8 Tips for Conducting Live Courses

First, a little information about Litmos Live Sessions.  Litmos can be used to schedule sessions, inform learners about the sessions and manage attendance and scores using the same software as your online courses courses.  Live sessions are designed to take place either in a classroom or using a third party virtual training tool such as GoToTraining or WebEx.

Now, onto the tips!  Being a good trainer comes with experience, however, until you gain that experience the tips below will help you fake it ’till you make it.  One of the requirements I had when I became a technical trainer was to become CompTIA CTT+ certified.  Many of the tips below are topics that they are looking for during their certification process and things that I have discovered over the years of being a trainer.

  1. Have an agenda and inform the students of what it is – Ahead of time, students want to know what they will be learning, when bathroom and food breaks are, and any other information they may be thinking about.
  2. Learn as much as possible about your students ahead of time – When a student is completely new to a subject, you will need to train them from the beginning, which can some times be difficult to someone who knows the subject.  A good trainer is one who can do this successfully.   It starts to get tricky if they are familiar with the subject.  Speaking to an informed learner as if they are beginners is insulting to the learner.  Speak to them as though they have been working with the subject for years and they will have no clue what you are talking about.  Before hand, so you have time to prepare, ask your learners what they want to learn, how much of the subject they have had experience with, if they know about fill-in-the-blank.  Also, keep in mind that some learners think they know more or less then they actually do.
  3. Use stories, images, games and any material that is engaging – You could be giving a course on the most exciting topic in the world, but if the course is not fun and engaging, you may as well be giving a lecture on the importance of rubber bands.  Even if the link between the engaging material and the point is a stretch, such as the mirror image pie to remember the first digits of pie, the important part is to help the student to recall the information.  In many cases, silliness will only improve the chances of retention.
  4. Ask questions – Questions can help gauge if the students are absorbing the material.  As a trainer, it is your job to get the information through to your learners.  If you are having problems getting them to understand the material, you may need to approach it in a different way.  The earlier you can identify this the better.   Questions are also great to get students thinking about the material, especially if an assessment will not be given during the course.
  5. Choose a non distracting location – If the course is virtual, pick a quite place to conduct the session, to avoid distractions for you and background noise for your students.  If it is a classroom setting, if possible, choose a room with few windows where events are likely to occur and as few technical distractions as possible (Facebook can be very inciting when the internet is available).
  6. Stick to a single idea, topic or goal – It is easier for a student to remember a single thought rather than 50.  Elaborating on a single idea gives the learner time to let the idea sink in.  If more than one idea must be covered, emphasize one idea for each section.  And by emphasize, I mean EMPHASIZE.
  7. Before starting, check with the learners that they can hear and see – Even if you have tested everything, never assume it is working perfect.  I have learned this one the hard way.  The first time I learned this, I was 15 minutes into a 30 minute webinar only to find that my microphone was muted.
  8. Suggest additional resources – There is nothing more frustrating to an engaged learner then not knowing where to go next.  Imagine watching a captivating movie, American Psycho comes to mind, just to be left hanging at the end.  This is especially true for eCommerce courses or book selling opportunities.
  9. Be early and set up early – I have learned to live by Murphy’s Law:  Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.  Just a few things I have encountered:  getting lost, delayed flights, burnt out projection bulbs, wires that wont work, every type of computer issue you can imagine and some you can’t.  Arriving prepared to deal with problems insures that the course will start on time without any hitches.

If you remember nothing else from this blog post, remember that the goal is to get your students to remember what they need to remember.  Remember?