Virtual Learning Show Day 2

Posted on Dec 6, 2012

I recently attended Day 1 of a 2-day Virtual Learning Show. I thought I’d take the opportunity to post some reflections on Day 2 and in particular each session, with a particular focus on:

  • A key ‘take-away’ from the sessions content itself
  • The way in which it was facilitated (in part or in whole) with a view to what can I re-use/build upon for myself.
  • Overall view on undertaking essentially a day’s worth of webinar/virtual classrooms.

Welcome & Recap on Day 1

 Presented by Colin Steed
10.45 – 11.00 GMT (UK time)

Conference organiser Colin Steed will recap on the lessons learned on Day 1 (29th November) and outline the highlights of the exciting presentations that are scheduled for today.

My key content take-away

Forget about trying to ‘influence upwards’ when it comes up to implementing virtual classrooms / webinars. Instead, look around the business for problems that are occurring for which webinars can provide a solution (this approach is effective for internal projects, particularly those with a


Converting Your Classroom Courses to the Virtual Environment

 Presented by Cindy Huggett
11.00 – 12.00 GMT (UK time)

Cindy Huggett

Organizations are increasingly moving from instructor-led classroom training to the synchronous virtual classroom.  Whether you have already started to convert your face-to-face classes, or just beginning the process, this session will help you design for success!

In this session, you will learn that one minute of classroom time does not equal one minute of virtual classroom time. Some face-to-face activities simply don’t translate or even make sense online.  Therefore, how do you know what to translate versus what to build from scratch?  And what activity options are available that will help you meet the desired learning outcomes?

This interactive session will answer those questions and more.  It will equip you – both instructional designers and trainers alike – to convert classroom training to virtual training using three simple guidelines.

  • Follow three steps to convert face-to-face classes to synchronous virtual sessions
  • Translate classroom topics into virtual activities
  • Design appropriate virtual class activities to achieve learning outcomes

My key content take-away

Don’t try and include the same number of people in an online session as you would in face to face (f2f)  session. Keep the numbers low and

ASTD research (2009) shows that approximately 40 hours of total design are required for 1 hour of f2f activity.

My key facilitation take-away

Cindy swapped the layout of the session screen a few times. This was useful to see the flexibility of Adobe Connect, however it took a few moments to get used to the changing layout. I’m not saying that I would never change the layout during the session, but I would be very mindful as to the knock-on effect on the learner.


Tools and techniques to enhance live online sessions

 Presented by Julie Wedgwood
12.30 – 13.30 GMT (UK time)

Julie Wedgwood has been facilitating live online sessions for many years and is a favourite webinar presenter on the LPI Webinar Programme over the years. She is also one of the most highly rated commentators and conference presenters on the subject of interactivity in sessions – both face to face and in the online environment. Her more recent session on the availability and use of digital learning tools for use in live online sessions.

Join Julie Wedgwood to explore simple yet innovative ways to enhance online session engagement and keep your delegates active.

IN this highly interactive session, explore and experiment with Julie as she shares:

  •  Julie’s “Tell me that’s You”  approach to delegate polls
  • Mosher’s Grid
  • Graffiti feedback
  • Tools to aid learner concentration
  • Webcam antics
  • Add-ons and other freebie tools

My key content take-away

Adobe Connect provides a large (and growing) number of extensions to further enhance the ‘out of the box’ functionality.

My key facilitation take-away

Julie used her webcam throughout the session with no discernible loss of quality. In the past the webinars I’ve facilitated for various 3rd parties have all insisted that I do not use the webcam. When I’m in a position to facilitate sessions within my own Org I’ll be making sure that I maximise the webcam where it adds value.


Creating Effective Performance Support Aids

 Presented by James McLuckie
14.00 – 15.00 GMT (UK time)

Have you ever been at work and needed immediate help with a specific task or activity? Dr Jane Bozarth (author of Social Media for Trainers) calls it the “Hey Joe!” moment. “Hey Joe, can you help me to process this order.” “Hey Joe, how do I overcome this customer’s objection?”

Chances are most of your learning needs fall into this category. So why, then, is it often so difficult to find decent support to help us with the activities that are key to us being successful in our jobs? Many organisations are still locked in a cycle of providing push-down formal learning interventions, rather than making point-of-need learning materials available to help staff at the exact moment it is called for.

As learning and development professionals, we can anticipate the needs of staff and design performance aids that give staff the support they want, when they need it. Why send someone on a two-day workshop when a helpful template, reflective questionnaire, video tutorial or short how-to guide would be far more useful and effective?

James McLuckie, Learning Engagement Manager of Eden Tree, has been creating just-in-time support resources for the past ten years. In this webinar, he discusses what to consider when putting together performance aids that really help learners get to grips with a task, or how to overcome a problem.


My key facilitation take-away

There was in parts some lengthy ‘telling‘ going on. Whilst this probably didn’t come across to the facilitator, it certainly felt it to me. I’ll be mindful of this when prepping my future sessions.

Keep any tasks /questions simple. Some of the tasks seemed quite complicated and questions quite long.


My key content take-away

The chat panel indicated that there are still people out there chomping about learning styles! Quite sad that we are participating in what many would consider a modern approach to facilitation and there are still some ‘old school’ ideas floating around.


Designing Slides for the Virtual Classroom

 Presented by Roger Courville
15.30 – 16.30 GMT (UK time)

In a recent 1080 Group poll, presenters noted their top two challenges with presentations “too little time to put together presentations”, and “don’t know as much about design as I’d like”. The good news is that moving beyond “death by bullet point” doesn’t have to be hard or take over your life.

Join Roger Courville, of, for a practical 45 minutes of strategies and tips to accelerate your training presentations for better attention, cognition, and retention in your live, online training sessions.

Attend this live, interactive webinar to learn:

  • Evidence-based principles for designing presentations in a short-attention span culture
  • Essential elements of getting – and keeping – attention
  • How to rapidly improve data-heavy slides
  • How to turn bullet points into visuals

My key content take-away

Pick up this book 


My key facilitation take-away

Once again, as in a previous session there was a lot of ‘being talked at’. There were also a number of questions that Roger asked that seemed to exist for no other reason to show us that he knew something that we didn’t?

Perhaps I’m just a bit thick, but I have no idea what the findings were of a report that I’ve never read on a subject that I’m not familiar with.

I’ll make sure that I bear this in mind when I’m asking questions in my online sessions.


Overall experience

Today was a great experience, I acquired some info in every single session, particularly in terms of varying facilitation methods. There were a number of people who attended every session so to a degree my concern over ‘overload’ may be mute… however, I’m not sure that the audience is typical of the majority of learners – after all, it’s our field!

I’m still doubtful that a days worth of online activities could work in the ‘real world’….

What do you think?



  1. Hi Craig,
    As it was your post-event review of day one that got me looking into this event, I have to thank you for highlighting the event to me!
    I’ll break my observations on what you’ve said into points:
    1) Moving the screen aroundPersonally I quite enjoyed this… I felt like a bit like having to move around the room. I wouldn’t over use it though
    2) World mapThe world map tool was really good, and I stuck my pin on it before we were even asked to. Where you have a group of people that don’t know each other I think it’s a great idea
    3) Things not quite workingIn a way, it was nice to see even a seasoned presenter such as Julie have some issues with things not quite working right. A timely reminder that delivery using any medium always involves things maybe not going to plan!
    4) Learning stylesAs I discussed with you on twitter, this is still ‘taught’. Just last year I did the CIPD L&D course and the final assessment piece you had to design a learning event and explain how all learning styles were catered for, as well as showing how you have used VAK elements to support delivery
    5) TellingIt was odd that on a day where we were there to learn/share best practice we were effectively shown a webinar at one point. I’ve fed back to James via twitter as there was a lot of potential in the activity at the end of their piece to explore performance support and get lots of innovative ideas
    But we all learn from experience! I would be lying if I say that on reflection I haven’t delivered one way ‘telling’ webinars in the past….
    6) “Ah, but you tell me”Roger’s session at times did remind me of a biology teacher I had at a-level. She used to say “what do you think xyz found when they did a study into z?” without you ever having looked into it before. And when you asked a question on anything she would say “ah, but you tell me”. Well, I don’t know, that’s why I asked 🙂
    I feel like his approach wasn’t “wrong”, just that it was more suited to an in-person event where people could get discussions going. Online, probably better to have a poll where people can say what they prefer, then look at the ‘science’, then discuss the findings.
    All in all, I really enjoyed it. Developing some competency in delivering virtual learning is my big developmental objective for 2013 due to some massive changes happening at work, with systems changing and new products being rolled out at a terrifyingly fast pace. I feel that doing this right (and combined with other delivery methods) will be one of the ways to reach numerous time poor and geographically dispersed people. So from that perspective it was really interesting.
    Would I recommend an all day event? Not really, but then of course that was one of the points Cindy Huggett brought up! However I did actually feel more engaged in the process than I have at conferences.
    And once again, thanks for reviewing it last week and bringing it to my attention.

    • Some of the line breaks disappeared there… guess who copy and pasted? 🙂

    • Chutzpah84 Hi chutzpah84 Thanks ever so much for taking the time to read my blog post and provide such a detailed response. I’m sometimes a little reluctant to ‘call things out’ that I don’t agree or that I haven’t liked as I feel there is a lot of mutual backslapping that goes on in some online communities, so it was reassuring to hear that some of your thoughts echoed mine.
      Good luck with your development plans for 2013. I undertook an online facilitators programme a couple of years ago with onlignment which proved very useful and as the team I work in is undertaking the @YourLPI COLF programme next year, I’m giving that a whirl too.
      I’m pleased that my Day 1 bog post was the trigger for you to get involved in Day 2 and it’s good to have you as part of my network.

      • CraigTaylor74 I think the key is to approach the person directly – that’s what I did with James. As long as you keep it constructive I think it’s valued. I value feedback as I’m a population of one in my company. I don’t have peers to critique or praise what I do in the business, and I’m aware as anyone that I’m not always effective as I could be! Getting some polite and constructive feedback is always valued by me.
        Approaching the person directly is also critical in our modern world – with back channels and the like you can guarantee they’ll read your comment on there anyway!
        I’ve been looking at the COLF programme too – do you know how much it costs?

        • @Chutzpah84 Do you know Mandy Randall-Gavin, Robert? She is a friend of mine and of the COLF tutors. Am happy to put you in touch with her if you would like to her in more detail about the course.

        • JamesMcLuckie If you could that would be really useful, thanks – can send a twitter DM if you like?

        • Chutzpah84 Yeah, DM me your email address and I’ll put you guys in touch.

  2. Missed day two so thanks for this Craig. I think a day of webinars could possibly work in the ‘real world’ but like a F2F event, needs a structured programme incorporating breaks. Sessions really need to build in some interaction and participation or there’s no way I’d pay attention for long periods of time. I love that Colin has tried this online approach to an event and found your insights on it v.useful.

    • kategraham23 Hi kategraham23 Thanks for bobbing by Kate and commenting on my post. In terms of a day long ‘online’ event, I’d really want to break it up with more than just tea breaks and would look to get the learners moving around their workplace / talking to people / undertaking some research that they would be expected to bring back into the online environment and share.

      • CraigTaylor74 kategraham23 kategraham23 Oh I absolutely love that idea Craig! Let’s chat about this and hopefully we can implement this in the next running of the show. Thanks very much for your feedback on all sessions – I have learnt a lot from them.

        • @Colin Steed Hi colinsteed I’d be very happy to have a chat about this and bounce a few ideas round. Feel free to give me a call any time. I’ve DMd my numbers to you.

  3. Thanks for the feedback, Craig and Robert – both here and through your various DMs during the session and on Twitter.
    For me, the main takeaway was definitely to nail down the timings. If myself and my co-host, Cat, had really got to grips with that, we could have cut out some of the content that got bogged down in ‘telling’. Also, we knew that one of the exercises that we ran (using the whiteboard) was a bit risky, but you’ve got to have to courage to try these things out sometimes.
    Delivering a webinar to generic audience is hard to pitch. While our session didn’t, unfortunately, work for you guys, we’ve had some other feedback which is more positive, regarding the use of visuals, humour, the ideas presented, and the fact that we opened out lots of questions.
    For me the experience, was nothing but positive, including your feedback. We intend to deliver the session again and know it will be a lot stronger next time, thanks to everyone’s comments.

    • JamesMcLuckie Hi James,
      Thanks for taking the feedback in the manner in which it was given. I agree that the visuals were good and I also liked the activity, I just wish (as you know) that it had a bit more time to bloom – we were as a group coming out with some great ideas I think, so I don’t think the question or the method of collating ideas was wrong. I liked the ability to write my own thoughts on the wall – it wouldn’t be quite so chaotic with a smaller group, plus when we all realised we could move submissions around things became a bit clearer.
      The questions were stretching, but that’s a good thing, and ask of course as people see other peoples’ thoughts they’re bound to come up with their own.
      I’m definitely interested in joining you again next time you host it – just let me know when!

      • Chutzpah84 Absolutely taken in the manner in which it was intended, Robert. There is no learning to be had in being precious about such things. Am very grateful to you for taking the time to provide such detailed feedback.

  4. @ColinSteed Have there been any other post #VLS12 blogs that you’re aware of?


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