“Gosh, running online training is so hard. All those things you have to do at once, keep an eye on the Chatroom, manage the Microphones, clear the emoticons, advance the slides, manage the software, and teach! I’ll never be able to do it all.”
That’s a common reaction I get from new trainees on the Online Facilitation course. It’s true you have to do several things at once, but it’s not as difficult as it sounds.
Consider a London Taxi driver, they have to select the right speed with their feet, change gear with their left hand, steer with their right, and avoid other traffic and pedestrians. Whilst doing all this they have to find their way around London and still be able to harangue their passengers about the state of the economy and the famous people they had in the back of their cab last week.
So, as any cab driver, or juggler, will tell you, multitasking is possible, in fact it’s easy, but only once you have got so used to the controls that you don’t have to think about it.
The same is true for Online Training, whatever the software used, whether it’s Webex, Adobe, GoTo Training, DimDim, NetViewer or any other of the plethora of online training solutions. To help your multitasking you must first learn the software controls.
You should get to the stage where you know what every function does and what the impact of every key press or mouse click is. You should know where and how to find every option and setting in your chosen software. Then, learn your course; know the slides, application software, and the learning outcomes you want.
When you are completely familiar with these things, when you know your training environment, and your course, then you’ll be able to multitask. When you’re not worrying about what key to press next, or what the next slide is. When you’re not worried about how run a breakout session, or annotate a whiteboard. Then you’ll be able to do several things at once, keep all the metaphorical juggling balls in the air, and facilitate a good online course.
The good news is that this can be learnt, just as we learnt to drive a car. The key to this is practice. You can run trial online sessions, either with your colleagues, family members or just on your own. Use the software to record these trial sessions, then view them back and critique yourself. After a few practice runs you’ll find that you’re more confident running a session, and can multitask better. You’ll also find that having an experienced facilitator with you on your first few courses will help. But soon you’ll be able to take the “L” plates off and facilitate a live online course on your own.
You can find out more about the IITT's Certified Online Learning Facilitator course here