Friday, April 27, 2012

Webinars – what would I do differently next time?

Reflections from the group:

“In future sessions, I believe that I would utilise more slides with graphics to embrace learners with a preference for visual stimulation as this was lacking. I need to allow more preparation time to ensure I have all my resources prepared in plenty of time.”

“The other area I would change were the activities, although they were planned in my session, they may be better placed at more frequent intervals throughout the session. The seven minute rule for concentration appears to be less with the online environment, with the need to keep the learners more engaged through activities.”

“The lack of time was my biggest challenge and my delivery was hurried towards the end because I had run out time.   Should I be running this session again I would spend more time on ensuring the session runs to time and it may be necessary to cut some of the information out or extend the proposed session length.   Limiting the discussion between participants would also assist in running to time and this is something I would do differently next time.  The facilitator needs to be strong and ensure the participants are kept on task.”
“Preparing and presenting to another person, who has subject knowledge, was invaluable. The finished presentation flowed much better than the first draft(s). In hindsight I can see how a training package would go thru an evolution of about 5 iterations before it could be classed as ‘finished’.
What could have gone well? The animation of the slide presentation would have ‘made the presentation’. Instead it failed because I did not research the limitations of the webinar software. I have learned a valuable lesson here!!”

“I found that havening visual aids prepared worked well and enhanced the flow of the presentation. I think I would have come across disorganised if I had not been able to keep most of the participants engage and having “props” helps me be less nervous.
I found I learnt more about how to engage learners from watching the presentations of the other participants as I could concentrate on what work and did not work for them.”

“What I would do differently is practice the timing of the session beforehand, which I did not think to do this time, I put the clock on but did not know how to set the time. I would ensure I knew everyone’s name as one of the log on names only has an initial and when I went to call on them I did not know their first name. I would ask participants to put their names against their comments so I could call on them by name rather than “who wrote xxx””

“Once one the participants started writing responses on the whiteboard others joined in. Discussion around some of the selected responses was good with a number of people joining in the conversation and expanding thus giving further insight to the topic. This also gives a sense of ownership and acceptance to the individuals.

I think that next time I could possibly have columns on the whiteboard and group similar responses in column with relevant headings. Prepare a slide/s for participants as a visual cue with key points for discussion and have the question written for them to see during the brainstorming. “

“Next time?- If using video, send it out for learners to watch prior to webinar-Have a plan ‘B’ prepared when using technology that is prone to problems-Practice more with the functions of the webinar program, including websurf.”

“The research formed the basis of my session, and the fact that I was researching learning theory and design models impacting on how I presented. Originally I thought of presenting the information, then getting them to do an activity until I read more and decided the best way maybe to promote interactive learning where I am the facilitator and the learners engage in their own learning.”

“The activities worked well and getting the participants to do interact was great…… the delegating of the roles works well eg Patty opened, then Mark etc.”

“What I would change next time?  Not to be so ambitious with the lesson plan, until I’m more comfortable with the software which I’m to use.  With regards the feedback I would communicate directly with colleagues be that by e-mail or phone because survey or asking others to give feedback time consuming and unreliable.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

So far so good...

It's been a helter-skelter time with everyone working hard and somehow managing to fit in the extra workload required to successfully complete this program.

So far we have completed the first part of the program. Participants were asked to consult with their learners (each other), then design and deliver a short webinar, and finally reflect upon their experiences. The learning was delivered using a combination of Moodle activities and live webinars. The reflections are coming through nicely and make interesting reading. When they are all submitted I will summarise and post to the blog.

Alongside the webinars participants have been working on their professional practice tasks. Part 1 involved identifying challenges which have been faced in their current training and assessment practice. Part 2, the current task, asks each participant to reflect on and analyse the information gathered and identify areas for improvement.

This project has reminded me of the importance of our choice of language when designing learning. The first task to be undertaken in the project was to write the L&A strategy and the assessment tasks for a variation to scope - so I was writing for the auditor. When I began to develop the Moodle activities for our learners I transferred some of what I had written in these documents to the site. The consequences were predictable - nobody knew what to do! Whoops!
3 webinars and several phone calls later we got there!

In spite of these issues the webinars delivered by participants were well constructed, and between the group, they made good use of all the interactive whiteboard tools. They were the longest and noisiest webinars I have ever been involved in. There is a fantastic positive energy about this group who engage well with each and are simply ready to have a go.

Our next phase is to design and develop a blended learning induction program for the SES. Each member of the group has been allocated one section of the program. Currently the group are identifying learners who will pilot the induction program which we intend to do during the week beginning the 20th May. They are also exploring resources they might use for their section and evaluating an existing induction program from the Royal Fire Service.

I'm looking forward to meeting everyone at the end of April for our e-learning design and Moodle training weekend. Will let you know what happens next!