As we come to the end of 2022, obviously we have to share some of our highlights of the year!

Top live online learning Community posts

The most popular question on the Lightbulb Moment Community asked for recommendations on virtual platforms: Virtual Live Training Platform- still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

Whilst a lot of organisations are already set with their platform contract, people still want advice on the best platform for their circumstances. A lot of the top questions we had were technology related, which isn’t surprising as things are updating so quickly, compared to a few years ago when updates were few and far between.

You have to get the technology part right and feel confident with it, no matter how many or few of the options you use in your platform, so it makes a lot of sense that we get those details discussed on the Community.

The second most popular discussion was all about reflection questions and what’s good to ask at the end of the session. There were all sorts of great suggestions that can be applied to any kind of learning intervention, but I especially loved what Catherine Addis said about reflecting on learning. On courses she often starts “with an activity where they throw a digital ball around the screen to each other (and I insist they mime throwing and catching!) – on catching they talk about one thing that has stayed with them from a previous session. It helps with establishing a thread between sessions and also warming up.”

That sounds like great fun, and also good learning. I like it when we can make the most of the environment. However that’s not always the case…

Top live online learning podcasts

One of our top two podcasts this year was episode 46, “Virtual Learning Fails”. We asked people on social media and our Community to share with us all sorts of pet peeves when it came to virtual engagement. This was the episode where we mentioned that Roger Courville said just one word: “BIOrrhea”! This is where someone is talking so much about themselves for so long, which I hate too! In the podcast we also talked about terrible ice breakers, awful slides and so much more. A great list of what-not-to-dos!

This year’s most popular podcast was with Janet Webb, where we discussed the design of her discussion-based session. I’d attended a pilot Janet delivered and I thought her design was so focused and elegant I just wanted to share it with other people. And it also really highlighted the move from panic delivery during Covid, to developing the professional performance we are encouraging now.

Top live online learning blogs

I’m delighted that the most popular of the blog posts from 2022 is How we learn (spoiler: it’s not learning styles). I put this blog together to address debunking learning styles and I link to articles about that, but I also link to articles with strategies that can work. I’m really glad that this is so popular, we have a fair few blogs along similar lines where I’m sharing something is debunked or what is actually sound scientific research to do with learning and training, so this warms my heart.

The second top blog this year is Warning: hybrid events don’t work without virtual skills – focusing on the case study report that I wrote with Laura Overton.

We called it “A journey into rethinking hybrid conferences” because Laura and I really did want to reinvent the hybrid conference. We were asked to work on one together and didn’t want just another event where the people at the physical location had a great time and live online people just watched the fun remotely and didn’t get involved.

I think that’s a really important focus of this case study – it’s not about thousands of people watching a live video of a speaker, it’s really about making sure that the event is more inclusive. We wanted both audiences to get involved in discussions and contributions, whether that was comments, questions or word clouds, and to be able to learn from each other during conversations.

It was also about making sure that there was a link all day between in-person and live online – Laura is always keen to point out that I introduced speakers who were in the room, and she did for remote speakers. We often went back and forth between us in conversation, that bit of connection and banter brings those two worlds together as one event experience.

Published virtual and hybrid research

And of course I have to mention the other huge event of the year, which was the virtual and hybrid research report with Jane Daly. This is all about amplifying the human focus in virtual and hybrid learning. Anyone who’s read our blogs or listened to our podcast will know that whilst we do talk about technology when it comes to live online, you can’t not talk about it, they key focus should always be about performance, learning and of course the learner.

We put a lot of time and effort into our own training to encourage people to get involved in chat, to unmute, have time in breakout rooms, have group discussions, ask questions, practice in activities and all sorts, and I think this research really helps cement why that’s important.

Details like people wanting the opportunity to interact, wanting smaller class sizes so that they can really get involved with the learning, and being annoyed when other learners, and of course the facilitator, don’t know how to use the technology, or sessions aren’t designed for this modality.

We also talk often about moving from necessity to performance, people might have freaked out during the pandemic when they had to go live online, but now it’s time to find the resources and time to develop and really fuel the delivery and the outcomes of that delivery into next year.

You can download the free report on the website and listen to episode 49 of the podcast where Mike, Jane and I talk in a lot more detail.

Personal learning insights

Before we finish this off I thought we should share learning points from our year, one virtual and one personal.

From Mike first of all:

Virtual learning insight: That some people are being worried and over apologetic when they can’t be on webcam. It’s starting to become that people feel expected to be on webcam and that means potentially facilitators and online meetings are starting to expect the use of them.

Personal learning insight: Buying a house is hard!

And for me:

Virtual learning insight: It’s around the research we’ve published and the hybrid case study – they both really highlight the need for more research, for more sharing of best practice so that everyone can put this in place in their own organisations.

Personal learning insight: The old life work balance thing. It’s so important for our personal resilience, mental health and strength through hard times to really know our inner self and to know how to maintain the balance of who we are.

For me that’s about time to myself, I’ve got into artistic projects over the last few years and that’s really creative and mindful, and helps make sure I’m ready for another day of using my brain!

I think that’s a great point on which to end this year and we’d love to know some points from you, whenever you read this!

Happy holidays and have a great start to 2023.


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