Well…after some deliberation, review of all my classmates blogs and in consideration of the past two weeks reading…I thought this was the perfect time to explore my own experiences with online facilitation over the past week! I have the privilege of designing and facilitating 10 mandatory sixty minute webinars for over 700 staff and what was the content you might ask? Something we have all experienced – the annual Occupational Health & Safety review! Human resources was of course the subject matter expert and delivered most of the content themselves with my support however the experience was timely in light of everything we’ve been discussing and reading as of late.
Let’s start with the planning required for these webinars. Not only did extensive scoping of the content and building of the presentation take place but the administration setup was equally extensive. To build the webinars, polling questions, survey and market the education occurred over 4 weeks with goals of ensuring the session would be learner centred, relevant and meaningful. Also included was practice time with HR to not only review the content but practice navigating the technology as ‘presenting’ not only includes the virtual presence but also knowledge about how to switch screens and control muting. Added onto this was a request for me to mentor a staff on my role as organizer, which of course I was happy to do.
But the best part for me came in trialling a webcam for first time! Only a few staff in the organization currently have this capability and although I had to ask IT to purchase me a portable set, it works perfect. A little daunting to project yourself into the screen however I was really pushing to try and create some sense of social presence in a short session and already evaluation is revealing that staff wish they could see all the presenters, which is a great first step… identification and validation that it is helpful to receive those visual cues which display emotion and tone of voice. Each session provides immediate assessment in the form of a survey and it is used to guide/revise ongoing sessions. Upon completion of all the webinars later this week, I will provide a full analysis of the data to HR who will use it to document baseline knowledge and align against organizational goals.
One interesting note to share is that a staff contacted me this week and indicated she had watched the webinar from her ipad; this was extremely exciting as staff do not have ipads however this individual herself decided to engage with her own technological devices; to expand her own knowledge of learning with innovation. Although we were able to identify some challenges with the ‘app’ she used, I am planning now to further test this myself as I believe this presents opportunities in the future to expand the delivery of our organizational learning.
What a timely experience for me to ‘put to practice’ our recent learning’s and I am looking forward to the next opportunities for online learning in my organization where hopefully I can promote more effectiveness and engagement of learners through innovative and interactive strategies.