The last few weeks has seen a lot of new meeting and training styles hitting the world. Prior to early March I personally did not know of Zoom for example – now it has become a very well-known method of connecting with others and seen nightly on the main News bulletins. Even the Government are using this system to keep Ministers connected.
Webinars in many forms have been around for quite a while now, and whilst I had a basic understanding of them as a viewer prior to the Covid-19 world we are now in, little did I know however that by early April I would be hosting training sessions using Webinars and attending many Zoom meetings.
As a Temporary Traffic Management Trainer, I was asked to host an online training session for new TC’s in mid-April. Help went me – so a quick bit of online research helped feather out a few fears – see links further down.
As a company, Parallaxx Ltd has offered free training online during the Covid-19 period which has seen a waiting list grow very fast. NZTA have also come onboard and offered no registration fee as part of this offer which is fantastic support – it is keeping people learning when they may have otherwise had little to do whilst gaining a new qualification that help some people gain employment once the country gets going again.
This workshop runs in the same manner as a classroom one but without the physical interactions usually encountered it was seen by me as a serious challenge. It was quite disconcerting initially as I could not see or hear all participants and relied on learning myself as I went to present and manage the workshop to ensure that the outcomes for the session were positive for all.
As my first online training session ran on it became easier to present to the screen, rather than people in the classroom, whilst I was also learning about some of the tools available within the Webinar programme that allow participants to be engaged and best of all remain involved.
Attendees on this workshop “travelled” from Twizel in the south to Auckland in the north to be with me on the Kapiti Coast whilst remaining in the comfort of their own homes. By the end of the day all 11 participants had completed and passed the required tests with only 1 person having some difficulty – not really any different a result for face to face training.
Lessons learnt by me as presenter:
- Have a decent chair! Mine was not good so a new one was ordered. Remember it needs to usable – and more importantly – comfortable for a full day
- Presenter Room lighting – important so the webcam doesn’t “flare” out – can participants see you – oh yeah – and what’s in the background that may embarrass you – fortunately nothing for me but some of the clips seen online are out there.
- Question, question, question the participants – ensures they are still there when webcams are not active and keeps everyone engaged.
So where to for the future?
I see a place for this style of learning becoming more prevalent within the Temporary Traffic Management Industry – especially for presentation style workshops that may need to have less participant lead parts of the workshop. So, TC course, TCI, Refresher Workshops all could be done this way. It is a way we are adapting to change using technology that is available for all.
- Lowers costs for providers and participants
- Ability to attend from anywhere
- Positive results can still be achieved
Technology can become your friend.
Some hints and tips that I have used: