Design is everything: five techniques for designing an interactive virtual class

Cindy Huggett had some great interaction from the beginning in the chat and with Cindy using polls and a separate chat window to understand our role and find out our burning questions.

The five techniques for interactive virtual design:

  1. defining great design
  2. great openings
  3. selecting activities
  4. creating materials
  5. piloting sessions

What is virtual training? We had lots of different answers which led Cindy nicely into…

Technique 1: determine what you are designing for

Common types of online session include meeting, presentation, seminar and training class. All of which need a different approach. Cindy said to think about the environment you are in and what kind of skills you are trying to deliver and “just because you CAN put a few hundred people in a virtual training room, doesn’t mean you SHOULD”.

Technique #2: create a great opening

Cindy explained that we need to set expectations from the first contact with participants or, “as soon as you tell people it’s happening” added Bianca WoodsCindy went on to say that if it’s a series or blended curriculum it’s a good idea to have a kick off session.

I really liked the emphasis Cindy gave that a great opening is also from when someone logs in to the session.

Technique 3: select activities for maximum involvement This wasn’t just about interaction for the sake of it, which I’ve felt a bit recently on other sessions. It’s about the “drive towards learning outcomes and behaviour change”. Cindy emphasised that a “live online session attention will start to falter after about four minutes. Some research will say three, some five”. The subject of clicky clicky bling bling came up, link below if you want to read more:

I like the promotion of “as a designer you should know your platform inside and out. Every tool and every feature” and Cindy shared a link to a document of hers to help us decide which interactivity to use:

Technique 4: set everyone up for success

Cindy stated that this was “important, although participants won’t notice. Facilitators, producers and participants depend up on your design work to be able to play their roles well” and added later that “the best slides make the worst hand outs”. I think we’ve all been on sessions, glad to have a PDF or a printed takeaway only to find later that it’s just the slides and doesn’t really help us embed the learning!

Bianca shared her resources for free design assets:

Technique 5: pilot each session as a design review

Practice is important is what came through to me, as well as the idea of feedback throughout and ensuring you review your activities. Most places don’t do the review and update very well, so it’s something I’m keen on doing for best delivery practice.

This was a great session from Cindy, the best of the day in my opinion. This was because of the content, interaction and delivery. I really look forward to following Cindy more closely and learning from her!