What makes a good online course? Part 3 of 3

by | Aug 31, 2020 | Online Training

Three components for online training: Technology, Design and Facilitation

In July, I facilitated my program, Redesigning in-person for Online: Process, templates and Support. As part of the design, I created this model to summarize the components I believe are necessary for a quality program that “lights up learners” and gets the results the organization is looking for.

online-training-requires-technology-design-and facilitation

I wrote about Parts 1 and 2 in earlier posts. Click below to read about these components.

Online Facilitation

Skilled facilitation is an art. I often feel facilitators are like ducks on the water. On the surface, they glide along effortlessly, while under the water, their feet are busy kicking.

Here are some tips to help you glide with ease.


Before the online training session

Set up your workspace in advance. Think about your physical space, your technology and how you (and your producer) will organize and access your documents (e.g., slides, Virtual Facilitator Guide).

Consider investing in:

  • Two monitors – one to see participants and another to share screen.
  • A good quality webcam – provides a crisper image and makes you look great.
  • A second computer – logged in as a participant, so you can see what learners see.
  • A standing desk – to help you naturally stay animated during the session.

Prepare by practicing:

  • Practice on your own, so you get comfortable with the technology.
  • Record yourself practicing a dry run. Watch the recording to identify things you’d like to change.
  • Record live sessions and watch the recording to observe how you interact with participants and what you would like to do differently.

During the session

Here are some tips for the facilitator:

  • Reduce distractions. Turn off email, notifications and silence your phone.
    You may not want to turn off your phone because you might want to use it to text with the producer.
  • Remember to smile! Put a stickie note with a smiley face by your webcam, so you remember to look there and smile.
  • Give participants a “voice” early on. Invite them to introduce themselves using the technology. Have a breakout session early on so they can unmute and contribute.
  • Engage participants every 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Use learners’ names throughout. Reference comments they made in chat; use their names in examples you share.
  • Remember to scan the gallery of faces for visual cues and instant feedback (e.g., hands raised).

Here are some times for the producer:

  • Have the chat text pasted into a separate word or text document so you can easily paste it into chat instead of typing.
  • Enter chat questions in caps, so they stand out in the downloaded chat – makes editing easier.
  • Print a roster of the participants and track who contributes. Flag quieter participants so the facilitator can check in or draw them out.
  • Respond to specific participants in chat with @name.

In case you missed it

I’ve shared some additional posts online. Here they are in case you missed them.

Curious to learn more?

Here is some additional information about how I’ve helped clients with online learning.

When you’re ready, here are a few ways I can help you and the employees in your organization:

Check out the other services I provide to clients to help them improve employee performance.