEARNING SESSION
“Anytime a facilitator moves from teaching to pushing buttons their flow is interrupted, and the learner experience suffers. Virtual producers help make life easier for facilitators and learners alike by providing services during the program.“Louis Trahan, President, Learngistics
Basic technical support — don’t put tech support on the backs of your facilitators, they have enough to deal with. Virtual producers will help participants behind the scenes so that the learning for the rest of the group is uninterrupted.
Breakout room management — Virtual producers understand breakout room. Whether it’s creating breakout rooms on the fly, setting time limits, broadcasting messages, moving participants around or offering support to breakouts in session, they know how to manage the process.
Launch Polls, Quizzes & Showing Results — a long learning program may contain many different polls. Showing the right poll at the right time is easier if you have a producer doing it for you. And once the polls close, its easy for the producer to share the results to the learners, leaving the facilitator to discuss those answers.
Monitor Chat and Q & A — the chat feature of an online learning platform can be one of the best tools for promoting engagement. Q & A features work well to separate questions from comments, however, both features are not always available. Having a virtual producer monitor the chat can help make sure that no questions are left unanswered. This role becomes even more pronounced in a hybrid session were its easy to forget to monitor the chat.
Share Video — sharing video on virtual platforms like Zoom is not always a smooth process. You need to chose the best sharing method and ensure you have set up the platform to optimize video sharing. Virtual producers can have videos qeued up to share so that the process is close to seamless for your learners.
Share slide decks — programs with multiple presenters often need to present from the same slide deck. That can lead to multiple versions and confusion. Virtual producers can share slide decks and hand slide controls over to presenters, or, in some cases they can even be asked to advance slides.
Promote/Demote Panelists — in a webinar setting often the host is working hard to keep the audience engaged. Taking the time to promote attendees to panelists can take time. Virtual producers help by locating and promoting panelists. Likewise you can rely on them to demote panelists when they are finished their presentations.
Spotlight participants and speakers — in virtual meetings, virtual producers can use the spotlight functionality to ensure that participant are seeing the speaker(s) that they should be seeing.
Bring in other technology (ie Mural, Jamboards) — although most platforms contain all the tools you need, often add-on products can enhance your learning program. Virtual producers can set up and manage this additional technology, introducing it to learners and taking the burden from the facilitator.
Take attendance — with the ability of attendees to log on and off, relying on a platforms built in attendee tracking might not be as effective as needed. Virtual producers can take attendance and track participants who drop early from learning sessions.
Record Meetings — maybe facilitators don’t realize that there are different options when recording meetings. Did you want to record the speaker’s view? How about shared content or recording the chat? Each platform is a little different. It’s the role of the virtual classroom producer to set up these recordings properly.
AFTER THE LEARNING SESSIONS
Long after the last learner disconnects, virtual producers are still hard at work. Tieing up any loose ends and wrapping up reporting. Here’s some of what keeps them busy.
Post-session debrief with facilitators — after the sessions are finished, and learners have left, it is always good to discuss what went well, and look for areas of improvement. Virtual producers can lend their voice to these discussions.
Delivery of course chat log, attendance report, and recording link — Keeping records of what went on during the meeting can be very important. Virtual classroom producers can round up all the chat logs and recordings needed and provide them to the facilitator or program manager after the sessions are all done.
Send poll reporting if needed — In some cases the data collected in polling can be indispensable. Virtual producers can download that data if it’s available on the platform and provide it to management after the sessions are finished.
As you can see from the examples above, and this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, virtual classroom producers can be a really effective tool in the online facilitation toolkit. The next time you are planning a virtual training session, engage the services of a producer. It will save your facilitator stress and improve your learners’ experience.
For more information on how to book a virtual producer for your next training session or online event, reach out to us at 416 628 8645 or email email@example.com