2 min read

Tips for Teaching Virtually, Globally

Tips for Teaching Virtually, Globally

The new hybrid work force brings many opportunities for virtual trainers, including global virtual classrooms. Learner engagement can be enhanced by finding ways for all participants to collaborate and learn from one another. After all, if we teach people to collaborate effectively in a hybrid learning environment, then we are also preparing them to work in this new global hybrid economy.

Before people can learn, we need to help them set up for success. Environmental engagement is critical to all learning situations, but perhaps even more so when you are teaching global audiences.

We asked our Master Virtual Producers and our Virtual Learning Experts to share their secrets for setting up learners for success in the global virtual classroom. They acknowledged that it takes some work to get prepared, but results in a much more productive program.

  • Start with a list of learners and their country of learning origin! (Where are they now?)

  • Look up your learner’s time zones.  It makes a difference in emotional connection if you can just acknowledge "Welcome Ahmed - I know it's late where you are - thanks so much for joining us!"

  • Ask how to pronounce your learners' names - don't assume.  And write them down phonetically so you don't mispronounce them.  It matters! You can use a website such as https://www.pronouncenames.com/ to help prep.

  • Make notes of greetings for different languages. This site has a list of “Hello in 100 Languages including context and pronunciation guides.

  • Find out all the involved time zones and hold the class at a time that works best for everyone - not in the middle of the night! If you can avoid typical mealtimes, even better.

  • Look to ensure that you are not holding the class during a national holiday for your learners.   We use https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/ to help us schedule.

  • Acknowledge cultural differences and that each person will perceive the style of your class through their own cultural lens.  Welcome discussion about it!

  • Check your presentation for slang, jargon, and acronyms that might not be known by everyone in the audience.   Try the Jargon Grader to check things that don’t make sense. https://www.instructionalsolutions.com/jargon-grader

  • Ensure your slides show diversity in people - tailor to your audience if appropriate.

  • Keep a list that shows name, location, and language so you can make appropriate references throughout the training.

    Download Infographic - Tips for Teaching Virtually, Globally
  • Use closed caption and/or transcription if available in your virtual classroom – it can help learners to read rather than listen. Zoom, Webex, MS Teams, and Adobe Connect all have options for closed captioning.

  • Group learners by region for small group work and breakouts. It makes it easier on them.

  • Provide additional time for activities when you have a global community - language differences could mean it takes longer to complete activities like polls, chat activities, using feedback & emoticons, and participating in breakout activities.

  • Check if the materials will be translated such as decks, videos, handouts, etc. if the audience is comprised of non-English speakers. If it’s not, can it be translated?

  • Check any activities to confirm they suit the audience's culture. Ex: I ask them to share in chat and use emojis instead of "speaking up."

  • Have some welcomes to get to know the participants and to also get them sharing - eg:  speaking to a little-known fact - something that folks don't know if they are from the same team.

  • Prepare to draw commonalities between participants in the same countries or with the same spoken language etc. – if it’s necessary/appropriate.

  • Understand ongoing issues (eg: war in Ukraine, Middle East conflict, pandemic) and prepare to acknowledge them sensitively where necessary.

  • Build in international examples where possible using the regions covered in the session.

  • As an opening icebreaker/warmup activity, you can create a map for annotation to indicate where in the world the learners are, or have them type in chat, and/or ask what their area is known for.

If your participants see the Virtual Facilitator and Producer team making an effort to embrace the global diversity in the virtual classroom, most individuals will be tolerant of any unintentional cultural missteps, and it provides the opportunity for everyone in the session to learn about our global community.


Download Infographic - Tips for Teaching Virtually, Globally

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