If you’re an experienced virtual trainer, you know the frustrations of having participants distributed across the country or world. Keeping them continuously engaged is like trying to teach a class right after lunch. You know what I mean—when the blood sugar from lunch has gone to people’s toes and you need to practically tap dance—with a parasol—to get their attention.
Unfortunately, in the vritual classroom, we lose all eye contact, body language, and the opportunity to tap dance. Statistics tell us that body language accounts for as much as 70 to 80 percent of the communication in a traditional classroom. And it’s that body language that keeps everyone energized.
So, how do we communicate in this new environment and keep our participants engaged? The answer is to speak a new language—one that is totally dependent on voice and cues from the technology we’re using.
Looking for cues
In the traditional classroom, we know to watch for participants falling asleep, fidgeting, or not coming back from the break. But online, we need to look for body language in the bandwidth. That means seeking out subtle signals that indicate the level of participant engagement and knowledge transfer. In the virtual classroom, cues may come from unexpected sources.
Once you understand some of the signals to look for, you can use these techniques when you are facilitating live, online courses.
Communicating in the virtual environment is significantly different than in the traditional classroom. We need to learn to look for subtle cues, communicate effectively, and minimize the opportunities for participants to disengage. That’s the new language of online learning.
Want to learn more? Read my recent post: 5 Facilitation Tips To Increase Engagement in the Virtual Classroom. Or another post, Use Interaction and Collaboration to Maximize Engagement in the Virtual Classroom.
You might also want to check out our Virtual Classroom Facilitator Certificate course and discover how you can earn your Virtual Classroom Facilitator Badge by clicking on the graphic below.