Synchronous

e-Learning
How to
design, produce,
lead, and promote
successful learning
events, live and
online
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on
By Karen Hyder,
Ann Kwinn, Ron Miazga,
and Matthew Murray
Edited by Bill Brandon

Compilation copyright © 2007 by The eLearning Guild
Published by The eLearning Guild
375 E Street, Suite 200
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
www.elearningguild.com
Individual chapters are Copyright © 2007 by their respective authors.
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author in any citation, and should take the following form: The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on
Synchronous e-Learning
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Other FREE Digital eBooks by The eLearning Guild include:
834 Tips for Successful Online Instruction
328 Tips on the SELECTION of an LMS or LCMS
339 Tips on the IMPLEMENTATION of an LMS or LCMS
311 Tips on the MANAGEMENT of an LMS or LCMS
Publisher: David Holcombe
Editorial Director: Heidi Fisk
Editor: Bill Brandon
Copy Editor: Charles Holcombe
Design Director: Nancy Marland Wolinski
The eLearning Guild™Advisory Board
Ruth Clark, Lance Dublin, Conrad Gottfredson, Bill Horton, Bob Mosher, Eric Parks, Brenda Pfaus,
Marc Rosenberg, Allison Rossett
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning i
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning ii
Table of Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . viii
About the Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix
Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . x
Sponsored Content: WebEx Training Center Online Classroom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi
Chapter 1. Introduction to Synchronous e-Learning
What is synchronous e-Learning? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
Synchronous e-Learning technology categories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
Teleconferencing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Audioconferencing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Videoconferencing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Webcasting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Gaming and simulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Web conferencing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
The roots of synchronous e-Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
The learning needs for synchronous e-Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
The business case for synchronous e-Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
Integration points and challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12
Sponsored Content: Canon Case Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Chapter 2. Getting Started
How I learned to love synchronous e-Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
Some philosophy about synchronous e-Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
An uneven beginning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
Instructors are context creators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
Synchronous e-Learning application features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
Licensing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
Learning Management System considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
Making the connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
Familiar log-in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19
Slide or file display . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19
Whiteboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
Tool access and sharing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
Peer-to-peer Chat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
Student-to-trainer Chat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
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Instant feedback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
Polling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
Annotation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
Multimedia content . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
Group Web surfing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
Over-the-shoulder application sharing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
Integrated telephony and VoIP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
Video integration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23
Record and play back the video and audio portion of the session . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23
Registration, testing, and grading (Learning Management Systems) . . . . . . . . . . . . .23
A new role: The Producer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24
What does a Producer do? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24
Set the date for the pilot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24
Adapt methods to the virtual classroom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24
Map the process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24
Support the event . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
Deal with the Learning Management System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
Objections to online training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26
Objection #1: “I’m not able to observe participants.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26
Objection #2: “I can’t connect with learners and build rapport.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26
Objection #3: “Learners don’t have the attention span required.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27
Objection #4: “My students don’t want to share ideas or do homework.” . . . . . . . . . .27
Objection #5: “Technology will fail in the middle of the session.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28
Objection #6: “It’s hard to keep track of everything.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28
Objection #7: “I don’t do training. I do sales demos.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28
Objection #8: “It’s easy for you. I can’t do it.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28
Sponsored Content: WebEx Consulting Services Brochure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
Chapter 3. How to Design for the Virtual Classroom
How you see it may depend on where you’ve been . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33
Media selection – to VC or not to VC? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34
Logistical media decision factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35
Educational media decision factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36
Social presence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36
Cognitive load . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36
Visuals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37
Interactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37
Blended solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37
Interactions – alone but engaged . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38
Frequency of interactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38
Response facilities in the virtual classroom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
Individual interactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
Polling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
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Chat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40
Audio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
Icons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
Application sharing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
How to maximize participation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
Collaboration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42
Breakout rooms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42
Paired Chat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42
Feedback and assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
Visuals – the journey of a thousand pixels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
Visualization facilities in the virtual classroom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
The whiteboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
Web cams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
Application sharing, multimedia, Web tours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44
Types of visuals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45
Chapter 4. Preliminary Planning for Your Event
What’s different about a synchronous online event? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
Who is your audience, and where are they? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
Needs assessment and analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47
Adapt content or make adjustments to materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47
Are you going to have co-presenters? Where are they? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48
What equipment and facilities will you need? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48
A place to work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49
Two computers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49
A wired Internet connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50
High-quality audio (VoIP or telephony) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51
Access to the session room and materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52
Plan to support the instructional design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
Build a storyboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
Plan to share visuals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54
Plan for incompatibility issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
Plan around unsupported instructional design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
Showing PowerPoint slide animations and “builds” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
Tossing a question out to the group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
Showing a text document . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
Talk to each other . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57
How will you handle handouts and supplemental materials? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57
Tips for supplemental files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57
Are you going to have a Producer? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57
Sponsored Content: Subaru Case Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59
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Chapter 5. Setting Up for Production
Technical set up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61
Registration and tracking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61
Connectivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61
Consider your audio options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62
Software and services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62
Plug-ins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62
Prepare for application sharing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62
Prepare for recording the event . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63
Setting up session rooms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64
Converting and loading content . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64
Speaker preparation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65
Presenter issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .66
Practice, practice, practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67
Speaker coaching and preparation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67
Speaker Topic Support Outline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67
The first coaching session . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68
The second coaching session . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69
The third coaching session . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69
Dealing with the reluctant speaker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69
Learner preparation and communication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70
Participant readiness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70
Invitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72
Sponsored Content: WebEx Connect Partner, GeoLearning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73
Chapter 6. Showtime!
The day of the event . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75
Essential checklists for the day of your event . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75
Managing the online session with the help of an event Producer . . . . . . . . . .75
Learner participation and interaction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77
Introduction to the interface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77
Dealing with connectivity issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79
Preparing users to learn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79
Introducing participants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81
Running the event . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81
Using questions and annotations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83
Using the polling feature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85
Polling in different tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85
Impromptu polling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86
Managing Chat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87
Doing demonstrations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87
Slide viewing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88
Status indicators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88
Audio and video clips, multimedia files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88
Breakout rooms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88
Independent practice activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89
Conducting tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89
Disaster Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89
Common errors and fixes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89
Backup/Plan B . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .90
Online interaction “do’s” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .90
Online interaction “don’ts” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .91
Sponsored Content: BUCA di Beppo Case Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .92
Chapter 7. Wrapping Up and Following Up
Structure the closing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94
The final Question and Answer (or comments) opportunity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94
Display an agenda for the closing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94
Collect Level 1 evaluations (“smile sheets”) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94
Say “Thank You” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95
Assignments and resource links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95
Turn off the recorder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95
Remove any remaining participants for the session room . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95
Close the session room . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96
Clean up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96
Pause for your own professional assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96
Session evaluations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .97
Follow up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .98
Supporting participants for an extended learning program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .98
Connecting with the LMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .98
Using an LMS is a big step . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99
Need to provide support tools for cheap (or free)? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99
Chapter 8. Marketing Internal Synchronous Online Events
You need a plan! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100
Relate to the company objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100
Make it easy to do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101
Promote it . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .102
Keep everyone on board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .102
Weave it into the fabric of the company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103
Share successes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104
Look for impact opportunities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .107
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning vi
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Appendix A. Executive Summaries
Executive Summary: Centra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108
Executive Summary: Elluminate 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112
Executive Summary: WebEx . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .116
Executive Summary: Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .120
Appendix B. The Producer Role . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .124
Appendix C. Speaker Tracking Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .125
Sponsored Content: About The eLearning Guild . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .128
Table of Checklists and Key Information
Links to free online trials (Sidebar 2-1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
Storyboard Form (Figure 4-2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55
Speaker Topic Support Outline (Sidebar 5-1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68
Sample Invitation and Agenda (Sidebar 5-2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70
Moderator’s Checklist (Sidebar 5-3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71
Host/Presenter Technical Checklist (Sidebar 6-1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76
Personal Comfort Checklist (Sidebar 6-2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77
Intro and Closing Slides (Sidebar 6-3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77
Event Crib Notes (Sidebar 6-4) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .82
Closing Checklist (Sidebar 7-1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95
Q & A Layout for Closing (Sidebar 7-2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96
Evaluation Question Poll (Figure 7-2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .97
Presenter Feedback Guide (Sidebar 7-3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .98
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning vii
TABLE OF CONTENTS
S
ynchronous e-Learning goes by a variety of names: virtual classrooms, Web conferences,
Webinars, and online presentations, to list just a few of them. Some of these names are more
common in the education community, some are more about delivery than about collaboration, and
some are more often seen in marketing copy than in practice. We couldn’t improve on the current
selection, so we chose to stay generic rather than add another designation. “Synchronous e-Learning”
will have to do for now.
What all of the descriptions have in common is the use of Web conferencing software to support
live, interactive (more or less) learning events delivered on the World Wide Web. The importance of
this notion is borne out by the fact that there are dozens of Web conferencing applications, all fight-
ing for market share.
Another indication of the importance of synchronous e-Learning is seen in The eLearning Guild’s
live, real-time Guild Research database, online at http://www.elearningguild.com. With thousands of
members reporting which products they use, their satisfaction with each, and the modalities in
which they support learning, we are getting a much better picture of the adoption patterns. We can
slice and dice the data by organization size, industry, number of learners, or in various combinations
of factors. We now see (although the numbers change a bit week-to-week with the addition of more
data) that overall two-thirds of the respondents online are using synchronous e-Learning “often” or
“sometimes” to deliver learning. Compare this to 90% for classroom delivery, and 85% for asynchro-
nous (self-paced) e-Learning, and you can see that live, online learning is an important third leg of
most organizations’ instructional strategies. It will be interesting to watch the trends develop between
these three legs over time.
With these facts in mind, The eLearning Guild decided in the fall of 2006 to put together a hand-
book to support development and production of synchronous e-Learning. No such comprehensive
advice for practitioners existed at the time, perhaps because of the speed with which the technology
is evolving. Although synchronous e-Learning has been around for almost fifty years in more primi-
tive forms, it is only in the last five years that organizations and individuals have had the technology,
the infrastructure, and the bandwidth to make it practical for widespread adoption.
We have enlisted the aid of four experts who are themselves leaders in the field to create this little
handbook. Together with the information available in The Guild’s periodic Research Reports on syn-
chronous e-Learning, and the up-to-date information on products and on actual projects in our Live
Research online, we believe the contents of our Guide will serve readers well.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning viii
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on
Synchronous
e-Learning
By Bill Brandon, Editor
I N T R O D U C T I O N
Who should
use this book?
The eLearning Guild’s
Handbook on Synch-
ronous e-Learning is
intended for anyone and
everyone who wants to
produce, lead, or pro-
mote live, interactive
learning events on the
Web.
Novices will find infor-
mation on what other
people are doing in this
medium, which kinds of
training and education
are best suited to it,
how to convert existing
classroom content for
delivery online, how to
lead effective and com-
pelling live learning
events on the Web, and
how to promote these
events to obtain maxi-
mum participation.
More experienced
practitioners, including
experts, will find a
wealth of ideas that they
can use to improve or
enhance their current
processes.
All readers will find
job aids, references,
examples, and informa-
tion to significantly
reduce the amount of
time required to produce
online learning events.
Karen Hyder
Karen Hyder has been using technology to teach about technology since 1991 when she began
offering applications software courses for Logical Operations and for Ziff-Davis Education at the
crest of the Windows and Microsoft Office explosion. In 1995 she was promoted to Director of
Trainer Development, teaching classes to help trainers improve skills and earn certification. In 1999
Karen began a consulting firm to offer train-the-trainer courses including using synchronous online
software tools. Her clients include AMS, Cigna, Compuware, Microsoft and Morgan Stanley. Karen is
part of the team developing CompTIA’s eTrainer Certification (CTT+e). She has served on Comp-
TIA’s Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) Advisory Committee since its inception in 2001.
In 2003, Karen helped launch and manage The eLearning Guild Online Forums, a series of online
conference sessions for e-Learning development professionals. Karen has coached hundreds of
speakers to prepare for Online Forum sessions using Elluminate and Acrobat Connect Professional
(formerly Adobe Breeze). A frequent speaker on synchronous training topics, Karen recently present-
ed at The Guild’s DevLearn Conference and Adobe MAX in October 2006. Karen will also present at
ASTD in February 2007 and The Guild’s Annual Gathering in Boston, April 2007.
Ann Kwinn
Ann Kwinn is Partner and Director of e-Learning for Clark Training & Consulting, where she
teaches courses in instructional design and e-Learning, manages the e-Learning Certification pro-
gram, consults with clients on training design and strategy, and wrote The e-Learning Producer semi-
nar. In the past 19 years, Ann has worked on over 25 e-Learning programs, winning three CINDY
awards, and was one of Multimedia Producer magazine’s Top 100 Producers. She has presented at
many conferences, and has written approximately 30 articles, book chapters, and reviews. Ann holds
a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from USC, was a research fellow at ETS, and taught at UC
Irvine. She is co-author with Ruth Clark of the book, The New Virtual Classroom.
Ron Miazga
Ron Miazga is Director of Learning and Intranet Services at Univar USA, North America’s largest
wholesale chemical distributor. He has more than 25 years of experience in the learning design and
development fields. At Univar USA, Ron created the Learning Universe, an Intranet learning portal
that provides a gateway to learning services for an internal network of 150 company locations. Most
recently he developed LearnNET, an online, real-time connection that provides for virtual collabora-
tion. Ron is a member of the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD). He has facili-
tated sessions at several TechLearn Conferences, WBT Producer Conferences, and eLearning Guild
Conferences on the subject of virtual collaboration. Ron earned an MA in Human Resources
Development from George Washington University.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning ix
About the Authors
I N T R O D U C T I O N
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning x
ABOUT THE AUTHORS | I NTRODUCTI ON
Matthew Murray
Matthew Murray is a Learning Solutions Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he oversees
virtual classroom operations. He has a Ph.D. in Communication Arts from the University of Wis-
consin-Madison, and a background in Webcasting, Web conferencing, and internet media. Prior
to joining PwC, Matthew spent over a decade teaching, researching, and producing media and
e-Learning at the college level. He has delivered dozens of presentations and written numerous
articles on distance learning, new media, broadcasting history, and media theory.
Acknowledgments
Ann Kwinn would like to thank Mark Bucceri and Brian Mulliner for permission to quote them in
Chapter 3.
Karen Hyder would like to recognize Ray Jimenez for his contribution to Chapter 7. She would
also like to thank Deborah Kenny, Mary Keith Resseau, and Jeff Gordon for permission to use their
materials.
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I NTRODUCTI ON TO SYNCHRONOUS E- LEARNI NG | CHAPTER 1
A
lthough you might never have consciously considered it, you’ve already logged many thou-
sands of hours in a synchronous learning environment. It’s the traditional foundation of the
school and college experience, the familiar standard against which all other learning models are com-
pared and measured.
What is synchronous e-Learning?
Synchronous learning is live, real-time (and usually scheduled), facilitated instruction and learn-
ing-oriented interaction. I’ve emphasized “learning-oriented interaction” in order to differentiate syn-
chronous learning from lecture, product demonstrations, and other “knowledge dispersal” activities.
In my opinion (backed by plenty of research findings), the interaction is essential to learning.
Synchronous e-Learning is synchronous learning that takes place through electronic means.
Synchronous learning is distinguished from self-paced asynchronous learning, which students access
intermittently on demand. Table 1-1 on page 2 compares synchronous e-Learning to asynchronous
e-Learning.
These terms don’t always apply cleanly to specific examples. Creating and attending a synchronous
e-Learning session can involve asynchronous experiences (pre-registering or conducting a diagnostic
technical check), but the learning experience is live and real-time.
The term “blended learning” can refer to a combination of synchronous and asynchronous experi-
ences. For clarification, blended learning is also applied to mixed online and face-to-face training,
and more generally to approaches to course design and delivery that combine different modalities
(e.g., self-paced Web-based training, followed by classroom instruction, accompanied by printed job
aids, and supplemented by virtual classroom follow-up sessions). This might take place at a course
level: for example, mixing asynchronous e-Learning modules and synchro-
nous sessions. Or it could occur at the session level: for instance, integrating
self-paced exercises within a live virtual classroom session.
Synchronous e-Learning has grown rapidly to become a significant com-
ponent in most organizations and training environments. A September 2005
eLearning Guild research report indicated that about 90% of respondents
had participated in a synchronous e-Learning event. (See The Synchronous
e-Learning Research Report 2005, available through The eLearning Guild
Research Archives at http://www.elearningguild.com. As of November 2006,
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 1
Introduction
to Synchronous
e-Learning
By Matthew Murray
C H A P T E R 1
In Chapter 1 you will find information about:
• What is synchronous e-Learning?
• Synchronous e-Learning technology categories
• The roots of synchronous e-Learning
• The learning needs for synchronous e-Learning
• The business case for synchronous e-Learning
• Integration points and challenges
Contents
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 2
I NTRODUCTI ON TO SYNCHRONOUS E- LEARNI NG | CHAPTER 1
almost two-thirds (63%) of e-Learning Guild survey respondents reported using synchronous
e-Learning “Often” or “Sometimes.” (See the “Live & Interactive” section of “Guild Research,” at
http://www.elearningguild.com.) Its use was particularly marked in high tech sectors like computer
manufacturing and telecommunications. Respondents from large organizations were the most likely
to use synchronous e-Learning, although employees at mid- and small-size companies were also
using the tools in large numbers.
Despite the growing presence of synchronous e-Learning, there is still uncertainty about how best
to plan, design, and deliver for this medium. The field has developed so rapidly that best practices
are only now starting to emerge. A lack of clarity and consistency exists over exactly what synchro-
nous e-Learning is and how it is delivered. This chapter provides an overview of synchronous
e-Learning and identifies its key uses and benefits. It outlines the technologies employed, lists the
typical learning needs that synchronous e-Learning fulfills, and summarizes the most important
factors to consider when developing a business case for its deployment.
You may know synchronous e-Learning by another name, or by one of the myriad modes that
it can take: virtual classroom, Webcasting, Web conferencing, videoconferencing, Webinars, live
e-Learning, eConferencing, ... . You might just know it by reference to a particular vendor, tool or
software program that enables the creation and delivery of synchronous e-Learning. We’ll sort
through the terminology and types of tools available, but let’s first reiterate our definition: Synch-
ronous e-Learning is live, real-time, interactive, electronically-enabled learning. Synchronous
e-Learning sessions can usually be recorded and played back, but that’s not their primary strength
or purpose. Our focus is on the live and the collaborative.
Synchronous e-Learning technology
categories
The spectrum of synchronous e-Learning technologies and
options can appear overwhelming at first. New tools appear
with regularity, and existing tools are frequently upgraded or
expanded to improve performance and incorporate new fea-
tures. And while the tools are morphing, converging, and re-
configuring, the terms and labels associated with them be-
come more loosely applied and flexible — further adding to
the complexity associated with comprehending and discussing
the field. You may wish to refer to the Executive Summaries of
some of the more popular tools in Appendix A.
Although synchronous e-Learning is about utilizing tools
to achieve effective training and education, identifying the
main categories of synchronous e-Learning technologies is a
good place to begin. Even though the rest of this book deals
with what I will refer to as the “Web conferencing” category,
it is important to differentiate these terms:
• Teleconferencing and its major sub-categories, audiocon-
ferencing and videoconferencing;
• Webcasting;
• Gaming and simulations; and
• Web conferencing.
Synchronous vs. asynchronous e-Learning
Synchronous
e-Learning
• Real-time
• Live
• Usually scheduled and
time-specific (but can
be impromptu)
• Collective and often
collaborative
• Simultaneous virtual
presence (with other
learners and facilita-
tors or instructors)
• Concurrent learning
with others
• Instant messaging
• Online chat
• Live Webcasting
• Audioconferencing
• Videoconferencing
• Web conferencing
• Intermittent access or
interaction
• Self-paced
• Individual, or intermit-
tently collaborative
• Independent learning
• Usually available
any time
• Recorded or
pre-produced
• E-mail
• Threaded discussion
• Boards
• Web-based training
• Podcasting
• DVD
• Computer-based
training
Asynchronous
e-Learning
Distinctive features Examples
Table 1-1
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Teleconferencing
What is it? This term is context specific, and is used differently by different people. Some associate
“tele” (a prefix to signify “at a distance”) with the telephone and use it synonymously with audiocon-
ferencing; others associate it with television and use it to mean videoconferencing. It’s also employed
as a blanket term to reference all technology-enabled conferencing. To avoid confusion, I recom-
mend adopting the terms audioconferencing or videoconferencing instead.
Audioconferencing
What is it? Also known as conference calling, this is audio-only interaction via telephone.
Why use it? While the tool is primarily used for meetings and project updates, training that utilizes
audioconferencing can achieve impressive results. Since it is relatively inexpensive and readily avail-
able, most organizations can easily implement synchronous training this way. The approach has been
largely superseded by more recent technological advances. But although it is often overlooked as a
limited, low-tech option, the form has undergone something of a renaissance recently — driven by
easy access for mobile workers (through cell phones), improved audio quality and call management
options, and the lure of quickly repurposing recorded conference calls as downloadable Podcasts.
Best practices? Audioconferences are often used in association with other delivery means (such as
sending out slides and materials through e-mail, or simultaneous integration with Webcasts and vir-
tual classroom sessions). Audioconferences can draw from radio design and delivery techniques to
engage learners, and provide abundant opportunities to integrate feedback and knowledge sharing
(in the mode of an educationally-oriented “call-in talk show” or “ask-the-expert” format).
Videoconferencing
What is it? Full screen video and audio, either point-to-point or bridged multipoint. Most systems
also permit screen sharing and document camera source inputs. Data signals are transmitted over
high speed dedicated telephone lines (ISDN model), or over the Internet (IP model).
Why use it? Often employed as an executive meeting tool, videoconferencing holds great potential
for synchronous learning. Its full screen video and high audio quality make it the form that most
closely emulates the face-to-face experience and human co-presence. Once the preserve of expensive,
high-end conference and boardroom suites, videoconferencing has become more portable and less
hardware dependent. The move from ISDN- to IP-supported videoconferencing has reduced line
charges and permitted easier integration with desktop systems. Videoconferencing currently appears
to be diverging into two directions: high definition “telepresence” (particularly well suited to training
fields, such as medicine, where visual clarity is crucial), and standard definition integrated desktop
and suite systems that provide full screen, Webcam-driven audiovisual communication. Both threads
are progressing towards fuller conferencing feature integration, such as desktop sharing,
supplementary text Chat, etc. While a specialized market for high definition, hardware-dependent
systems will always remain, it’s reasonable to assume that the distinction between standard definition
videoconferencing and Web conferencing will continue to blur and eventually disappear.
Best Practices? Videoconferencing is well suited to group training split between two or more loca-
tions. Its historically high initial capital investment had limited its use to large organizations with
dispersed learners (for instance, bridging together classes in Toronto, Portland, and Phoenix with
learners and instructors in Atlanta), or guest speakers and class exchanges between educational insti-
tutions. Videoconferencing works most effectively when the classroom environment can be repro-
duced remotely, through “smart classrooms” with daisy-chained microphones that pick up all partic-
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ipants’ comments, split screen, and multistream video feeds. Its unparalleled full screen video capa-
bilities also provide integration opportunities for videoconferencing with other technologies: routing
in high quality audio/video of remote presenters for live Webcast feeds, for example.
Webcasting
What is it? Again, this term is applied variously (sometimes incorrectly) by different users. It is
sometimes employed as a generic reference to all Internet communication technologies that transmit
audio and/or video. This is inaccurate, and a distinction should be retained between Webcasting and
Web conferencing (described below), although it is true that the features and vendor offerings in
both spaces are converging. Webcasting as a term was derived from the concept of broadcasting over
the Web. As this etymology implies, the expression originally referenced audio and video sent from a
single source to multiple passive receivers, either live or on demand. Webcasting utilizes streaming
media to transmit audio/video efficiently over the Internet. These media streams are encoded and
decoded using a common system format (e.g. Windows Media, RealMedia, Flash Video, QuickTime,
or DivX).
Webcasting can refer simply to one-way audio/video streams. However, numerous services and
tools have emerged, providing more sophisticated communication options that are synchronized
with the audio-video stream — most commonly presentation slides, real-time text captioning, text
Chat, polling, and file downloads. In other words, fuller features and opportunities for interactivity
have been introduced into some Webcasting services, challenging its differentiation from Web con-
ferencing. Nevertheless, it is still appropriate and valuable to use Webcasting to refer to unidirection-
al (one-way) point-to-multipoint synchronous communication, with limited or restricted interactiv-
ity features, that is based around high quality streaming audio and video.
Why use it? Webcasting is principally utilized for presentation-style, knowledge-dispersal types of
learning. Webcasts are typically most practical for reaching large volumes of learners simultaneously,
so the opportunities for complex interaction with learners are intentionally restricted. This also
reduces demands on computer processor performance and network activity, making Webcasts an
appealing option for reaching diverse groups of learners at varying bandwidths. Webcasts can be
designed and delivered very quickly and at relatively low cost. Although the video window of a
Webcast is typically quite small, the image quality can be very good — well suited to talking heads
and pre-recorded video scenario roll-ins. Recorded Webcasts replay well in playback mode, since
only a limited amount of learner interactivity is lost. This can extend the shelf life of a synchronous
learning Webcast as a repurposed job aid or knowledge object.
Best practices? Training Webcasts have been derided in some circles for taking on a lecture format
that offers little in the way of learning appeal: static video of a presenter expert who pontificates end-
lessly on minutiae, accompanied by text-heavy slides, delivered to isolated, passive learners who fall
asleep, multitask, or lose interest. While it’s obviously important to avoid the trappings of a boring
Webcast, the tool can be used extremely effectively with the prerequisite instructional design. Web-
casts can draw upon established media techniques to engage learners and improve the delivery of
materials through panel formats (multiple perspectives), engaging audio (background music and
transition bridges), high quality motion graphics, and animations. Learners in many industries and
workplace roles benefit from the didactic, information delivery approach which is the hallmark of
live Webcasting. For instance, the form is very popular among specialized communities and disci-
plines that thrive upon rapid dissemination of current and dense visual information (e.g. practition-
ers in medicine and the health sciences; legal professionals; government agencies reaching field units,
etc.).
Gaming and simulations
What is it? Online virtual environments or challenges that respond and dynamically adjust to
learner input.
Why use it? While this field is still in its infancy, it is advancing rapidly and has strong support
from those who advocate the myriad benefits of verisimilitude, immersive learning environments
and “realistic” problem-based scenarios. Simulations permit participants to learn through practice,
and to measure the consequences of actions in a safe context (rather than on the job). Games and
simulations also promise to facilitate the online learning of psychomotor skills, long regarded as a
field of instruction requiring face-to-face demonstration and practice.
Best practices? Most games and simulations are currently single player and self-paced, or multi-
player and asynchronous. But the advent of MMLOGs (Massive MultiLearner Online Games) is
close at hand, presenting the possibility of truly immersive virtual campuses with synchronous train-
ing events and advanced, risk-free practice and simulation opportunities. Sophisticated games and
simulations are particularly appealing to high risk industries and occupations (such as aviation,
financial services, military, law enforcement, and medicine), where the potential fiscal and health
dangers associated with an unskilled workforce are especially high.
Web conferencing
What is it? Highly interactive, Internet-based applications with a rich collaboration feature set (e.g.
audio/video from presenters and learners, application sharing, whiteboarding and markup tools,
breakout rooms, polling, quizzing, hand raising and emoticon responses, slides and media, Web site
tours, public/private text Chat). It is capable of scaling from small groups to hundreds or thousands
of simultaneous users.
When people discuss “synchronous e-Learning,” they are typically referring to Web conferencing.
Web conferencing technologies offer tremendous potential for robust interactivity and collaboration
through their versatility and rich feature options. Again, the terminology in this area is a little fuzzy.
The distinction between “virtual classroom” and “Web conferencing” is largely subjective (although
some people, typically in academic environments, use virtual classroom to refer to asynchronous
online course technologies, and others consider Web conferencing to represent the business end of
synchronous usage, or only synchronous e-Learning delivered to larger participant groups). Other
terms that are used synonymously with Web conferencing include “live e-Learning,”“synchronous
e-Learning,”“Internet collaboration” and a slew of vendor-inspired monikers. Note that the com-
monly trumpeted “Webinar” can refer to a Webcast or Web conference: usually one promising an
expert presentation on a specific knowledge topic.
Why use it? Web conferencing allows for highly collaborative online learning among geographical-
ly dispersed employees. Its interactive architecture is especially well suited to smaller class sizes and a
facilitative, rather than didactic, teaching methodology. Web conferencing permits learners to easily
share ideas and experiences, ask follow-up questions, and participate in practice exercises and case
study discussions. It also carries numerous secondary benefits, such as community building and net-
working.
Best practices? Of all online e-Learning formats, Web conferencing excels in the development of
“higher order” learning skills (such as synthesis, analysis, socialization, acculturation). The tool lends
itself nicely to attitudinal subjects that require interpretation and mutual understanding (such as
ethics issues, legal elucidation, policy readings). It permits instructors to illustrate the diversity of
knowledge among participants, or build consensus among groups. Its “flat” multipoint-to-multi-
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point structure encourages knowledge sharing among participants and collaborative learning proj-
ects. The virtual classroom also permits the successful delivery of risk-free role playing exercises,
hypothetical scenarios, community of practice development, and dialogic exchange. Application
sharing features make this tool especially attractive to software trainers and proponents of real-time
team exercises. Overall, the greatest advantage of Web conferencing is the ability for instructors to
present content in a number of different ways, solicit feedback and provide clarification, and then
facilitate learner practice and collaborative problem solving.
As previously noted, the synchronous technologies identified above are currently undergoing sig-
nificant convergence and redefinition. Telephony and audioconferenc-
ing services at many organizations are moving to Voice over Internet
Protocol (VoIP) handsets, at the same time that many Web conference
services are offering gateway integration between VoIP and regular
PBX/PSTN telephony. Mobile devices are rapidly adding features that
exploit their visual interfaces, larger memories and higher bandwidth
cellular networks, indicating that videoconferencing and Web confer-
encing integration is close at hand for the mobile learner, facilitator,
and presenter.
Knowing that the field is a constantly moving target, it’s easy to get
caught up in the technology itself and lose sight of the learning objec-
tives you are trying to realize. As e-Learning professionals, we need to
be able to move with the times and anticipate new directions, but
speculation about future trends doesn’t add much value in and of
itself. It’s best to consider which approaches to real-time voice, video,
and data-based learning best suit your organization’s learning needs
and most appropriately fit your technology environment. Do your
research, but avoid “analysis paralysis.” Move forward with enthusiasm, perspective, and confidence.
The roots of synchronous e-Learning
Like most successful technology areas, synchronous e-Learning emerged to fill a need and then
expanded to provide options previously unavailable to early adopters. The roots of synchronous
e-Learning derive from three main influences: the classroom, the media, and the conference. (See
Figure 1-1.)
As the name “virtual classroom” indicates, highly interactive forms of synchronous e-Learning
were developed to emulate the classroom experience. This is evident also in the nomenclature of
some of the functionality: hand raising, whiteboarding, stepping out. Instructors have been quick to
draw upon training room techniques to create engaging synchronous e-Learning. The metaphor of
the classroom also helps to structure the learning experience and provide a familiar context within
which participants and presenters can interact.
Trainers are increasingly recognizing the value of mass media techniques for presenting effective
and stimulating e-Learning. This area is still maturing, but for large audiences and limited interactiv-
ity events, synchronous e-Learning Producers are beginning to draw on mass media formats (talk
shows, expert panels, mockumentary scenarios, etc.) and mass media devices (layered audio, atten-
tion grabbing introductions, narrative threads, and serialized episodes with recurring characters and
examples). The declining cost and increasing ease-of-use of media hardware and software has
encouraged more organizations to incorporate more sophisticated audio-visual design within their
training delivery.
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Figure 1-1
Synchronous e-Learning
has roots in the class-
room, online conferencing,
and mass media formats.
As an organized opportunity to network, share ideas, and collectively develop best practices, the
conference has been another formative influence on the development of synchronous e-Learning
technologies and practices. I use “conference” here to imply an opportunity for exchange and collab-
oration that might range from small and closed (internal, conference room) to large and open (pub-
lic conferences and industry expositions. For most organizations, the
internal conference refers to something more formal than a meeting
or discussion, designed to generate ideas or disseminate information
among a group or division. Hence, the early adoption of audioconfer-
encing and videoconferencing as a means to reproduce that face-to-
face interaction.
But while it is indebted to the classroom, the media, and the conference as forms of influence, syn-
chronous e-Learning is its own form of communication, collaboration, and education. Anyone who
attempts to simply reproduce instruction from the classroom, imitate styles and genres from the
media, or recreate the conference environment will fail to excel. Synchronous e-Learning is most
fundamentally about connecting people through technology to enhance competencies and promote
understanding. Used appropriately, synchronous e-Learning tools permit instructional designers
and facilitators to create truly engaging learning experiences. Designed effectively, synchronous
e-Learning energizes and enables participants to enhance competencies and develop their skills,
attitudes and behaviors.
The learning needs for synchronous e-Learning
Before you consider building a business case for synchronous e-Learning in your organization,
you should determine whether a “learning need” exists and whether your organization is ready to
implement this approach. Your needs assessment and learning objectives should drive the selection
of an appropriate delivery approach and align more generally with your business case. (See Figure 1-
2.) Implementing synchronous e-Learning approaches might generate some short term economic
savings, but long term targets won’t be achieved if they are used inappropriately: learning effective-
ness will decrease, training objectives won’t be realized, and you’ll be forced to re-evaluate your deliv-
ery systems. Chapter 3 addresses the issues of delivery approach selection and design, including con-
version of existing classroom materials for use in synchronous e-Learning.
With this caveat, there are plenty of great reasons to adopt synchronous e-Learning approaches.
Determining whether a learning need for synchronous e-Learning exists is rooted in its core definers.
Synchronous e-Learning is live, real-time, interactive, collaborative and participatory, versatile, multi-
modal (combining text, audio, video, graphics, etc.), and, most importantly, fun and effective. Some
of the key advantages to using synchronous e-Learning include:
Connecting dispersed learners: Synchronous methods are especially well suited to organizations
with geographically distributed learning populations. For instance, you may have a nationwide audi-
ence of regional sales representatives who need updating on product features and enhancements. Or
you might have global franchisees requiring orientation around standard customer service skills.
Firms with telecommuters and remote learners will also realize tremendous advantages by reaching
these employees at their own locations.
Real-time interaction and collaboration: Synchronous tools allow us to engage with other people
in real time, a very natural process that permits a spontaneous and flowing learning session. Answers
to questions are immediate and clarification can be provided directly. Synchronous tools also lend
themselves well to structured collaborative assignments. The social dimension of synchronous tools
creates a learning synergy.
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Figure 1-2
The business case for your
selection of delivery mode
arises from the combina-
tion of organizational
needs and organizational
readiness.
Sense of immediacy and co-presence: Synchronous tools are ideal for conveying late-breaking
and time sensitive information. Since the human presence is so “front and center” when using these
tools, the warm learner experience that is generated allays anxieties about the mechanical or deper-
sonalized nature of technology-enabled learning.
Fostering a learning community: Learners benefit from sharing ideas and experiences with their
colleagues. A major advantage to synchronous e-Learning tools is the development of a sense of con-
nectedness and community among learners. Long term impacts can include better teamwork and
collaboration skills, improved employee retention, stronger morale, and the formation of a collective
identity. Adult learners, in particular, respond positively to peer support and opportunities to bond
with their colleagues. Polling tools and other synchronous features can be utilized to build a sense of
consensus, or to identify a respect for the diversity of ideas among a workforce.
Balancing learning dynamics: Synchronous e-Learning can reduce imbalances and create a more
egalitarian learning experience. It can avoid the power dynamics of the face-to-face learning environ-
ment, where extroverts can dominate and where gender and other personal identifiers can impact
group activities. Used effectively, synchronous e-Learning tools can overcome some of those barriers
and level the field (although technical literacy can create imbalances among learners if not accounted
for correctly). The use of anonymous feedback tools (such as polls and surveys) can increase the
comfort level of online participants by reducing the fears that adult learners often have around
answering incorrectly in front of their peers. On the other hand, the use of tools that do identify the
originator (such as text Chat) can permit participants to shine in front of their colleagues and create
a healthy competition. More generally, the variety of tools and communication choices available in
synchronous e-Learning (text Chat, audio, polling, etc.) provides numerous options for connecting
with diverse learners with different learning styles.
Unique functionality: Many synchronous e-Learning tools include features and functionality that
offer unparalleled opportunities for fast and effective learning. Whiteboarding and markup tools can
permit class exercises that can be easily saved and recalled. Application sharing allows for rapid and
easy group work. Web tours can guide learners to specific points of interest.
Extending application demonstrations and Web safaris: Organizations that provide software and
desktop training can benefit tremendously from the real-time application demonstration features of
synchronous tools. Many tools also provide integrated virtual lab components, permitting super-
vised simultaneous practice sessions and “online sandbox” learning.
Synthesizing materials and concepts: Process-oriented tasks and information-heavy materials are
best taught through asynchronous, on-demand training or reference materials. But the collaborative
nature of synchronous tools makes them well suited to permitting learners to synthesize complex
ideas and address “grey” areas. Synchronous e-Learning provides an online means for group learning
techniques through discussions and dialogue, problem-solving exercises, and thoughtful reflection.
Access to valuable Subject Matter Expert resources: Many training organizations face the chal-
lenge of accessing subject matter expertise from highly experienced (and incredibly busy) senior
members of the firm. Synchronous tools permit firms to tap into the deep knowledge and sharp
minds of SMEs without significantly disrupting their schedule. These SMEs are usually the ones who
are most aware of recent and emerging developments in their market area, and synchronous training
provides the opportunity to rapidly convey that information. Large scale events ensure that a consis-
tent message is delivered by senior management to all levels of the organization.
Train the Trainer: Synchronous e-Learning is especially well suited to training dispersed instructors
(who might oversee regional training centers) and ensuring standardized training for all trainers. It
provides numerous opportunities for reciprocal training, mini-challenges, fishbowl exercises, etc.
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Informal learning: Once adopted by an organization, synchronous collaboration tools create
points of exchange in everyday workflow behaviors that generate moments of informal learning.
Avoiding conventional pitfalls: The versatility of synchronous e-Learning allows trainers to avoid
the pitfalls often associated with conventional face-to-face training. Often the cost of travelling re-
sults in marathon residential training programs where knowledge retention suffers. By focusing on
facilitated learning and short, timely sessions, synchronous e-Learning is typically more learner-cen-
tric than many conventional training programs.
The business case for synchronous e-Learning
Having established the learning need, let’s consider some of the economic and productivity advan-
tages to using synchronous e-Learning:
Cost effective: Synchronous e-Learning is usually far more cost effective than face-to-face instruc-
tion. This is especially true for larger organizations that require participants and/or instructors to
travel to central training locations. But it’s increasingly true for medium and SOHO (Small Office
and Home Office) businesses as well, since numerous lower-cost options targeting non-enterprise
clients have entered the market in the last few years. Remember that ROI should be measured by
learning effectiveness, not driven by short term cost savings. Most organizations are moving towards
a blended learning approach, optimizing face-to-face, asynchronous and synchronous online delivery
methods.
Productivity and workflow benefits: Synchronous e-Learning improves employee productivity by
reducing travel strain, eliminating unnecessary time away from home, and connecting with learners
at their point of work (rather than in unfamiliar classroom environments).
Recordable and replayable: Most synchronous training sessions can be easily recorded and played
back. Many offer increasingly sophisticated opportunities for editing and repurposing (into portable
and/or offline formats). Make no mistake; the true value of synchronous e-Learning is its live, real-
time delivery. But the availability of playbacks (for those who missed the live session, or as an on-
demand refresher) expands its reach and long term ROI potential.
Scalability: Many synchronous tools thrive upon smaller learning groups with a high level of
interactivity. But some methods (Webcasts, for example) are typically less interactive and can scale
up to large volumes of simultaneous learners and realize significant cost-per-user savings.
Extending the reach: Synchronous tools are especially effective for expanding into new markets
and generating new learning communities. Organizations can reach new prospects and build an
extended client base through Webinars (collecting contact information on attendees that feeds into a
Customer Relationship Management database). Internally, synchronous tools can also contribute to
improved knowledge sharing across departments and functional units.
Competitive business advantages: Synchronous tools permit rapid training development and
delivery, providing competitive business advantages for organizations concerned with shorter pro-
duction cycles and faster time-to-market rollouts. Organizations experiencing frequent employee
turnover and workforce changes (through mergers and acquisitions, etc.) will recognize advantages
in bringing new workers up to speed quickly. Synchronous e-Learning can improve Quality of
Service benchmarks by ensuring a consistent standard of content and instruction. Benchmark your
competition and see where you stand in relation to their use of these approaches.
Timely delivery and reusability: Synchronous sessions can provide relevant and succinct just-in-
time training for employees when coordinated with the business calendar (e.g. seasonal training ini-
tiatives, end-of-year HR updates, or compliance deadlines). Most synchronous e-Learning tools per-
mit reusing the same content in a series of sessions aimed at multiple learner groups, thus reducing
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redundant design and development time and encouraging easy customization. Some tools provide
opportunities for seamless integration with Content Management Systems and learning content
authoring processes.
Automated learner recording and reporting: Many synchronous e-Learning services track learner
attendance and participation. This automated reporting reduces administrative inefficiencies and can
typically be integrated with other internal record keeping systems (such as Learning Management
Systems, Performance and Talent Management systems, certification assessment programs, etc.).
Extending training budgets: Organizations invested in face-to-face learning typically spend about
70% of total training costs on travel, lodging, and catering. Synchronous e-Learning also eliminates
meeting space requirements and numerous fixed and variable costs (which can range from property
overheads to catering to projector rentals).
Integration points and challenges
When developing a business case for synchronous e-Learning, there are clearly a multitude of fac-
tors to take into account. Your cause will be made significantly easier if you can persuade senior
management to champion the transition. Change management is crucial, and a clear projection of
mutual benefits will help to build support from the various constituencies that will be affected by a
synchronous e-Learning roll-out plan: curriculum designers, course designers, instructors, HR, IT,
and other stakeholders.
Common sense and practical reality usually mandate that a phased transition is more effective and
less disruptive than a major overhaul of your delivery methods. Identify advocates and pilot projects
that will adapt well to the new approach. Develop a program around a series of synchronous events
— it takes a few sessions before instructors and participants really start to feel comfortable with the
new tool. Adult learners have a low tolerance for technical problems and time-wasting during train-
ing, and you’ll want to eliminate any kinks during a trial period. Solicit feedback and support along
the way. Ensure that your strategic objectives are achievable and can illustrate real and measurable
advantages that reinforce the projections in your business case.
It’s crucial not to consider synchronous e-Learning methods in isolation from the rest of your
organization’s needs and operations. Significant economies of scale can be realized if you can lever-
age the demand for these tools outside the training department. It’ll also save you enormous head-
aches in the long run if you achieve consensus among all stakeholders with an interest in supporting
and utilizing these technologies: typically the IT department, the Communications and Marketing
departments, Sales, Human Resources, and quite possibly a number of other interested parties
depending on the size and structure of your organization.
Our focus in this handbook is on e-Learning, but these tools provide significant opportunities and
benefits for improved teamwork, improved productivity, virtual meetings, mobile workforce connec-
tivity, and a host of other business functions. For example, videoconferencing is frequently mobilized
for board meetings, interviewing, coaching/mentoring, remote management presentations, project
kick-off sessions, and a myriad other uses. Most Web conferencing vendors provide a suite of prod-
ucts that range from supporting instant workflow collaboration meetings, through classroom ses-
sions, to larger-scale scheduled events.
A number of options exist around selecting and implementing synchronous e-Learning technolo-
gies. The first decision is whether to use an existing service or product or build one yourself. Some
organizations with specialist needs have created their own custom solutions. Given the complexity of
these systems, this is not a decision that should be undertaken lightly. But the growing availability of
freeware, shareware, and open source software in this area does make it a viable option for organiza-
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tions with the necessary in-house resources. An additional decision with Webcasting is whether to
choose a self-service or full-service model. Self-service requires your trainers and staff to prepare and
upload materials and run an event; a full-service provider will, at a price, provide specialist staff to
deliver those functions. Most Web conferencing systems assume an integrated self-service model, but
there is usually an accompanying learning curve associated with understanding how to successfully
prepare and run a session. Additional discussion of these points in Chapter 2 may be useful to you.
Webcasting and Web conferencing services can be internally hosted within your organization’s IT
infrastructure, or externally hosted by a vendor (commonly referred to as an Application Service
Provider, or ASP model). Some vendors offer both models, whereas others offer only one or the
other. The typical advantages to internal hosting are integration with your other internal systems,
server control, firewall protection and security considerations, and long term cost savings with high
volume usage. ASP solutions are fast to activate, require low initial investment, reduce the burden on
your existing IT resources and infrastructure, sometimes offer better performance through integra-
tion with specialist global content distribution networks, offer helpdesk support, and eliminate the
need for upgrading and patching the software. Whether to host internally or externally is a complex
issue, but many smaller organizations find the ASP model more realistic, while larger enterprises
tend to prefer the internal hosting option.
Pricing models for synchronous technologies vary widely, and are affected by whether you host
internally or use an ASP structure, the number of users, and whether you select a full-service or self-
service model. Prices for synchronous e-Learning services have generally declined over the past few
years, making it even more appealing to smaller organizations and training operations. A few of the
most common pricing structures are:
• Monthly subscription: a monthly fee for a certain number of simultaneous seats on an external
ASP system
• Annual fee: a yearly license charge for internal hosting and unlimited volume
• Per minute, per user, pay as you go: a popular ASP structure for low volume users or new users
testing the water.
Integrating with your other internal systems may be crucial. You’ll typically want as seamless an
end-user process as possible for learners and system administrators. Part of your implementation
checklist should evaluate how well a synchronous e-Learning solution integrates with your LMS,
evaluation and assessment system, LDAP directories, presence/IM/collaboration tool, CRM, Learning
Content Management System, and other potential points of data exchange, authentication, and
reporting.
Working with your IT unit, you should conduct a feasibility analysis of potential vendors. Many
e-Learning vendors provide integrated service and product suites that cover a broad range of learn-
ing technology needs and might provide cost savings, simplified vendor relationships, and fewer cus-
tomizations to out-of-the-box solutions.
While there are numerous advantages to adopting synchronous e-Learning, there are also chal-
lenges and limitations to consider. These range from the logistical to the pedagogical to the techno-
logical.
• Logistical: Time zone differences are significant for live training, especially for global events. If
you have a largely mobile workforce, determine whether synchronous attendance is the most
appropriate method for reaching them. Typically you won’t replace another training strategy
completely; you may need to have resources capable of also providing face-to-face and asynchro-
nous online methods.
• Pedagogical: Synchronous e-Learning requires the resources and know-how for effective design.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 11
I NTRODUCTI ON TO SYNCHRONOUS E- LEARNI NG | CHAPTER 1
Existing face-to-face course designs will need to be repurposed for the more interactive require-
ments of the virtual classroom. “Death by PowerPoint” will reduce learning effectiveness and cre-
ate negative connotations among learners. Expect to invest in a program for training trainers on
designing and developing use of these tools. Respect global cultural differences; identify and em-
brace how trainees respond variously to virtual synchronous approaches.
• Technological: Bandwidth is crucial. Although some online synchronous tools can scale down for
modem users, most require stable connections and high bandwidth. Consider also the firmwide
impact on your network of multiple simultaneous users. Identify your audience. Will you need a
cross-platform, cross-browser solution? Coordinate any reconfiguration or restrictions on port,
protocol, firewall, and file type policies with your IT representatives.
You’ll find additional discussion of these points and many others affecting production in Chapters
4, 5, and 6.
Summary
The September 2005 e-Learning Guild research report I referenced earlier indicated that about
90% of respondents had participated in a synchronous e-Learning event. The biggest benefits for
learners were listed as, “immediate interaction and feedback from live instructors and SMEs,”“col-
laboration and social learning with other learners,”“reduced travel costs,” and “reduced time away
from work or home.” The biggest disadvantages were listed as “technical problems with hardware,
software, set-up, or connections,”“too little learner engagement or interactivity,”“facilitators are not
usually skilled in synchronous remote delivery techniques,” and “bandwidth limitations.”
The subject areas reported most commonly covered were technical training, product knowledge,
business skills, desktop applications, and company policies and procedures — although it is perti-
nent to note a focus on soft skills development and HR-related issues as well.
As this chapter has described, synchronous e-Learning tools are extremely flexible and adaptable
to many different learning opportunities. Their personalized nature and collaborative potential will
continue to advance the increasingly mixed formal and informal learning patterns and progressively
more network-oriented workplace environments of the future. The widespread and rapid adoption
of synchronous e-Learning approaches indicates the significant advantages that they offer. The chal-
lenge they represent for us as learning specialists remains threefold. How can I best integrate these
systems technologically? How can I best implement and operate these systems within my organiza-
tion? And how can I best create and deliver engaging and effective learning? We will address these
questions in the chapters that follow.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 12
I NTRODUCTI ON TO SYNCHRONOUS E- LEARNI NG | CHAPTER 1
WebEx Customer Success Story
A subsidiary of Japan-based Canon, Inc.,
Canon U.S.A. is an industry leader in pro-
fessional business and consumer imaging
equipment and information systems. With
seven regional centers located throughout
the Americas, the Imaging Systems Group
supports a sales force of 8,000 people in
a dealer network. Ranked as one of the
top 100 US brands, Canon also maintains
a deep commitment to social and environ-
mental responsibility.
Canon has adopted the entire suite of
WebEx solutions for a number of applica-
tions across its enterprise. The applica-
tions include using WebEx Event Center
for product launches, Meeting Center for
customer meetings, and Support Center
for remote support and product demon-
strations. The following story focuses on
Canon’s initial implementation of WebEx
Training Center and how its integration
dramatically transformed the company’s
business processes.
The Challenge
In early 2000, Canon began reformulat-
ing its Imaging Systems Group objectives
to address a mature copier market. This
involved developing document manage-
ment and workflow solutions that would
provide an additional revenue stream while
also driving copier sales. Marketing the
new products through its existing dealer
network, however, was challenging. “Our
dealers had been very successful selling
our copiers and digital MFP’s, but they are
hardware-oriented and didn’t have strong
software competencies,” recalls Mitch
Bardwell, Director and Assistant General
Manager of the Sales Training Division at
Canon’s Imaging Systems Group. “Since
our dealers were not experienced in sell-
ing software, they were reluctant to outfit
their showrooms with software to conduct
training at each Canon dealer location.
The only other choice was to send sales
reps to a Canon regional training center, a
solution that was too inefficient, expensive,
and impractical to implement across its
dealer network.”
The Solution
The training challenge led Bardwell to
investigate online training solutions. While
comparing several products, he discov-
ered that WebEx Training Center had
a unique feature called Hands On Lab.
“When I realized that Hands On Lab would
make it possible for Canon dealers to
access computers with Canon software
remotely, I knew it was the answer to our
training problem,” says Bardwell. At the
time, Canon had computers installed in
dedicated training rooms at three corpo-
rate regional training centers. “I immediate-
ly requested that all computers be shipped
to Canon headquarters so I could set up
our own remote training lab,” he says.
Using the Training Center Hands On Lab
feature, Bardwell was able to simultane-
ously connect dealers across the country
to the lab computers located at Canon
headquarters and conduct interactive
trainings on both software and hardware
solutions. Bardwell says, “The WebEx
Training Center Hands On Lab feature
gives us the ability to load the appropriate
software on our lab computers, then easily
train by enabling the dealer sales people
to connect to the machines remotely. The
sales people can then use the software as
if it were on their own desktops.”
Because WebEx allows us to train large numbers of dealers effectively, we’ve
accelerated our time-to-market at a rate that our competitors can’t match.
— Mitch Bardwell, Director and Assistant General Manager,
Sales Training Division, Imaging Systems Group
Canon U.S.A., Inc. accelerates
time-to-market with WebEx.
LINE OF BUSINESS
Imaging equipment and
information systems
WEBEX SERVICE IN USE
Training Center, Event Center,
Support Center and Meeting Center
SUMMARY
Canon U.S.A., Inc. needed to find
an effective method to provide
easily accessible training of its new
software solutions to its 8,000 sales
professionals at Canon business
technology and office product dealer
companies. WebEx Training Center
makes it possible for Canon to deliver
hands-on training to thousands of
dealer sales professionals throughout
the Americas while optimizing critical
company resources. Canon now brings
sales of new software applications
to market faster than ever, resulting
in increased revenue streams and a
greater competitive edge
ABOUT CANON U.S.A., INC.
Headquarters
Lake Success, NY
Number of employees
11,000
TARGET MARKET
Businesses, consumers, and dealers
WebEx Customer Since 2004
CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS: WebEx Communications, Inc., 3979 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara, CA 95054 USA Tel: +1.408.435.7000 Fax: 1.408.496.4353
©2006 WebEx Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
WebEx and the WebEx logo are registered trademarks of WebEx Communications, Inc.
HIGHLIGHTS
• To provide new software training, it was not feasible or cost-effective for
dealers to send all of their sales people to Canon U.S.A. regional training
centers.
• Canon used WebEx Training Center to implement a new blended training
approach that has accelerated and improved training.
• Virtual demonstrations saved Canon significant travel costs, elevated the
level of knowledge of its dealers and instructors, and optimized its field
experts’ time.
We cut our instructor-led application workshop from three days to
one by creating a hybrid event that’s much more effective than the
original multi-day in-person event.
— Mitch Bardwell, Director and Assistant General Manager,
Sales Training Division, Imaging Systems Group
Canon also uses Training Center to
conduct virtual product demonstrations
that are key to the sales process with
its end customers. When a prospective
sale involves sophisticated applications,
the dealer calls a Canon field analyst for
assistance. “In the past, field analysts
had to travel to assist with each sale.
With WebEx, field analysts now conduct
detailed online demonstrations that answer
dealers’ and end customers’ specific
questions. Our analysts perform the virtual
demonstrations online from wherever they
are, saving Canon a tremendous amount
of time and money,” states Bardwell.
Today, 20 Canon field instructors have
been trained on WebEx. They deliver
one-or two-hour trainings to approxi-
mately eight dealer sales people at a time.
Bardwell reports, “Using WebEx, we now
train approximately 40 sales profession-
als at Canon dealers each month, which
means we’re training many more dealers
in a lot less time at a lot less cost.”
The Benefits
WebEx has transformed Canon’s training
model, increasing the speed with which
the company trains dealer salespeople
while saving tens of thousands of dollars
a year in travel and lost opportunity costs.
”Many of our dealers were resistant to tak-
ing on Canon’s document management
products,” Bardwell remarks. “Knowing
we had a solid training solution like WebEx
in place to train an unlimited amount of
representatives with no travel costs eased
our dealers’ apprehension about selling
the software products,” he says. “Because
WebEx allows us to train large numbers of
dealers effectively, we’ve accelerated our
time-to-market at a rate that our competi-
tors can’t match.”
Canon has taken advantage of WebEx to
adopt a new, blended training approach
that leverages different learning methods
according to content type. This approach
has accelerated training rollouts, made
learning more manageable for trainees,
and improved the overall quality of training
Canon delivers. “We cut our instructor-led
application workshop from three days to
one by creating a hybrid event that’s much
more effective than the original multi-day
in-person event,” says Bardwell. Two self-
paced online courses with quizzes prepare
trainees for the face-to-face instructor-led
event. The next part of the course, which
takes place after the instructor-led work-
shop, is designed to give all attendees the
opportunity to delve further into specific
topics of the application workshop via
WebEx. “WebEx lets us do things faster,
which is the most important competitive
advantage for any company,” he says.
Conducting virtual demonstrations with
WebEx helps Canon improve the knowl-
edge of its instructors while optimizing its
field experts’ time. Bardwell recalls, “In the
past, it was very difficult for field instruc-
tors to go on sales calls and demos, so
their exposure to real customer applica-
tions was limited.” He adds, “Now when
a virtual demo is set up and conducted
by the field analyst we always have an
instructor on the call. By observing the
demo, the instructor gains tremendous
insight to customer needs and Canon
solutions. The instructor can then bring
that customer experience right into the
classroom. There’s less need for travel and
we’ve improved instructor knowledge of
customer applications.” WebEx avoids lost
opportunity costs that constant traveling
can create. “Now our field experts spend
their time doing more important things
than traveling,” he says.
The Future
As a result of Bardwell’s successful
WebEx training strategy and the resulting
increased adoption of document manage-
ment solutions, demand for training is
quickly growing. One of Canon’s dealer
channels recently included the docu-
ment management solutions products
in its President’s Club incentive program
to ensure salespeople focus on the new
product line. “We have been called upon
to train 1,200 sales people in 30 days so
Canon software products can be included
in this quarter’s sales. The only way we
can do it is with the WebEx Hands On Lab
solution,” says Bardwell. To accommodate
the increase in training demand, Bardwell
plans to expand the number of WebEx
Training Center Hands On Lab computers
“We also intend to start nationwide dealer
launch training on new software solutions
as they’re introduced,” he says.
Canon U.S.A. has been continually
impressed by the WebEx commitment to
customer service, innovative technology,
0309SS0806
GETTI NG STARTED | CHAPTER 2
I
’ve been teaching a group of analysts from a financial services firm how to use their new contact
management software to track customer contact. Based on their practice exercises and test scores,
I’d say they’ve learned quite a bit in a short time. I use a variety of instructional methods; I display
the PowerPoint file that came with the courseware, ask and answer questions, and demonstrate the
software features on screen. It’s going well.
What makes this class different from any other? After three sessions online, I still haven’t met any
of my students. I’m here in upstate New York, and my students are in offices around the world. I’m
teaching a synchronous online course.
How I learned to love synchronous e-Learning
I worked as a training road warrior for Ziff Davis Education in the mid ‘90s and taught technical
and soft-skills courses in thirty-two states and twelve countries. Since then, distance learning has
appealed to me, but I didn’t think it was possible for this new technology to re-create the kind of
learning environments I could build in a classroom. I feared that the interface would seem sterile and
cold, and that my students couldn’t or wouldn’t participate.
Indeed, I found that synchronous collaboration software products did not automatically create
good training, in much the same way that using Microsoft Word doesn’t automatically create good
documents. I did find, however, that the software does provide good instructional resources. It’s up
to me to create a new style of learning environment and effective learning relationships.
It took some time for me to feel competent in using the functions of the synchronous online soft-
ware tools. I experimented, practiced a lot, and was soon ready to go. I invited students to a real ses-
sion. I prepared and loaded my materials and tested everything in advance. Now, with a few clicks of
my mouse, I can teach anything from right here in my office in my house, in the middle of a corn-
field. Students in California or Hong Kong can see the files, demonstrations, examples, and messages
on screen, and none of us have to leave our desks.
This chapter is an extensive overview of synchronous e-Learning and how to get started with it. I’ll
begin with some philosophy, help you evaluate the different Web conferencing features popular for
e-Learning use, share my ideas about your role in this new world, and review common objections to
synchronous e-Learning and how to answer them. I’ve also included executive summaries of a few of
the Web conferencing tools, which you will find in Appendix A.
Some philosophy about synchronous
e-Learning
Not everyone “bought into” synchronous e-Learning right away. Let’s look
at some of the reasons.
An uneven beginning
Ask 20 people in your organization what they expect from training and
you’ll get 20 answers. Managers are eager for employees to improve skills,
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 15
Getting Started
By Karen Hyder
C H A P T E R 2
In Chapter 2 you will find information about:
• Some philosophy about synchronous e-Learning
• Synchronous e-Learning application features
• A new role: The Producer
• Objections to online training
• Executive Summaries from: Centra, Elluminate 7,
WebEx, Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional
Contents
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 16
GETTI NG STARTED | CHAPTER 2
while employees want to understand new concepts and to be able to apply them confidently. CFOs
want to reduce the costs of sending everyone to a classroom for eight hours at a time and they want
to improve productivity. People often saddle training with expectations that make it the magic pill
for all the organization’s problems — just like the magic pills in infomercials. The trouble is that
decision makers know that, while things look great in the ad, magic pills rarely live up to the claims.
Synchronous online training software, virtual classroom tools, and Web conferencing applications
are three different names for essentially the same thing. They make it possible for many students to
meet online at the same time with an instructor, and they make it possible for online distance learn-
ing to emulate a classroom learning experience. The notion of doing this has long been a fantasy of
trainers, educators, learners, and managers. Few of us believed that we could ever recreate the “feel”
of the face-to-face experience. We thought it was obvious that we’d never be able to walk around to a
student’s equipment to observe problems and offer solutions. We’d miss the subtle cues of body lan-
guage, and we’d never be able to tell whether the learners were actually learning.
Early adopters of synchronous online tools had mixed success. Many trainers and educators didn’t
like the virtual classroom, because they felt they couldn’t connect with learners. Many training man-
agers dismissed the online tools as unusable or impractical due to the high costs of licensing, the
learning curve for trainers and users, and bandwidth problems — especially in the “last mile” bet-
ween the network and the users’ connections. Users and trainers would need dedicated technical
support, too. The managers decided the tools weren’t worth the cost and the effort required.
Other trainers logged on and lectured using the minimum of what was available. They lectured
and advanced slides, or shared applications, for hours at a time. They created live sessions, but the
learners found the sessions horribly boring and slow. The instruction was lower quality than old-
fashioned CBT (Computer-Based Training) tutorials and required more setup. Endless PowerPoint
slides and hectic schedules ensured that learners would “log in, check out, and drop off.”
At the same time, employees who touch customers most frequently — technical support staff and
sales engineers — quickly adopted online tools to answer questions and solve problems. Sales and
help desk technicians don’t consider what they do to be training. Help desk calls became less frus-
trating when technicians could instruct callers to share their own application and could obtain a
direct view of error messages and anomalies. Technicians could correct problems remotely.
Sales engineers found that online tools made their work easier because they could control what
the user was seeing. They could present slides and demonstrate features of their products in real
time. They prompted attendees to mute their phones and type any questions in Chat, so the presen-
ter could respond to them at the end. Engineers found that they could do more demos per day, and
connect to buyers quickly and directly.
Eventually eager trainers looked at the strategies used in both successful and unsuccessful online
sessions and adopted some best practices from what they saw there. Unfortunately, even among the
eager adopters, there were many who ignored the features of the tools and never looked at their con-
tent from an instructional design point of view. They just lectured.
Those who were most successful worked with the online tools in order to support what they want-
ed to do. They created an entirely new, comfortable, and fully functional place to deliver their mes-
sage clearly and effectively. They reframed their job, from being a content provider to becoming a
context creator.
Instructors are context creators
We’ve been taking desks for granted. Desks, chairs, and books have been fundamental elements of
our learning environments; they are part of the context of how we learn. It’s natural for us to imag-
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 17
GETTI NG STARTED | CHAPTER 2
ine ourselves sitting in classrooms where learners and teachers come together in one room to ob-
serve, discuss, and practice. In traditional instructor-led classroom training, there are certain estab-
lished ground rules for how learners behave and interact in that environment. We understand these
conventions, and we sit in seats and face the front. The trainer speaks and, for the most part, every-
one else listens. When the door closes, everyone is isolated (if we’re lucky) from the world for eight
hours of immersion in the topic of the day.
In online training sessions, not only do we not have desks in a classroom, books are rare. We can’t
even see the trainer or each other while we learn. There are new ground rules, and in many cases,
new vocabularies that are unique to new modalities for learning. In online sessions, the trainer can-
not physically establish his leadership role. Only a click away from e-mail, Amazon, and eBay, learn-
ers are easily distracted from the online session by an unimaginable number of things that never
affected the in-person classroom.
Trainers need to think beyond the outmoded physical aspects of a classroom, and instead create
learning relationships with session participants using the resources that are available to them in syn-
chronous online software or virtual classroom tools. Learning relationships, like relationships with a
remote teammate or distant family member, require special effort and different tools and resources
than the ones we use when in the same room. Distance does not prevent communication, although
we might sometimes feel it hinders it. Because we cannot rely on body language to indicate subtleties
in meaning, we must be more direct. We cannot keep learners locked in a classroom or compel them
to participate. We must trust that they will focus on the lesson.
Like every training modality that has come before — classroom, CBT, and correspondence courses
— there’s no guarantee the online training session will automatically translate into learning. Many
training organizations evaluate learners and trainers using “smile sheets” so that a “fun” class in
which time flies often equates to a successful learning session. But a high “smile” rating is no guaran-
tee that students will be able to apply what they have learned back on the job.
The only key to effective synchronous e-Learning is held by two groups of individuals: instruc-
tional designers and instructors.
Instructional designers identify learning objectives, develop materials, and plan activities to engage
learners and confirm learning. Instructional designers create the structure and the goals and provide
tools that support the trainers as they deliver and evaluate learning.
Training builds on solid instructional design, but if you’ve ever seen a great classroom trainer, you
know that what they do is way beyond what’s written in the book. A trainer can bring real-life expe-
rience, humor, and adaptability to a session, and can create a comfortable and engaging learning
context. Quick-thinking trainers rework instructional design on the fly when technical problems
limit participant activities. Hiring managers admit that subject matter expertise and a good person-
ality are key factors in the selection of trainers.
In online sessions, it can be challenging to capture the level of “connectedness” that comes natu-
rally in the classroom. We must measure results on a new scale. To create an appropriate context for
an online session, learn to use the online tools and resources that are available to you and to your
learners.
Synchronous e-Learning application features
Here’s a quick introduction to the range of features and resources available in synchronous online
learning tools. Every product is different, so be sure to carefully compare feature availability and
importance to you, and test drive the software with your materials to ensure functionality before you
sign a licensing agreement. Many of the products allow 14-day free trials as well as live demonstra-
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 18
GETTI NG STARTED | CHAPTER 2
tions on demand. (See Sidebar 2-1 for links to free trials and demonstrations.)
The different Web conferencing software products package these features in different ways. You
may find that certain features have different names across the range of products, compared to the
names I use here. Nevertheless, most products tend to address the various functions. As you read this
book, you will see these functions again and again. However, each time you see them, they will be in
a different context — how to design an event with the features in mind, how to prepare for using the
features, and how to manage the features during the event.
Licensing
Vendors offer flexible licensing plans and a broad range of pricing to suit small and uber-large
groups. Large corporations might license and install the online software so that it runs from inside
the company, supporting it with internal IT staff members. Smaller groups might choose a hosted
model where they just use the software, but don’t maintain it.
Forecast how regularly you’ll use the online software, how many sessions might be running at the
same time, and the number of participants you’ll have every session, every month, or every year.
Your vendor can offer pricing from a few cents per minute per attendee, to monthly limited, or
unlimited use. If you’re not sure what volume you’ll run at, ask for ramp-up pricing so the licensing
grows as user adoption grows.
Third party entrepreneurs such as Encounter Collaborative (www.encounter.net) and commu-
niqueconferencing (www.communiqueconferencing.com/webinar.asp) are an option where you can
sometimes find less expensive rates than licensing directly from the software publisher. These third
parties also offer conference call services you can roll into your agreement. If you need help getting
set up, they may also offer event services, a team of Producers to help you ensure a great session. This
is perfect if you only present an online session once in a while.
Learning Management System considerations
While shopping for software, look at Learning Management Systems, too. LMSs provide ways to
communicate with learners before, in between, and after synchronous online sessions. Event Produc-
ers can post supportive materials and independent exercises as well as generate reports on registra-
tions, attendance, and test scores. Discuss with your team what you need, and what’s it worth to get it.
Tip: Synchronous software providers often have a preferred LMS partner. To streamline your
processes, consider products that are designed to work together, such as Centra Live and Saba.
Learn more about linking to an LMS in Chapter 7 of this book.
Making the connection
Unlike basic audio conference calls, interfaces like Centra, Live
Meeting, InterWise, Elluminate, LearnLinc, and WebEx offer stan-
dard conferencing tools that support effective instructional methods
to appeal to a wide variety of learning styles. Some examples of the
functions available and a few of their virtual classroom uses are:
• A slide or file display that allows the instructor to show stu-
dents PowerPoint slides or other files;
• A whiteboard to brainstorm a list of ideas;
• Application sharing, so the instructor can do a software
demonstration from one computer that can be seen by every
attendee;
Links to free online trials
WebEx Free trial
http://www.webex.com/go/choosetrial
Centra Live Free Trial
http://www.saba.com/products/centra/trial/index.asp
Microsoft Live Meeting http://www.microsoft.com/uc/livemeet-
ing/default.mspx
Elluminate Live!
http://www.elluminate.com/free_trial.jsp
Adobe Acrobat Connect
https://onlineservices.adobe.com/account/?prod=Adobe-com
Sidebar 2-1
• Tool access, so the instructor can share the ability to use tools and functions of the online inter-
face with students or other trainers;
• Peer-to-peer Chat, to get students to connect with other students;
• Student and trainer Chat, to allow sidebar Q & A;
• Instant feedback, to confirm the appropriateness of the pace and the content;
• Polling, to gain consensus or perform quick learning assessments;
• Annotation, to focus students’ attention on a specific area of the screen.
Here’s a closer look at these functions and features, and several others, to give you an idea about
what each is like. I’ve also made some suggestions (“Hold this thought”) that might get you thinking
now about things you can do in order to use them most effectively. Ann Kwinn will talk about some
of them in a design context in Chapter 3. Then I’ll expand on these ideas in Chapters 4, 5, and 6.
Familiar log-in
Using only a browser, students and presenters can attend your vir-
tual classroom on the Web in the same way they would go to any
other URL. (See Figure 2-1.)
What it’s like: Shopping online and logging into an account.
Everyone has done these things by now.
Hold this thought: When you prepare information packages that will
go out to learners before the class, remember to be very clear about
the instructions and log in information. Anticipate that 5%-10% will
still need assistance on the phone or in Chat. I will have more to say
about this in Chapters 5 and 6.
Here’s another thought: More software vendors are now offering an
“always on” or “persistent” meeting room option that an individual or
team can use and reuse for every meeting. This is similar to having a
conference call number and pass code that never changes. There are
several advantages to using persistent meeting rooms including:
• Files and activities can be loaded days or weeks in advance;
• The same files and poll questions can be reused from one session to the next;
• Participants use the same Login link, user ID and Password for each session;
• Participant privileges and custom settings will remain set continuously;
• The process of setting up a new session need only be done once.
Slide or file display
You can use slides to help organize your content for presentation and to manage the flow of ideas.
Bulleted lists, graphs, photographs, and screen captures help participants follow along. Often, by
using this feature the instructor can also show sample documents created in Word, Flash, or HTML
format. (You may need to convert files to a format that can be used by the software.)
What it’s like: PowerPoint slides. In fact, most products let you use the slides you already have, and
they may support custom animations in PowerPoint. Another use of slides is similar to the advertis-
ing and trivia shown at movie theaters before the lights are turned down and the preview clips begin.
Often referred to as informational cycle slides or “tweens,” this is a PowerPoint slide set created to
run automatically and provide instructions and information to learners joining a synchronous or
asynchronous session. Cycle slides make use of that awkward pre-start time by welcoming early
attendees and helping them get set up, without requiring the instructor’s immediate attention.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 19
GETTI NG STARTED | CHAPTER 2
Figure 2-1
Login to a virtual class-
room is very simple. (Your
login interface may be dif-
ferent.)
Perfect for those frantic five minutes when the instructor is handling a tech support call or stepping
out to use the loo. We’ve put the tween set we use for Guild Online Events on the Web at http://www.
elearningguild.net/tweens/OLF36Tweens_nl.swf.
Hold this thought: You can say a lot in 10 slides. Post the agenda, give instructions for using basic
features of the software, show reminders, offer links to bandwidth tests, prompt for last-minute
questions. You can also lighten the tone by adding music or comics. More about this in Chapters 5
and 6.
Whiteboard
With a whiteboard, instructors can encourage students to share ideas and comments through
brainstorming, ask questions, and type their responses on the whiteboard. This promotes interac-
tion, validates student input, and provides clarification for others who may not have heard the
answers. The instructor can also use the whiteboard to sketch or
annotate your visual examples. See Figure 2-2 for the annotation
toolbar.
What it’s like: It’s like writing on the whiteboard in a physical classroom, except the instructor has
to draw with a mouse pointer, which is quite different from drawing with an actual pencil or pen.
Hold this thought: It’s not as easy as you may think it is. In Chapter 6, I’ll show the instructors who
are reading this how to post an image to annotate instead of sketching. You can save the data to
review or reuse later.
Tool access and sharing
The leader or leaders of the session control the images and tools that all online participants see.
They can display files, annotate important points, and create quizzes or polling slides. Students can
contribute verbally, but cannot control the tools. You, or the training coordinator who sets up the
session, can select the access level for each of the invitees so that two or more trainers can take turns
delivering. There are also options that give all participants (almost) equal control.
What it’s like: Team teaching. When instructors are sharing the stage, they have to make agree-
ments about who will cover which portions and when they’ll switch roles.
Hold this thought: Tap into your resources and invite an expert to share their insight with the class.
Logging into an online session is a much smaller commitment than attending a class in person.
Here’s another thought: To ensure smooth transitions, you will want to be sure the co-presenter
roles, like time limits, are defined and agreed upon in advance.
Peer-to-peer Chat
Chat gives participants direct access to each other via text messaging, thus providing a forum for
sidebar conversations and comments. In some tools, you can also create “break out” sessions where
students work through a scenario and report their results to the group.
What it’s like: It reminds me of passing notes in third grade, but is ideally used for course-relevant
side conversations, similar to coffee break comments. It’s also like nudging your coworker in the ribs
saying, “Hey, we could’ve used this to solve that problem that came up last week.”
Hold this thought: Some products allow you to turn off the Chat feature to avoid inappropriate use.
Student-to-trainer Chat
Students are able to direct questions and ask for clarification without interrupting the flow of the
class. Simply type your response back to the student.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 20
GETTI NG STARTED | CHAPTER 2
Figure 2-2
Whiteboard annotation
tools allow users to type
onto the board, to draw
lines and geometric fig-
ures, sketch, and erase.
What it’s like: Parking of questions — that is, setting questions aside with the intent of answering
them later. Instructors can manage the content and sequence efficiently by not addressing every
question immediately.
Hold this thought: It’s a good idea to give a basic intro to how Chat works and
encourage students to ask questions of the instructor or of the moderator. Chat allows
them to do this without having to un-mute the phone, or to share comments such as
how they might apply the new skill or use the feature at work. To keep the session
moving along quickly, you can invite a fellow trainer or subject matter expert to mod-
erate the Chat questions on your behalf.
Instant feedback
The comment I hear most from trainers about teaching online is that they miss
being able to connect with students by observing behavior and asking “How’s it
going?” Using instant feedback features, students can change an option on their screens
to alert the trainer to slow down, speed up, or clarify. (See Figure 2-3.)
What it’s like: Observing body language that indicates a student needs help. It also
reminds me of a flight attendant call button. The instructor can say, “I see a red indica-
tor telling me someone needs clarification on that last section. Are there specific ques-
tions I can answer?” or send a Chat message offering assistance.
Hold this thought: This is sometimes called an “on-the-fly Poll.”
Polling
An easy way to create interaction is to display a poll that students can respond to. A poll usually
consists of a question and two or more possible answers. Some tools limit the number of answers to
six or seven. The Multiple Choice option will limit the num-
ber of possible answers to one. When the question is set to
Multiple Answers, respondents can choose every option.
You can create a poll prior to the session, or just when you
need it. (See Figure 2-4.) Once it’s displayed, students can
respond by clicking on the option of their choice. The inter-
face will display the percentages of the responses and, in
some cases, how each participant responded.
What it’s like: Quizzing, gathering opinions, quick needs
analysis.
Hold this thought: You can plan and create polls in
advance to build meaningful lesson introductions and evalu-
ations. It’s a good idea to use a polling slide about every ten
minutes to build interaction.
Annotation
Create impact with annotation tools by drawing arrows to a particular object on the screen, cir-
cling or underlining words, or adding text on the fly. Participants can also use annotation tools in
interactive exercises. See Figure 2-5 on page 22.
What it’s like: The coach showing the offensive and defensive plays.
Hold this thought: This is essentially the same as using the whiteboard. If your mouse drawing
skills are limited, you can create a slide with the graphic partially completed. Click on the slide when
you’re ready to use it, and simply make annotations or allow the participants to do so.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 21
GETTI NG STARTED | CHAPTER 2
Figure 2-3
By using “Status” icons,
participants can give pre-
senters instant feedback
without interrupting the
presentation. (Status fea-
ture from Adobe Acrobat
Connect.)
Figure 2-4
In Live Meeting, this dia-
log allows the instructor to
create a poll slide.
Multimedia content
Vary your instructional methods and engage student interest by showing AVI, Flash, or other
action clips. Check your software product information for a list of supported file types.
What it’s like: Filmstrips, VHS tapes, or demos.
Hold this thought: You can use clips from Help files, marketing materials, portions of asynchro-
nous training tools, or your own examples. Keep the clips short and highly relevant. Participants
tend to surf away to something else if they lose interest.
Live demonstrations
This feature is useful in software training. Participants see
how software functions as the trainer performs the actual
clicks.
What it’s like: Using a projector or big TV screen to walk
through the steps before students try on their own.
Hold this thought: When you design a live demonstration
that may be lengthy, such as touring complex dialog boxes,
include questions you can ask that will prompt students’ ver-
bal participation. “Why would you want to keep track of this
contact’s ID/Status?” This promotes learning, and it also
increases engagement.
Group Web surfing
Like demonstrations, group surfing lets you move around
on your machine, displaying to your students what you see on your screen. When you navigate to a
Web site, each student can interact directly with the site. For example, if you want students to com-
plete an online form, you can take them to the URL and drop them off. They will directly link to the
form.
What it’s like: Being a tour guide in a brewery and providing samples to visitors.
Hold this thought: In some tools, it’s possible to snap wandering students back from the Web and
into your session with a single mouse click.
Over-the-shoulder application sharing
If you’ve ever worked on a Help desk, you know that there are times when it would be particularly
useful to be able to see what the caller is trying to explain. Programs with sharing features let you see
a student’s screen to coach his performance or reach right through the interface and make adjust-
ments on his PC once he’s given you permission. Teams can view and make changes to shared files.
What it’s like: Providing technical support to someone when deciphering the “whooziewhatsit”
and “thingamajigger” breakdowns from a hundred miles away.
Hold this thought: Assure participants they can take back control and end the share access at any time.
Integrated telephony and VolP
You can handle the audio portion of the course — that is, the voices of the presenter and the par-
ticipants — with a simultaneous conference call. Also, some software applications support Voice over
IP (VoIP) technology where voice is transferred over the Internet making use of the microphone and
speakers on each user’s PC. VoIP users may experience a choppy audio sound most frequently attrib-
uted to their Internet connection speed.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 22
GETTI NG STARTED | CHAPTER 2
Figure 2-5
A PowerPoint slide with a
customized Word Search
game. WebEx participants
were invited to use anno-
tation tools to review
vocabulary words.
Using either method (or both) participants see and hear the same thing at the same time and can
participate as they would on a phone-based conference call.
What it’s like: A conference call.
Hold this thought: Provide call etiquette information as part of the invitation you send to each par-
ticipant. At the beginning of the actual session, ask each participant to state his or her name before
asking questions or making comments. Provide a slide that explains how to use VoIP controls (see
Figure 2-6). Plan questions to ask that will create mild interaction. For example, “What data points
would you want to collect that Act! does not already have a field for?” When you ask a question, wait
twelve seconds for response. The reason for this is that it takes students three seconds to realize a
question was asked, three seconds to think of an answer, three seconds to get the courage to answer,
and three seconds to “unMute” their audio and answer the
question. You’ll be amazed by the difference waiting longer
after questions can make.
Video integration
Video integration allows participants and instructor to
both see and hear each other on screen. If you want to see
multiple participants, just change channels.
What it’s like: Star Trek. The images are much smaller
than the View Screen on the Bridge, but the idea is the same.
Hold this thought: You’ll want to keep the focus on the
learning, not the production. If you’re going to be seen AND
heard, show students your supportive-customer-service face,
rather than your “diligent-typist-who-needs-new-prescrip-
tion-lenses” face.
Record and play back the video and/or audio portion of the session
Many Web conferencing tools allow you to digitally capture a visual and audio record of the
session for review or reuse.
What it’s like: Videotaping your class with the camera focused on the slides and demos.
Hold this thought: This recording can be added to a Web site and used asynchronously.
Registration, testing and grading (Learning Management Systems, or LMSs)
Built-in and proprietary tools are available to track test scores, automate registration, and find out
who’s attending online sessions. Talk to your software vendor about how to best support your learn-
ers and trainers. Formalize your evaluation process by generating, administering, and scoring quizzes
and practice exams and by tracking student assignments. In addition to registration and tracking,
LMSs can also provide places and formats to support additional materials including assignments,
tutorials, clips, and Chat rooms (an interface where individuals type messages to those who are
logged in and those who will log in later. Also called threaded discussions.)
What it’s like: A teacher’s grade book and school transcripts. You can find out which courses this
student has taken, their test scores, and their completed assignments.
Hold this thought: It’s a good practice to make a note of every question your students ask in this
course. Start with that list when writing test questions. To better prepare students for an online ses-
sion, attach a pre-course assessment tool directly to the automated confirmation email, along with
your customized agenda and online etiquette guide. Remember that, after the session, many learners
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 23
GETTI NG STARTED | CHAPTER 2
Figure 2-6
Use a tip slide to help
participants use VoIP
Audio controls in Adobe
Connect.
need help applying what they have learned in class back at work. With support from an LMS, it is
simple to follow up with previous students to offer additional support and training opportunities
tailored to their specific needs.
A new role: the Producer
So you think you’re ready to tackle the challenge of delivering training and presentations online?
Are you itching to try a synchronous software tool like WebEx, Adobe Acrobat Connect, Microsoft
Live Meeting, Elluminate, Centra, or any of the many other products now available? Welcome to a
new world!
In the training or education world you have been used to, there were designers, there were instruc-
tors, and there were (if you were lucky) media specialists to help you prepare all the support materi-
als. In synchronous e-Learning you will find that a new role or position is called for: the online ses-
sion Producer.
As you read the next part of this chapter, I’d like to ask you to put yourself in this new online ses-
sion Producer role. I’m going to shorten that to just “the Producer” and I’m going to capitalize the
title because it is a key role. The Producer’s job is to be sure that the software, the content, the pre-
senters, panelists, and speakers, as well as the participants, can get up and running and have a rele-
vant, successful session. Also, the Producer is always ready with Plan B in case of emergency. When I
refer to the Producer, I’m referring to the role responsible for the functional and administrative
aspects of the overall event. This is in contrast to delivery of training. Realistically, the designer/pre-
senter/trainer/speaker will often play the role of Producer, too.
What does a Producer do?
The Producer has a long list of responsibilities, “to-do’s,” and general housekeeping duties. I’m
going to list the bigger ones here, in more-or-less chronological order.
Set the date for the pilot
To begin with, the Producer sets a reasonable target date for a pilot session. The objective of the
pilot is to have a “dry run” session with a select group of colleagues or volunteer students. The pres-
sure of a target date will develop a certain momentum for the real event, but the pilot performance
will not impact “real” learners, and you’ll have time to strengthen any weak spots in the design, the
content, or the instructor preparation before the debut.
Adapt methods to the virtual classroom
The Producer knows that very few of the traditional classroom processes and methods will work
the same way in the virtual classroom. The Producer will rework his or her thinking, and adapt tra-
ditional classroom methods to the new environment.
Map the process
My recommendation is that the Producer should immediately begin to create a list or mind map
of all the steps, tools, and obstacles to overcome. (Note: a mind map is an organically grown and
organized group of ideas used to facilitate and support brainstorming. A mind map shows visual
relationships between entries.) Creating a mind map will help you organize a very detailed, non-lin-
ear production process. Thinking things through, making a plan, and assigning roles and tasks will
improve your likelihood of getting it right the first time.
Use software such as Mindjet (http://www.mindjet.com/us/), or use a physical whiteboard to lay
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 24
GETTI NG STARTED | CHAPTER 2
out your mind map. Think of every person, connection, or training material that needs to be attend-
ed to in the preparation in order to create an environment where learners can be successful. Examine
what attention each area will require. The list, or mind map, must be as detailed as the Producer can
manage, and the Producer will fill it in as his or her perspective broadens. The level of detail can ex-
tend to decisions about how to present information, about the need to create invitations, and whet-
her participants will register though a Learning Management System (LMS).
I’ve provided a basic version of the mind map for my role as Producer of The eLearning Guild
online events, as a guide for your own map. You will find it in Appendix B of this book. This mind
map, or list, will vary for different Producers, software, and situations and will likely include the
same general areas as the example.
Support the event
The Producer supports the synchronous software interface before and during the event, ensuring
that everything works: sessions are created, users are added, files are converted and uploaded, polls
are set up, and connectivity and audio are optimized.
The Producer supports the session content by ensuring that the software tools support all learning
activities. If the instructional design calls for a small group discussion, for example, the Producer
decides how to manage it in the actual session. Producers will need to create the polls the design calls
for. The Producer will also follow a script or storyboard that indicates when to perform certain steps
during the session, such as, “Move to Slide 5 and start application sharing. Prompt learners to click
the Full Screen button.” Whether your training materials need to be created new or just need tweak-
ing, see Chapter 3 for more about developing and adapting materials for synchronous online ses-
sions.
The Producer supports the presenter, aka trainer, aka speaker. The Producer ensures that the pre-
senter can do what he has planned, that all files are available, and that the presenter is sufficiently
competent in using the interface tools. The Producer and presenter rehearse, not necessarily the con-
tent, but the delivery.
Even experienced trainers often need an extra pair of hands when presenting online. During the
session, the Producer manages the technology to allow the presenter(s) to focus on the content and
the learners.
The Producer supports the participants, aka learners, attendees, students, users, or clients, by
ensuring that they are prepared to learn in this new environment. The Producer sends invitations
with critical installation and log in information. The Producer confirms that all participants can log
in to the session, and see and hear to at least a 90% quality level. I recommend accepting 90%, and
being realistic about the factors you cannot affect.
The Producer is responsible for Plan B, that is: what happens next when something fails. Everyone
will be looking to the Producer. As the Producer, you must have a well-thought-out plan ready in the
wings or you will have dead air. Start developing Plan B wherever you see an opportunity for some-
thing to go wrong. For example: What if a participant can’t view the PowerPoint slides on screen? Plan
B might involve having e-mailed the file to all participants ahead of time. Or it could involve asking the
participant to follow along on the audio portion of the call (teleconference) until his machine reboots.
Deal with the Learning Management System
If also implementing a Learning Management System, the Producer should treat that as a separate
area of consideration or a separate project. Get the LMS installed and thoroughly tested before
scheduling synchronous sessions or adding users and content. Review the three “LMS Tips” eBooks
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 25
I NTRODUCTI ON TO SYNCHRONOUS E- LEARNI NG | CHAPTER 2
from The eLearning Guild for ideas and best practices. (See Sidebar 2-2 for two example tips.)
Objections to online training
I’ve introduced hundreds of subject matter experts and trainers to virtual classroom tools such as
WebEx, Breeze (now Adobe Acrobat Connect), Live Meeting, and Elluminate. Invariably, they cite the
following objections to this new model for training and learning. I can’t argue with them — all these
concerns are warranted. But there is hope if you try the strategies that work.
Objection #1 “I’m not able to observe participants’ body language or
eye contact to ensure that they are ‘with me’ and learning.”
My response: You’re right, you cannot observe those things. However, relying on body language
and eye contact are very low-level feedback methods. They reveal basic information such as: the
learner is awake, or the learner appears to agree with something.
In online sessions, in order to get any feedback at all, I need to ask questions that elicit a specific
feedback response. This means asking more challenging, probing questions and asking for specific
responses. I can prompt learners to type responses in Chat, to select responses in a poll, or to
respond verbally using audio. I can even ask for low-level but specific feedback to impromptu ques-
tions such as, “Are you able to hear me? Please show Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down,” using emoti-
cons or status indicators.
Consider these additional benefits: participant responses using Chat and Polling come in all at the
same time. A trainer doesn’t need to wait for each person to take a turn responding. Also, the whole
group benefits when no one participant can hijack the session by talking too much.
Try this: “Seed” five new, relevant questions. That is, write out polls or open-ended Chat response
questions to ask at predetermined points during your session. I like
to ask questions such as, “How will you use this?” or “How is this
like something else you’ve used?” You’ll be amazed at how much
relevant information you can find out from your learners, and
you’ll have better evidence that they are “with you” and whether
they are learning or not.
Objection #2 “I can’t connect with learners
and build rapport like I could in the class-
room.”
My response: Nope. You’re right. It’s not the same. Consider the
relationships you have with out-of-town family and friends that
you talk to on the phone, or remote team members you’ve never met. It’s not impossible to build
rapport; however, it does require different activities.
Back in the days before my learners had e-mail, I wished I could send out pre-course surveys and
ask them why they wanted to attend the session and what they hoped to learn. I wanted to know
how they planned to use the tools I would teach them .
Try this: Try not to set the expectation that it will be the same as the classroom. Look at the re-
sources you have available to communicate better with your learners. Send a survey by e-mail or ask
participants to complete an online form declaring their learning needs for the course. Use a threaded
discussion database and invite participants to post specific topics of interest or their own experience
with the subject.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 26
GETTI NG STARTED | CHAPTER 2
LMS Implementation Tips
“Make sure that the people who are implementing an LMS are
not just technical people, but have a solid foundation in human
performance technology and instructional design; otherwise
the LMS becomes a database instead of a strategic tool. We
must figure out the ‘pain points’ around worker performance
and see how an LMS can meet those needs.”
Katica Jacob, Learning & Development Rep, Kaiser-Termanente
“Information architectures should be planned for; if they grow
up organically, it’s a mess.”
Kathy Napierala, Senior Systems Programmer/eLearning Strategist, GEICO
Sidebar 2-2
Objection #3: “Learners don’t have the attention span to stay online
and stay interested.”
My response: This reminds me of a favorite quote from Kevin Kelley of Wired Magazine: “The
only factor becoming scarce in a world of abundance is human attention.” Learners have a tremen-
dous capacity to stay interested in things that they find relevant or fun. Learners don’t want to stay
logged in and listening to someone talk for eight hours. They lose momentum when they feel their
time is wasted or when they are not involved in what’s going on.
The design of synchronous online software tools supports human-to-human interactions. Effec-
tive trainers use Chat, polling, and audio features to compel participants to share ideas by typing,
verbally responding, and answering polls throughout the session. Learners can ask questions and
find out more about how what they are learning applies to their work. The trainer can observe the
learner’s discussion in the learning process, and clarify or correct when needed. Sessions can spread
out over time allowing time in between to apply learning and to do independent assignments.
You ask: How do I cover the rest of the material? Practice activities, tutorials, and reading assign-
ments can be reworked into asynchronous (aka homework) activities where learners don’t need the
support of the trainer and other students. Move these activities to times before or after the online
sessions. With fewer tasks to do together, trainers can schedule less “premium time,” or online ses-
sions when learners and trainers are all logged in at once. During these sessions, the group can focus
on the most discussion-oriented aspects of the course. An eight-hour classroom-training course
might only need two two-hour blocks of premium time.
If just listening to a lecture might better serve your learners, simply record the presenter alone.
Then, e-mail or post the recording for learners to view at their convenience. Learners can listen to
this type of recording, often called a “Podcast” because learners download it and play it later using
an Apple iPod™ or other MP3 audio playback device, at their own convenience.
Try this: Evaluate your session materials to determine which segments NEED to be delivered on-
line with the trainer and which can be done independently. Focus your online sessions on engaging
learners directly. For more information on how to develop session content for online sessions, see
Chapter 3 on instructional systems design.
Objection 4: “My students don’t want to share their ideas or do home-
work.”
My response: Learners are typically willing to do whatever the trainer invites them to do as long as
they are properly prepared and treated respectfully. Learners prefer clear learning objectives; they like
easy access to resources, and they can become frustrated if the process is slow or confusing. They
don’t like to be humiliated.
Try this: Outline the ground rules up front. Remember, some learners have never learned this way
before. They only know classroom-style and cannot imagine how this will work. How will they know
what to do or not do unless you tell them? Teach them how assignments are given, how the online
sessions will run, how to access materials, how to use the tools — create a tutorial for how to learn in
your class. Invite them to contribute their own ideas and experiences to the conversation. Establish
dates and times for online sessions and assignments. Allow flexibility for students who have other
commitments to manage by offering session recordings as an alternative to attending in real time.
Ask learners to suggest appropriate adjustments and agree to the ground rules. They will.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 27
GETTI NG STARTED | CHAPTER 2
Objection 5: “Technology can fail in the middle of the session.”
My response: Yes, it can and it does. I recommend you prepare a Plan B and a Plan C for each
aspect of your session so, no matter what the issue, you’re ready to move to the solution and keep
working.
Try this: Worried about the Internet connection? Test participant connections in advance. Having
trouble with application sharing? Create screenshots in a separate file. Show the file only if needed.
Are some learners on a low bandwidth connection? Send assignments and presentation files ahead
of time so they can still follow along with audio if the connection drops.
Objection 6: “It’s hard to keep track of everything that’s happening
during a session. I have to manage the software tools, stay on time,
and try to engage the learners.”
My response: Yes, sharing polls and applications, reading participants’ Chat messages and reacting
to technical problems can feel like a full time job, not to mention focusing on the content. It takes at
least as much practice as it did to learn to drive a car or dial a cell phone. It’s possible to master it. In
the meantime, here’s another suggestion.
Try this: Employ an online session Producer to help set up and manage the session and let you
focus on what you need to say and do to teach the content.
Objection 7: “I don’t do training, I do sales demos.”
My response: Many of the most effective training strategies we use online serve similar evaluative
and rapport-building uses when selling. We recognize that when we let the “client” or learner con-
tribute to the conversation, we find out more about how to serve them. We derive more information
from what they say.
Try this: At the end of each section of your demo, ask, “How would you use this?” Ask them to
verbally respond or type answers in Chat. Then wait and listen quietly. Each message that comes in
will confirm that people are able to understand concepts conveyed in this online format, and you’ll
have feedback that says people are really out there and listening. Beyond that, you’ll also find you can
very quickly get new insights into what typical users’ tasks look like. You’ll see opportunities to cus-
tomize for individual areas of interest.
Objection 8: “It’s easy for you. I can’t do it.”
My response: Who said it was easy? The only difference between what you’re doing and what I’m
doing is that I’m applying several good strategies in every stage of my planning, preparation, and
delivery. I apply them consistently, and I practice them a lot.
Try this: Read and apply each of the “Try this” items above. You CAN do it, and you can improve
what you’re already doing. Know that it gets easier when you turn objections into preparation, apply
proven strategies to use the great resources you have, and relax.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 28
GETTI NG STARTED | CHAPTER 2
WebEx Consulting Services
Optimize your eLearning program
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Technology has provided a vast array of tools to help you
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Simply implementing an LMS or purchasing asynchronous
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Does your Company have a
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2
The Opportunity
Whether you want to completely transform your learning
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WebEx Consulting Services represent the culmination
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Objective: Transfer knowledge to as many learners as possible
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The Approach
The WebEx Web-Touch eLearning Consulting service helps
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Utilize WebEx domain expertise to move toward the optimum
on a proven, predictable and expedient path.
WebEx Consulting Services
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º Repurposing your exisLing naLerial
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º Heaningíul neLrics in eLearning
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º íresenLaLion Lechniques íor eLearning
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Delivery of customer opportunity document
Strategic Account Plan recommends steps to develop your
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Designing effective class materials
— Design/repurpose materials
Integrating your existing processes/systems
Measuring your success
— Constant evaluation of efforts and improvement opportunities
»
»
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»
Contact your WebEx Account Manager for more information,
or email psconsulting@webex.com.
T
he virtual classroom — also called synchronous e-Learning — is a same-time any-place event
led by an instructor in a Web-conferencing tool such as WebEx, Centra, or Microsoft’s Live
Meeting, with participants logged in from their own office computers. I use the two terms inter-
changeably, but one thing I also like to tell people moving into design for this new medium is:
Consider the “model” you bring with you.
How you see it may depend on where you’ve been
Early e-Learning designers who started in the time of laserdiscs know that e-Learning can support
video. They might say: e-Learning is like television. Later entrants who never experienced interactive
media before the Internet was ubiquitous might say: e-Learning is like Web pages — you know, with
lots of text. After all, we call them “pages.”
Now we have this “virtual classroom,” perhaps a contradiction in terms since the physical class-
room space is exactly what we have eliminated. In fact, there is a nasty rumor circulating that a lot of
folks are porting lectures and demonstrations over to the virtual classroom. This means that we are
delivering something that was not very interactive to begin with (the lecture) without even the fun of
checking out what the teacher is wearing. And simply highlighting text doesn’t count as interaction,
or as rethinking the content for this new medium.
The danger is that designers and instructors (often the same person) may stick too closely to the
old classroom instructional model and fail to recognize that this new high-tech situation calls for a
rethinking of the teaching process itself. It is unlikely, in this case, that these designers and instructors
will take advantage of the full potential of the virtual classroom experience. That’s fundamentally
why The eLearning Guild decided to create this book.
Some people speak of the transition from being a standup instructor to being a virtual instructor.
I belong to the camp of people who have done more of what is now referred to as asynchronous
e-Learning, or what I call “old school” posted courses (and there are and will continue to be plenty
of these courses around). We develop these asynchronous courses in tools
such as Authorware or Flash, and make them available for individual study
through a company intranet, the Internet, an LMS, or on CD-ROM. I’ve also
led many hours of classroom instruction conducted in the same physical
space as my living, breathing, visible, audible students.
As a consultant, I am in a position to peek into many organizations and
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 33
How to Design
for the Virtual
Classroom
By Ann Kwinn
C H A P T E R 3
In Chapter 3 you will find information about:
• Media selection — to VC or not to VC
• Interactions — alone but engaged
• Visuals — the journey of a thousand pixels
Contents
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 34
HOW TO DESI GN FOR THE VI RTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3
see what they are doing. Sure, everyone is trying to “do more with less,” which is often a driver of
technology. But at the same time, the virtual classroom offers some exciting opportunities for collab-
oration, connection, access to information, cool graphics, and getting people quickly up to speed and
productive.
The new paradigm circumvents some of the problems of the prior media, but presents its own
challenges. Although there is certainly still a place for asynchronous e-Learning, the virtual class-
room can provide some very interesting options if approached judiciously.
This chapter will cover when to use the virtual classroom, and, once you choose it, how to design
new content or convert existing classroom content to make best use of its features. Some of the con-
tent comes from Ruth Clark’s and my book, The New Virtual Classroom: Evidence-Based Guidelines
for Synchronous e-Learning, to be published in 2007.
We’re not in the classroom anymore, Toto. Let go of your old baggage ... you can’t assume that you
can do the same things you used to do in either the physical classroom or traditional e-Learning.
Media selection — to VC or not to VC?
One common mistake novice instructors make in the synchronous e-Learning environment is that
they feel like they have to be “instructing” all the time — and that means verbalizing. Have you ever
tried to write when someone was talking to you? Did they just not take the hint when you weren’t
paying attention? Now suppose this person was an instructor and you were their student, trying to
process information, take notes, or complete an exercise. How do you think you’d feel about the
quality of the educational experience? Many activities require contemplation and therefore a quiet
environment. An instructor can provide this in a synchronous environment by resisting the tempta-
tion to keep talking. An asynchronous e-Learning program that runs without need of an instructor
can also provide the necessary quiet. “Media selection” is the name for thinking through the instruc-
tional content and desired teaching methods and making a fundamental design decision, determin-
ing whether a synchronous or an asynchronous delivery medium is the better match.
There are some possible pitfalls in selecting a synchronous approach. Handled carelessly, the virtu-
al classroom can combine the worst of both the traditional classroom and asynchronous media. In
this case, you have the instructor-driven pace of the physical classroom that will leave some students
behind and will bore others, plus the sense of alone-ness learners may get from staring at the illumi-
nated rectangle where they already spend so much time.
The synchronous, virtual classroom requires a different set of resources, compared to old school
e-Learning. You need to have the instructor scheduled and on the payroll and all students available
at the same time. Compared to traditional classes, the virtual classroom demands technological and
psychological resources from both instructor and student.
Although this new medium can save on travel money, the separation of instructor and student
also represents a kind of cost. With no instructor present, the student is on the honor system in
terms of their attentiveness. With their desktop open, is the siren song of eBay, YouTube and IMDb
just too loud during these sessions for any effective training to take place? The answer is that old
standby of consultants, “It all depends.” It depends, in part, on the designer making the proper
choice of media and techniques, which, in a nutshell, is the topic of this chapter.
So the question is: How do I know if my teaching situation is an appropriate one for a synchro-
nous, virtual classroom solution? To answer this fundamental point, we first need to understand the
characteristics of synchronous e-Learning as they relate to the other models.
Call me a geek, but I love Venn diagrams. Let’s draw some big ovoids and see where they intersect.
(See Figure 3-1 on page 35.)
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 35
HOW TO DESI GN FOR THE VI RTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3
In my humble opinion, synchronous learning shares more with the
traditional classroom than it does with the older instructor-less asyn-
chronous e-Learning. Since synchronous e-Learning is instructor-led
you need an instructor, and all of the students must be concurrently
logged in. But thanks to the computer delivery, there’s no travel in-
volved. There are technical opportunities and hurdles involved in both
synchronous and asynchronous e-Learning, but the consistent inter-
face of synchronous e-Learning is a brilliant money saving invention
that asynchronous e-Learning never quite got to.
Two categories of factors drive the decision of what medium to use — logistical and educational.
Logistical media decision factors
Even though for dispersed audiences the delivery of electronic media is cheaper and faster than it
is for traditional training, electronic media are typically more expensive to produce. Therefore, small
numbers of students in the same location do not justify e-Learning unless they don’t work at the
same time or can’t be simultaneously off the job. This situation might recommend quick and dirty
asynchronous e-Learning, depending on the topic being taught.
Synchronous e-Learning might be faster to deploy than traditional classroom training if you have
the technical infrastructure in place to support it. Less travel also means less lost opportunity for
those employees engaged in training rather than their more financially productive jobs. But, al-
though you can fit a lot of cyber behinds into a synchronous training session, probably no more
than 25 participants should be included in a true interactive
learning experience. For an information dump, on the other
hand — come on down! Note: When I was to present a Webinar
recently, the system crashed when 800 people tried to log on.
Figure 3-2 is a diagram of some very simplistic relative plots
of the cost of design, development, and delivery of the various
training media.
The classroom is cheaper to design and develop for, but ex-
pensive to deliver to a large, dispersed audience because of the
travel and the need for facilities and an instructor. And consider
the quality of life issue: frequent flyer miles are poor compensation for the fatigue and time away
from home. The small army it takes to develop good asynchronous e-Learning must be paid and fed,
but once the program is running, and tested, and tested again, it’s basically free to deploy it. Synch-
ronous e-Learning falls between the two in terms of cost.
Let’s look at an example of taking advantage of any-place training. Joe Pulichino, in The eLearn-
ing Guild’s survey of synchronous learning users, lists the typically dispersed sales and marketing
departments as the leading users of synchronous e-Learning. Their virtual classroom sessions pro-
vide short classes on special software features, sales demonstrations, and troubleshooting sessions.
The need to quickly update a distributed sales force on new products and new product features
makes the virtual classroom an ideal delivery vehicle.
Another pragmatic benefit to any instructor-led medium is course completion. Getting done is a
beautiful thing — whether it’s doing your Christmas shopping or finishing assigned training. When the
teacher is watching, you had better do your schoolwork. Some asynchronous e-Learning clients have
reported higher dropout rates than those for scheduled instructor-led learning events. Some organiza-
tions have tried to ameliorate this problem by reporting student completion to supervisors, for example.
Figure 3-1
Where do computer-deliv-
ered and instructor-led
learning intersect?
Figure 3-2
The relative cost of the
three delivery methods
changes depending on
the stage of creation
and production.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 36
HOW TO DESI GN FOR THE VI RTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3
No one wants to make something that no one will look at, or finish looking at. And companies
surely don’t want to spend money on courses that students don’t complete. Figure 3-3 is a take that
my sister and I gave on one cause of non-completion: environmental distractions.
Can your students self-regulate, manage their own time, and process information on their own? If
not, you may have better luck putting under-motivated or over-worked students in a virtual class-
room — as long as the course is interactive and
engaging, and the students feel like someone on
the other side of the network cares whether they
are alive or dead.
Educational media decision
factors
Making sure students complete a cost-effec-
tive course returns nothing on the investment if
the students show no behavior change as a
result of the training. Let’s focus on the educational justification of the various delivery media and
take a different look at the Venn diagram. (See Figure 3-4.) This one shows the attributes of Com-
puter-Delivered and Instructor-Led Environments. All of these attributes are present in Synchronous
e-Learning.
Social presence
Let me start the review of this diagram by
explaining the terms under “Instructor-Led.”
Social presence is the warm fuzzy feeling you get
when actual people are around, especially when
you can shake hands, talk, and stare at those
awful shoes. When others are around only vir-
tually, you can feel socially present, provided
that the facilitator helps. An electronically deliv-
ered lecture, for example, would engender little
sense of presence, while an in-person one would
at least allow you to actually sit next to other
people, even if there is little social interaction.
Cognitive load
Cognitive load is the amount of mental work imposed on working (short-term) memory. Working
memory is your conscious information-processing center. It can only handle a limited amount of
data at a time. For example, if your boss gives you a 20-minute brain dump of your assignments, and
you don’t get a chance to write them down, you will probably forget some of them. If an instructor
plays a dense one-hour movie and sneaks off to get a sandwich, again — the students will remember
little of the content presented in the movie. Each of us can only remember a finite amount of infor-
mation without practice or memory aids such as documentation. “Instructor-led” means the presen-
ter is running the show and controlling the pace of instruction, as opposed to the learner-driven pace
of reading or taking an asynchronous e-Learning course where the student can pause, replay, contin-
ue, etc. In instructor-driven media, there is a risk of high cognitive load (or cognitive overload). All
of the students are in the same boat, traveling at the same pace. You can’t stop for very long at one
Figure 3-3
What does it take to
complete e-Learning?
Art from The New Virtual Classroom,
by Ruth Clark and Ann Kwinn, used
with Permission by the Publisher,
Pfeiffer/Wiley, © 2007
Figure 3-4
Synchronous learning has
various attributes, depend-
ing on the delivery system.
port or another. If a student doesn’t get it, he can ask a question, but if he really doesn’t have the
background to complete the course, no one is going to wait for him to get up to speed. Such a stu-
dent will have to fumble through.
Asynchronous e-Learning allows for individual study. You can go at your own pace, repeat sections
and maybe go back and run the course again later. Depending on course design, you may get access
to help such as remediation, a glossary of terms, etc. Asynchronous e-Learning can be a good choice
for audiences who are heterogeneous, or at different levels, in the skill that must be learned. It can
also provide individual drill and practice of skills that must be learned to high degrees of accuracy or
speed, or content that can benefit from the use of video animation or simulations. I remember in the
earlier days of e-Learning, many clients were appropriately skittish about using technology to rally
the troops in a change management initiative. They were quite pleased, however, with the results of
many different types of software training, especially for simulation of rare or expensive systems.
What about the “Computer-Delivered” side of the diagram?
Visuals
The virtual classroom loves graphics. It needs graphics. If the best you can do is text only, consider
providing documentation or a Website. You could follow this by a question-and-answer session in
the virtual classroom. And even then, you are not allowing practice of job skills, which, depending
on the skill, learners can usually do either in e-Learning or in a traditional classroom.
Interactions
I’ll cover the types of interactions in a later section, but for now consider the worst, most boring
college lecture in your life, and remove the cute guy (or girl) down the aisle, and there you have
e-Learning without interactions. Your students will feel a pressing need to make a grocery list, play
Solitaire, or see if their name has an entry yet in Wikipedia. Virtual classrooms only work when
instructors employ frequent, relevant (job-based) interactions.
Some skills and content areas don’t work well when taught remotely. For example, you can watch
every episode of “Dancing with the Stars,” or every cricket match on the cable sports channel, but
without hands-on practice of this or any other motor skill, your muscles will never get the skill. This
makes either type of e-Learning a poor choice for practicing non-computer-related motor skills.
Use the virtual classroom when the things this medium does best can best realize your learning
goals:
• Computer application demonstration and practice
• Visualization of content
• Real-time interactions between instructor and participants
• Collaboration among participants, and
• Moderate social presence.
Blended solutions
Collaborative exercises can help get over the problem of a heterogeneous audience by letting the
experts within student teams shine. But in general, the virtual classroom has a hard time on its own
handling a diverse audience and complex tasks that require contemplation. This is why you may at
times want to turn to what is done to martinis, milkshakes, and fabrics — blending, or distributing
your content across or through diverse media — choosing the best medium for each topic or learn-
ing objective.
Blending is the watchword for a growing number of organizations, each of which may interpret
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 37
HOW TO DESI GN FOR THE VI RTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3
the term in a unique way.
Brian Mulliner, e-Learning and Development Consultant at Wells Fargo reports:
Groups at Wells Fargo are using blended learning solutions quite regularly. Individuals
may start out with a Web-based training course (typically Flash or Breeze launched and
tracked via an LMS) for pre-work, attend a live classroom-training event, and then use
the virtual classroom for wrap up/final or follow-up training. Blended learning solutions
typically cut travel budgets and time out of the office, a real win-win for managers who
need to cut their budgets and for participants required to maintain their sales goals.
In this example, Wells Fargo starts asynchronously with self-study and then gets everyone together
synchronously. This can help to make sure everyone is at the pre-requisite level of knowledge. The
pre-work is the ticket in, and will help to get rid of the folks who bog down the class with basic ques-
tions.
Ask yourself: What is better to do alone? Helping participants attain knowledge and skills through
reading “articles, books, or Web sites” and through asynchronous project work can combine well
with virtual classroom sessions. During the virtual sessions, the instructor can provide discussions
and interactions to expand the pre-work or review and refine project work completed outside of the
session.
For Clark Training’s “Leveraging the Virtual Classroom” course, participants review two short vir-
tual classroom recordings and note their differences before attending the first live session where they
will meet in breakout rooms to discuss their findings. After each live session, participants apply the
skills learned by completing their own individual project which they post on the course Website
where the instructor and other students can review it.
Figure 3-5 shows an example in which the
instructor prefers to meet the students first in a
virtual session before sending them off to do
solo work and then getting together again on-
line. The self-study is sandwiched in between
two slices of virtual classroom.
Only your imagination and resources limit
the number of ways to blend media.
Interactions — alone but engaged.
Interactions are essential to the virtual classroom. But let’s start with a definition. With apologies
to extroverts, interaction in training does not refer to interacting with people, but rather with the
content (just as we introverts would have it). You don’t need other people to learn, but you do need
practice. Call it rehearsal, activities, exercises, etc. — it is essential for learning. I like to say, if there’s
no practice, it ain’t training. In the virtual classroom, an instructor will drive this interaction, but it
does not have to feel like a classroom, meeting, or cocktail party. Your students are there to learn the
content. Some gabbing is fine, but with the limited time that you typically have, make sure people
focus on and understand the content.
Frequency of interactions
Including interactions is one of the most important things you can do for learning and engage-
ment. Frequent participation will keep students from turning into zombies. I also like to use people’s
names when I can — Bueller? Bueller? This is easy given the list of participants in the participant
window. They need to know you are “keeping an eye” on them. If you get to know something about
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 38
HOW TO DESI GN FOR THE VI RTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3
Figure 3-5
A blended design that
combines synchronous
e-Learning and offline
private study.
Art adapted from The New Virtual
Classroom, by Ruth Clark and Ann Kwinn,
used with Permission by the Publisher,
Pfeiffer/Wiley, © 2007
your participants, either during the introduction or through some pre-work, you can periodically
relate your content to the types of projects, etc. that various individuals are working on.
Mark Bucceri, Principal Education Specialist for Saba Software says:
I’ve added increased activities to (a) keep participants’ attention, as they tend to multi-
task, and (b) to assess whether they are “getting it” or not — as I don’t have the benefit of
seeing their faces (and seeing the light bulbs or confusion). When appropriate (and when
budget allows), I add multimedia to provide more pizzazz and to provide opportunities
for interaction with the content.
(I never knew I was supposed to be looking for subtle signs of confusion. I can’t flirt either.)
Response facilities in the virtual classroom
The virtual classroom offers many opportunities for interaction. In
fact, exercises are easier to execute and be done with in the virtual
classroom since they require no rearranging of tables or looking for
easels and smelly markers. Figure 3-6 shows the tool features you can
use for interactions in many, if not most, software applications for syn-
chronous e-Learning. And if the analogy “Here are the tools in your
tool box” doesn’t work for the women in the audience, how about:
“These are the things you can carry in your purse.”
In this section, I will describe the various response facilities so that
you can decide which to use as you design or convert courseware for
synchronous e-Learning. I will describe them from the designer’s point
of view. You have already seen these (and others) listed in Chapter 2,
which Karen Hyder wrote for managers and others who are consider-
ing their options. Information about using these response facilities
effectively during an event appears in Chapters 4 to 6, where Karen will provide you with guidelines
and examples from the instructor’s point of view.
Individual interactions
The term “interactions” might refer to interactions between individual participants and the in-
structor or the content, it might refer to participation in discussions, or it might refer to collabora-
tion between participants. I’ll address each of these nuances, beginning with the individual interac-
tions with the instructor and the content.
Polling
Although the word “polling” tends to connote presidential approval ratings or favorite dog food,
polling in the virtual classroom just means multiple choice or true/false questions — something we
can all relate to. After you set up a poll, each student can click on their choice — from A to E. You
don’t have to be asking for opinions; you can use this feature for exercises and tests. The multiple
choice options can also be visual, such as: Is what’s in the picture a gadget or a thingamajig? Some
VC tools display the students’ responses anonymously and some attach them to the students’ names.
In either case, you can offer more explanation if people don’t seem to be getting it. Polling can also
be a way to get to know people at the start of a session, i.e., “How many of you still believe in Santa?”
If you have your “designer” hat on (whether permanently or interchangeably) and you are prepar-
ing a kit of materials (traditional instructor guide, PowerPoint deck, job aids for the learners, etc.),
you will want to provide the instructor with the appropriate cues and content for the polls that are
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 39
HOW TO DESI GN FOR THE VI RTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3
Figure 3-6
Synchronous e-Learning
provides a number of inter-
active response features.
Art adapted from The New Virtual
Classroom, by Ruth Clark and Ann Kwinn,
used with Permission by the Publisher,
Pfeiffer/Wiley, © 2007
critical to your design. If you are working with one or more instructors who will actually deliver the
synchronous e-Learning, prepare them to use your kit by having them practice setting up and exe-
cuting the polls. In addition, be sure to provide the instructor with an “out” or “Plan B” in the event
that a technology failure prevents execution of the poll as planned.
Chat
Chatting has been with us for a while in other forms. You should use it sparingly but it can be a
good way for students to respond to open-ended questions. Try to construct your questions so that
students can answer briefly. Such as: “Why would anyone buy our product?” Responses in Chat are
not anonymous. Each student’s name precedes their statements. If you don’t want people to “cheat”
by just entering the same thing as the last person, have the instructor ask students to type in their
answers but not to press “Send” until the instructor says: “Send.”
Chat capabilities vary from one tool to another. If the tool allows, students can also use Chat to
ask the instructor questions. It’s best to discourage off-topic conversations between students, howev-
er. Your instructor guide and instructor preparation session should address this.
With a lot of participants, Chat is murder because the comments scroll up quickly in the window.
In this case, the instructor can group
people by asking all the Scorpios to
take the next question, etc. Again,
cover some options for grouping in
the instructor guide and the prepa-
ration.
Whiteboard
The whiteboard is the area of the
screen where the instructor displays
PowerPoint slides. Everyone likes to
write on the whiteboard. It’s so
naughty. You got in trouble if you
wrote on the chalkboard in school
without permission, and then you
had to do a lot of writing on the
chalkboard: i.e.: “I will not misbe-
have in school.”“I will not misbe-
have in school” ... . Most people do
behave themselves as adults, but be
sure to provide your instructors with
a set of clear directions they can give to the learners, and some suggested cues to let learners know
when to start. Reference the tool the learners should use, such as “the little ‘A’ icon,” for the typing
tool.
The nice thing about the virtual classroom is that people can annotate at the same time if that’s
the direction the instructor gives them. They can type, draw lines, circle items, etc. In whiteboard
activities, students can identify where they are located on a map, label parts of a diagram, plot data
on a graph, and type in answers to questions, etc. All of these responses are anonymous. Figure 3-7
is an example of a whiteboard activity presented after a short video of the characters is shown. The
learners typed in the “thoughts” in the bubbles over the characters’ heads.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 40
HOW TO DESI GN FOR THE VI RTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3
Figure 3-7
In this whiteboard exer-
cise, participants typed
in the “thoughts” in the
bubbles.
Art from The New Virtual Classroom,
by Ruth Clark and Ann Kwinn, used
with Permission by the Publisher,
Pfeiffer/Wiley, © 2007
Audio
The instructor can ask students to raise their hands (by selecting an icon, which I will explain in
the next section) to ask or answer questions via audio. Some systems allow multiple speakers; some
do not. The best practice is for the instructor to limit the response to one person at a time. Audio
questions allow new voices to be heard, and are a good way to get longer answers to open-ended
questions, but, as opposed to polling and the whiteboard, they only allow one person to respond at a
time. Effective use of this capability depends on the instructor, more so than the designer. For now,
just remember that too much back and forth can bog down a session: i.e.: Jason raises his hand.
Jason: “I didn’t understand the question.” Pause. Instructor: “What about the question did you not
understand?” Pause. Jason: “The last part.” Pause. Instructor: “OK. Let me re-phrase it.” (etc.)
Icons
Asking students to answer questions can help to keep them engaged, but they can also respond in
other ways — such as with icons. Is it a smiley face or a happy face? I don’t know, but it’s cute and
yellow and I use it a lot. For example: “Click on the smiley face after you have read the passage.”
“Click on the smiley face if you are ready to do the exercise.”“Click on the smiley face if you’re happy
and you know it.”
Most virtual classroom software includes icons such as the smiley face, confused face, clapping
hands, raised hand, etc., which allow students to give quick feedback or interrupt the action when
they need to. This can help instructors working in the sometimes-silent vacuum that is the virtual
classroom, where they can feel like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense — they think they’re alive but no
one reacts to them. Use of icons is another type of interaction that you should spell out in the in-
structor guide, and that instructors should practice during their preparation.
Application sharing
For you relay running fans, application-sharing lets the instructor run an application, such as
Excel, and pass the baton, so to speak, to the students so they can operate the application. They can
actually type, click, drag — everything. The great thing is — only the instructor needs to actually
have the application on their machine. The crummy thing is that only one student can work at a
time, which leaves a bunch of people wishing you had called on them ... maybe. Heavy software
application practice is probably best to do individually, outside the virtual classroom — which is
great for demonstration. You can also use application sharing to show asynchronous e-Learning pro-
grams — or anything that can be run on the instructor’s computer.
Application sharing, depending on the Web conferencing program you are using, can be fraught
with problems. Be sure that your instructor guide contains a Plan B for the inevitable times that the
technology will fail the instructor, and be sure to lead instructors through practice sessions with both
the application sharing and the Plan B.
How to maximize participation
As you can see, some interaction features allow simultaneous users and some do not. Your design
should allow as many people as possible to work with the content in an efficient way. Avoid the bane
of classroom discussions and group projects — the slacker and the control freak. No one likes them.
Don’t create a design that will allow them to flourish in your virtual classes. Consider activities that
involve as many students as possible. For example — asking one person to use the microphone does-
n’t require everyone to have an answer. If you do this a lot, people will wise up to it and start stream-
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 41
HOW TO DESI GN FOR THE VI RTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3
ing Jon Stewart instead of paying attention.
Instructors may overly rely on open-ended questions: i.e. “How about those Lakers?” This can
start a conversation going in the traditional classroom, but it takes a long time, and time tends to be
in short supply in the virtual classroom. Also, open-ended audio questions only allow only one stu-
dent to answer at a time. Rather, you could ask a polling question such as: “Who was your favorite
player?: a) Kobe, b) Shaq c) Magic, d) The Laker
Girls.” It takes more effort, and the questions go
by fast, but that’s what you want. You don’t get
credit for killing time and no one will like you
for it. The pace needs to be fast. Attend to your
students or they start dropping off. (As in
Figure 3-8.) Give the instructors specific ques-
tions (and alternatives) in the instructor guide.
You can certainly use a mix of open- and
close-ended questions. For example, start with
polling and then have the instructor ask students for the rationale behind their answers.
However you structure your interactions, consider the do-it-yourself impulse behind YouTube,
Wikipedia, and My Space. People like to contribute. The classroom is a democracy. Let your students
speak! (Or at least respond.) Avoid the tyranny of the lecture.
Collaboration
You can take classroom democracy a step further and incorporate collaborative exercises. At Clark
Training, we find that people really throw themselves into group exercises and often rate these activi-
ties as the most beneficial in a course. Research has shown that with correctly structured learning
activities, students may learn more in collaborative groups than they do alone. Group activities can
be a little tricky in the virtual classroom, but it’s possible to create even more of a sense of a commu-
nity than you would have in a traditional lecture class. And while the learners are working in their
groups, you can <Alt> <Tab> over to see how your stocks are doing.
Breakout rooms
Depending on the topic and the objectives, you can use virtual breakout rooms for most of the
small group activities you would do in the physical classroom. Students can discuss case studies
(using their own whiteboard to take notes), role play, complete short written assignments, and so on.
And with a smaller group, say two to five participants, you can use audio more freely. If you want, a
spokesperson from each group can report to the larger group once everyone has moved back into
the main room.
Paired Chat
If you want students to work in pairs, you don’t necessarily need to establish a number of break-
out rooms. Rather, you can assign pairings, i.e.: “Wallace, you work with Grommet.” You can have
fun playing matchmaker — another good reason to know something about your participants.
Depending on what your Web conferencing application allows, you can pair people working on sim-
ilar projects or working in similar industries, group novices with experts, etc. Then ask students to
direct their Chat messages to their partner only as they work through whatever problem you have
given them. To you, the moderator, it will look like chaos since you can see all Chat messages, but the
students can only see messages directed at them. In paired Chat and breakout rooms, the moderator
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 42
HOW TO DESI GN FOR THE VI RTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3
Figure 3-8
Keep the pace up.
Art from The New Virtual Classroom,
by Ruth Clark and Ann Kwinn, used
with Permission by the Publisher,
Pfeiffer/Wiley, © 2007
can only monitor pieces of the conversations and ask students to raise their hand if they have a ques-
tion — which is no different from a physical classroom.
Feedback and assessment
Using the above interaction tools and techniques will make a session effective and engaging, but
forgetting to provide feedback is a lost learning opportunity. Interactions without feedback may let
the instructor assess the students but misses a chance for students to know if they got it right. A
dance teacher once told me: “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” If there is
a written component to exercises, consider giving model answers as feedback. If you have students
complete a list of items on a printed worksheet, the instructor can then give them feedback with a
slide containing the answers. Peers in breakout rooms can also give each other feedback.
If you want to assess the students individually, you must use interaction tools that are not anony-
mous. Polling and the whiteboard are typically anonymous. Chat is rather infeasible for assessments
since students can see each other’s answers. Probably the best way to do an assessment is with an
external survey tool or by asking students to e-mail or post answers to an assignment or quiz. Some
universities have students grade each other based on their contributions. If someone wasn’t con-
tributing, it’s payback time.
Visuals — the journey of a thousand pixels
In the virtual classroom, with the dominance of the whiteboard, a picture’s worth a thousand pix-
els. Text-heavy presentations spell nap time for participants. Working in this medium requires that
you develop your visual literacy or visual chops. I like to say: While you’re designing, close your eyes
and imagine what the student is seeing. You could also think of designing visuals for the virtual envi-
ronment as turning your course into a comic book, in that there is some
artwork for each piece of content. It doesn’t have to be Manga-quality to be
effective.
Visualization facilities in the virtual classroom
Figure 3-9 shows the virtual classroom features available for visualization.
Not all synchronous e-Learning systems support all of these features. Some
features, such as the whiteboard and application sharing, do double duty as
interaction tools and visualization tools.
The whiteboard
You can draw on the whiteboard directly, but following Siegfried and
Roy’s principle of “Be prepared and keep it moving,” it’s best to have
PowerPoint slides created ahead of time for the instructor to load into the
system.
The space devoted to the whiteboard is typically only a portion of the screen. Make sure your art-
work, diagrams, tables, etc. will be large enough to “read” within this space. Simple is good. Some
very detailed images may need to be either broken into multiple images, reduced in fidelity, or have
elements removed. Figure 3-10 on page 44 is an example of a size violation. There is too much tiny
text on the whiteboard. Makes you want to get glasses, doesn’t it?
Web cams
Use of the Web cam brings into question the model brought to the virtual classroom enterprise. If
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 43
HOW TO DESI GN FOR THE VI RTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3
Figure 3-9
These are the tools you
may have available for
presenting visuals.
Art adapted from The New Virtual
Classroom, by Ruth Clark and Ann Kwinn,
used with Permission by the Publisher,
Pfeiffer/Wiley, © 2007
you think of synchronous e-Learning
as a classroom, needing the trappings
of a classroom, you will want to see the
instructor. But the only reason that we
ever saw instructors in the physical
classroom was because they were the
repository of the information. They are
also a cheap visual, but they don’t help
learning in and of themselves. A better
use of the camera would be to use it as
a document camera — showing docu-
ments or demonstrations, but even
then, it’s better to shoot ahead of time
so the instructor can just roll ‘em at
show time. Those who tempt fate by
not preparing will be rewarded with
technical glitches, poor performance,
and so on, so be sure that you address
this in your instructor preparation.
Application sharing, multimedia, Web tours
Ever since the introduction of the graphical user interface, applications are visual, and therefore
application sharing is a form of visualization. In fact, what better way to teach an application than to
show it? This is the first item in the category of, “Steal from others — you don’t have to make it
yourself.” Second are videos and animations an instructor can play in the multimedia window. Just
be mercifully brief. If you have a long piece, break it up with interactions. Worksheets, distributed
ahead of time, could drive these interactions. The last great option for people who want to steal from
others is the Web tour. As with application sharing, only the instructor needs to actually access the
Web pages while the participants watch. This is particularly apt in cases where you are teaching stu-
dents to navigate to a Web page, or when someone else has put together something very close to
what you wanted to show in the first place.
Types of visuals
The various visualization facilities allow you to show many different types of visuals or graphics.
Ruth Clark’s and Chopeta Lyon’s Graphics for Learning book describes at least three “communication
functions” of graphics, or how graphics can convey information. The authors reported that a large
proportion of visuals in instructional materials serve no useful learning function; they are merely
decorative, used in the hope of beautifying the materials or to add interest or humor. But a pig in a
suit is still a pig. Don’t dress up the pig. Your course doesn’t have to look like a video game to be
effective.
Rather than decorating your screen, include artwork that is germane to the teaching topic. Some-
times less is more. Omit extraneous visual noise from your graphics. Oftentimes a line drawing is
easier to see and understand and can help to focus the student’s attention better than a photograph,
for example. Assess the kind of visuals that will best communicate your message. Here are some sug-
gestions.
Representational visuals look like the object in question. Both the glasses and the eye chart in
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 44
HOW TO DESI GN FOR THE VI RTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3
Figure 3-10
Remember that learners
must actually read what
is on the whiteboard!
Art from The New Virtual Classroom,
by Ruth Clark and Ann Kwinn, used
with Permission by the Publisher,
Pfeiffer/Wiley, © 2007
Figure 3-10 are examples. Proper uses
of this type of art include software
screen captures, and photographs or
illustrations of relevant equipment or
products. Some of the “how to assem-
ble” directions from the IKEA furniture
store have only drawings with arrows,
and do a pretty good job of teaching
you how to assemble a bookshelf, for
example.
Explanatory visuals are drawings of
things you cannot see in real life —
unless your CEO really sits just above the
VP in the office as he or she does in the
organization chart. This type of artwork
can show qualitative relationships, like
my Venn diagrams or quantitative ones,
like the graph to show the cost to devel-
op various media. Crack open Excel to
see what it can do: line graphs, bar
charts, pie charts, etc. Consider too the type of picture shown in Figure 3-11, taken from a class teaching
the needs-assessment process. This flow chart is simple but effective and efficient. Ex-planatory art is
especially powerful for learning because it helps learners form relationships among lesson topics.
Now let me amend how I led off this section on visuals — a good picture is worth a thousand pixels.
Summary
In summary, visuals and interactions provide opportunity and potential pitfalls in the virtual
classroom. Use them well and often, and your classes will be successful. Take the opportunity to cre-
ate social presence through learner participation, and especially group activities, and don’t overload
the student with too much information at one time. Good luck and have fun.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 45
HOW TO DESI GN FOR THE VI RTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3
Figure 3-11
Simple flow charts work
well online.
Art from The New Virtual Classroom,
by Ruth Clark and Ann Kwinn, used
with Permission by the Publisher,
Pfeiffer/Wiley, © 2007
I
came across some old Windows 3.1 Orientation, Excel spreadsheets, and Word for Windows 2.0
Levels 1, 2, and 3 courseware manuals in the back of my closet. They’re artifacts from the early
1990s, when I taught thousands of corporate students how to use computer programs.
What’s different about a synchronous online event,
compared to classroom delivery?
I saw my Trainer Checklist written on the inside of one cover showing the items I would need for
that course. The list includes: spare floppy disks to format, broken floppy disk, PowerPoint over-
heads, printed sample documents and spreadsheets, markers, index cards, and ChapStick®. The
pages were filled with notes to remind myself what to say, which file to open, and in which dialog
box to remind students “DO NOT CLICK OK.” There is a little yellow sticky note that says, “Agenda,
Schedule.” This was to remind myself what to write on the whiteboard before students arrived.
When I think of my current Checklist, the ChapStick is the only thing that hasn’t changed. I have
electronic substitutes for everything else. I still post an Agenda and a Schedule, but I send it in an
e-mail and post it on a Web site. I still use visual aids to teach, but they are video clips, not clip art.
I can still annotate an image, but I do it with a mouse pointer, not a marker. I provide sample docu-
ments for learners, but I make them available for download rather than distributing physical copies.
Nothing has changed. Everything has changed.
In this chapter, I’ll discuss the pre-planning and information-gathering that you must do in order
to properly prepare yourself and your content. Let’s begin with the learners themselves.
Who is your audience, and where are they?
Back in the day, I rarely knew who would be in my class or why they were
there. I’d have a roster of names and companies, but no specifics on learning
objectives or needs. My first goal of the day was to meet as many students as
I could while they were enjoying coffee and bagels. I was fishing for anec-
dotes so I could adapt my examples or storylines to better suit them.
Learners came in and sat down. The big concerns were parking or incle-
ment weather. Students chose seats to be close to the door, or the board, or
a coworker. I’d ask each to introduce himself at the beginning of the session
and declare what he was most interested in learning today.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 46
Preliminary
Planning for
Your Event
By Karen Hyder
C H A P T E R 4
In Chapter 4 you will find information about:
• Who is your audience, and where are they?
• Are you going to have co-presenters?
Where are they?
• What equipment and facilities will you need?
• Plan to support the instructional design
• How will you handle handouts and supplemental
materials?
• Are you going to have a Producer?
Contents
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 47
PRELI MI NARY PLANNI NG FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4
It was useful to gather that information, but I wished there was a way to know these details before
the class started. It would have been easier to create an appropriate example if I had more time.
My online students’ issues aren’t parking, weather, or coffee and bagels, but logging in and using
passwords. Sessions might take place at a time of day that is not business hours in every locale. Stu-
dents are not in one room, but in cubicles or in their home offices, in other time zones. Trainers in
this situation may feel a zero sense of control because, while it’s possible that students are sitting at
desks and looking at the demonstration, images, and text, there’s no guarantee. Participants might
actually be reading e-mail, shopping online, or folding the laundry.
Needs assessment and analysis
I’m so grateful for innovations like e-mail and Web forms. These days, I can find out relevant
information about learners in advance, whether we’re meeting in a classroom or online. I can ask
each of them, and their
managers, what they already
know and what they want to
learn in our training ses-
sions. I can find out more
about how students will
apply what they learn back
at work.
I once gathered this infor-
mation from my client, the
training coordinator. This
anecdotal information help-
ed me get a sense of the situ-
ation, but didn't provide
hard examples. Now, I send
a pre-course survey file at-
tached to an e-mail. The sur-
vey asks each participant
questions about his skills
and intentions for the ses-
sion. (See Table 4-1.) I
request information about
job tasks and knowledge of
other, similar tools.
Even more critical are
technical needs. Learners
who cannot connect to the
session or cannot hear the
audio cannot participate.
Surveys can include ques-
tions about their individual
hardware and software set-
ups, network firewalls, and
technical considerations that
Collect relevant information about learners ahead of time
Who is the audience?
What do they know
already?
What do they intend to
learn from this training
session?
How does the organiza-
tion see this group
using the product?
Experience using a
browser and accessing
Web sites?
Synchronous online
learning experience?
In which product?
What do they most
need to learn?
They are primarily brokers,
but also support, market-
ing, managers, etc.
They've been introduced
to the product and have it
installed. Some use it a
lot, some not at all.
Some are self-taught; they
want to fill in the gaps.
Others want a structured
look at how to use the
product and a chance to
try it and ask questions.
Day-to-day.
Yes
Yes/No/Some
WebEx
They think it will help clari-
fy things they are strug-
gling with.
Questions Responses from
coordinator
I work on the help desk.
I've been using contact
management software for
six years. I've had this for
three weeks.
I'm just using it the way I
used the old software. I'd
also like to understand
more of the e-mail func-
tions.
It is my lifeline to my
clients and my leads. I
spend five hours a day
using it.
Yes
Yes. Live Meeting for three
or four meetings.
Live Meeting.
I don't need to start at the
beginning. I just need to
know how to be more effi-
icient with the mess I have
right now.
Financial services.
Outlook. Two years.
More on e-mail and
contact manage-
ment.
All contact informa-
tion in one place.
Five years.
Yes.
Centra, BlackBoard
in school.
How to keep track
of the huge amount
of client information
I have.
Sample response:
Student “A”
Sample response:
Student “B”
Table 4-1
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 48
PRELI MI NARY PLANNI NG FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4
learners should address well in advance of the session.
I also invite learners to express concerns and intentions they have about participating in this new
environment.
For large training efforts, individual e-mail and attached files quickly become cumbersome. Web-
based forms can tie to the registration process, perhaps through the Learning Management System
(LMS), so that trainers and registrars can view learner information as needed.
Keep in mind, if your goal is to build rapport, a Web-based form will not likely make the connec-
tion you’re looking for. For that, you need to look beyond the confines of a single online learning
“event” and connect with learners before, during, and after online sessions. Encourage them to com-
municate, too. Use group e-mails or threaded discussions as seen in chat boards. Teams are using
“blogs” (short for “Web logs”), wikis (Web sites that allow users to create, edit, and comment on
entries), and collaborative management software of many kinds (from Lotus Notes and Groove to
the latest Web mashup) so everyone in the group can contribute to the discussion. You can get more
insight into learners’ needs from these sources. Bring your own bagels.
Adapt content or make adjustments to materials based on learner
needs and technical setup
When an instructional designer hands you a course that you can load and run, be sure to say
thank you. As you’ve seen in Chapter 3, several new factors need to be considered when designing for
online learning. Sequencing and flow have become less linear. Materials have multiple formats and
can require special players to run. Sessions can be any length. Communication is a whole new game.
Rooms, desks, and gravity are irrelevant. Your course doesn’t fit between the covers of a book.
Teaching online means accepting these things and finding ways to do what you need to do to get
the message through, while staying flexible to deal with last-minute issues around technology or
learners’ interests.
When a client recently asked me to deliver two sessions, two hours each, on Act! 6.0 for her finan-
cial services team, I ordered a courseware product designed for instructor-led classroom training.
The course has six lessons and is a full day long, so I had to make some hard choices about what to
cover and how. I didn't believe that going faster or simply asking the students to keystroke while I
observed would cut it.
To keep students interested, I focused training on what they most needed. The surveys indicated
that most students had already used contact management software, but not Act! 6.0. I scanned the
course workbook for content on these subjects and planned 60 minutes of activities focused on con-
tact management features, differences, and shortcuts including Contact Activity Lookup and Active
Libraries. I planned 30 minutes on e-mail with Outlook integration and some practice time.
Part of delivering online is respecting the time available. It's not, "Cover everything you can," but,
"Cover important content well in the amount of time you have."
To compel learners to pay attention and participate, create an “intentional design” for your online
sessions. Plan what you’ll say, what you’ll show, and what the learners will do at every point in the
program. Don’t wing it! Make use of a variety of features to get the most from your online tools. If I
can find out what they need to learn, what will keep them motivated, and what obstacles need to be
removed, it’s a start.
Are you going to have co-presenters? Where are they?
Imagine the practicality of inviting a guest speaker to your session, an industry expert whose forte
is exactly what your learners want to know more about. You can have more than one expert. You can
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 49
PRELI MI NARY PLANNI NG FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4
have a panel. You can send the guest speakers a link to the session, test their connections, teach them
how to use the audio functions and they’re ready to go.
Surprisingly, I find it cleaner if co-presenters are in different places. If they are sitting next to each
other, they might also need to share a headset and a keyboard. This requires constantly readjusting
their hardware. If they are in the same room, and they both open their microphones, the audio of
one speaker can often be heard in the background of the other, causing an echo.
Co-presenters can take turns speaking and using software controls. Leadership roles equate to
privileges for controlling the audio, annotating the whiteboard, advancing slides, application sharing,
and setting participant privileges. Some tools allow upgrading any user to have presenter privileges at
any time. Other tools attach privileges to login type and only allow one presenter to have control at a
time. Some tools have a variety of roles available, all with slightly different privileges. Hosts might
choose to restrict the control that a guest speaker has so that an untrained user can’t negatively affect
the session by closing the file or changing the settings.
Co-presenters can support each other by fielding learner questions entered in Chat. Text can flow
quickly in Chat, making it difficult for the primary presenter to read. An informed co-presenter
might type responses to each question as appropriate, or alert the primary presenter to respond ver-
bally.
The smoothest co-presented session is one where the presenters have practiced together in advance.
They practice turning controls over to each other so that the process is seamless during the actual
presentation. An important step in production planning is to determine who will take the lead, how
to introduce activities, and who will cover each topic. If there is any confusion about which slide is
whose, I recommend adding a visual cue to every slide; e.g., if the title text is blue, it’s my slide; if the
title text is black, it’s yours.
If I’m supporting a presenter as an online session producer, I meet with him in advance to teach
him the software and the interface, set up and test his system, and make sure audio and other issues
are taken care of. I use a Speaker Tracking Form to document what we’ve done. You can download a
Microsoft Excel template for the Speaker Tracking Form, in an archive with a Storyboard template, at
http://www.elearningguild.net/ebook/Worksheet.zip. A printed version is in Appendix C.
What equipment and facilities will you need?
In order to present an online session, each presenter will need a minimum setup that includes the
following items and services:
• A quiet, comfortable place to work
• A computer and, if possible, a backup
• A wired Internet connection for the primary computer, and if possible for the backup computer
• High quality audio
• Access to the session room and materials
A place to work
Each presenter needs a workspace, including a desk and a chair. I’d like to say I can do my job
from anywhere, but sandy beaches and village bistros just aren’t practical, yet. You need a place to be
and to put your equipment — a place where you can sit comfortably for a long time. Find a com-
fortable chair and a desk or table that positions your keyboard and mouse at an ergonomically
appropriate height. If your own audio line will be open, be sure to keep your background noise to a
minimum. String a “Do not disturb” sign across your cubicle door, and turn down the ringer on the
fax machine and pager. If you’re at your home office, put the dog in the kitchen or in his crate.
Adjust the blinds to limit glare, and set the temperature. Bring in some light. Remember your bottle
of water and ChapStick, too.
Two computers
At least one, if not two, PCs or Macs suitable for running the selected online software. (Some tools
do not support Mac, so be sure to do your research.) You can use the second computer to display the
participant’s view, that is, what your participants are seeing on their screens. A second machine can
also be an emergency backup in case your primary machine fails during the session. Remember,
you’ll need power. Don’t count on your batteries alone if you are using a laptop.
Here are the average setup requirements for presenters (check the specifics for your particular
software):
• PC: 256 Megs RAM (more if you need to open several applications)
• Pentium processor
• Audio card
• Windows 98 or better
• Internet Explorer, Netscape, or Mozilla
• Proprietary plug in to allow the second machine to connect to the synchronous session
• Minimum 56K connection speed for the second machine, but if the session will involve heavy
media files or application sharing, you’ll want more speed. (See the next heading, “A wired
Internet connection.”)
• Certain functions enabled or disabled (as re-
quired), such as JavaScript settings, or cookies
and pop ups.
• Macintosh and Solaris users: check your vendor’s
system requirements. Some don’t support Mac-
intosh and Solaris systems, and some provide a
less functional interface than what PC users see.
A wired Internet connection
The presenter(s) must have a wired Internet con-
nection. Yes, I know that, technically speaking, wire-
less should work just as well, but if you’re counting
on application sharing and Voice over IP, make sure
you have the best foundation possible. Participants,
who are mostly receiving information, can get away
with less upload speed as long as they can download
quickly.
If you’re presenting, your concern is with upload speed, not what your Internet provider tells you
in their marketing collateral material, but your ACTUAL connection at that moment. Figure 4-1
shows the results of actual speed tests (http://www.Internetfrog.com/). Software vendors post pre-
ferred connection speeds for their products. The minimums are usually 28.8K and 56K, but most
users will prefer to work on a wired cable or DSL connection. Your biggest consideration will be con-
tinual connection to maintain consistent flow of audio and data. Some software tools have an inter-
nal indicator to warn you when your connection speed is reduced.
Think of connection speeds this way: When you’re driving on a four-lane highway late at night
you have plenty of room because there’s very little traffic. If there’s an accident, though, it doesn’t
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 50
PRELI MI NARY PLANNI NG FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4
Figure 4-1
Internet Frog speed test
results show your internet
connection’s actual per-
formance. This may vary
considerably from what
you expected.
matter how little traffic there is, you still need to slow down and sometimes stop. During rush hour,
accidents, congestion, and regular traffic can affect your ability to get through or to send and receive
continuously and consistently over a long period of time. Be realistic about your connection to the
Internet. Establish the best connection possible.
Your software may have particular requirements that affect connections. For example, Elluminate
runs on Java, which is installed on many (but not all) machines. You need to find out ahead of time
what your presenters (and your participants) have. Elluminate also connects on one of two ports –
2187 or 80. Conflicts can occur when corporations don’t allow students to use those ports for Ellu-
minate, citing security, policy, and a support call waiting list. Last Minute Larry faces an obstacle
when his IT staffer requires a trouble ticket and a three-day lead to open the port — not to mention
the protocol meeting where IT decides if they are willing to subject their network to unknown traffic
through the firewall. Larry will not be joining on time. Rest assured Elluminate is just doing what is
needed to run the session; they’re not stealing corporate secrets.
High-quality audio (whether VoIP or telephony)
Minimally, the presenter needs to have very high quality audio output, and the participants need
to have high quality and consistently audible sound. When participants rely on being able to hear in
order to get the information they need, it can be difficult to listen to a degraded-quality phone line.
Participants have reported headache symptoms after a few minutes of listening to a line with a hum
or buzz.
Take very seriously your decision about how participants will join the audio portion of the ses-
sion. As with telephone conference calls, there are options that can restrict or facilitate opportunities
for verbal interaction. You can allow all participants to speak openly, and mute and unmute their
lines. This can take extra time if you intend that all participants will frequently speak and respond.
You can let only presenters speak, but allow participants to comment at times when the operator
opens the line. These options can affect session timing, content flow, and interaction types and
should be considered in the instructional design process.
Will Voice over IP be good enough? VoIP requires that each person who will speak on the session
must have a PC headset with a microphone. The small microphone and speakers in a laptop usually
don’t provide good quality.
Beyond input and output devices, bandwidth limits VoIP technology. When all participants enjoy
an uncongested broadband connection to the Internet, VoIP audio can sound as good as a call on a
hard-wired telephone — remember those? Many synchronous online software tools support full-
duplexing, which allows multiple speakers to open their microphones and talk at the same time.
Speakers often report a slight delay in audio and have a tendency to speak over each other. In side-
by-side tests with an open phone call, testers reported a two- to ten-second delay in receiving the
VoIP audio.
When you’re downloading e-mail or files from a network to your local drive, you might never
notice that the flow stops and restarts. If listening to audio, it’s very obvious when that happens. To
the VoIP user, the audio might seem to cut out and drop words the way a cellular phone call does.
More likely, the system will download and cache the audio stream, and then play it a few seconds
late. Listeners hear all the words that were said, but with random gaps in between. Patient listeners
will be able to follow along, but might not like it very much.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 52
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Access to the session room and materials
Presenters, like participants, typically need to log in to a session by following a link to a Web site
and then entering a unique user ID and password assigned by the session Producer or training ad-
ministrator. Once logged in, presenters can upload slides and share applications and other visuals.
Some online software tools allow presenters to load materials in advance and leave them there until
it’s time to present them.
Plan to support the instructional design
Even though synchronous online software tools seem very similar, they all have their own way of
doing things. These “ways” are not the same as the ways in which one does things face-to-face in the
classroom, and converting existing materials for use in synchronous sessions requires forethought
and planning. Because body language doesn’t exist online, you must plan ways to engage learners
with the tools that are available online. The time to do this planning is well in advance of the actual
session.
Build a storyboard
You can use an Excel spreadsheet to create a storyboard that helps instructional designers, trainers,
and producers keep track of every aspect of the delivery. A storyboard captures what often feel like
chaotic details in a more linear structure.
When adapting content, start with sections that are best delivered in a group setting (role plays,
discussions, Q&A). Consider how the lesson will work. What instructions will the learners need? Will
you give instructions verbally, visually, or both ways? Which feature(s) will you use to deliver the
instructions? What missing classroom elements will affect the lesson? What can you use instead?
Once you’ve worked out the highly interactive sections, you’ll start to see how things work. Go
back to the less interesting content and plan ways to keep it engaging. Create touchpoints that will
confirm that learners are alive and with you. Plan to post polling or open-ended questions, encour-
age Chat, or initiate an activity. If online time is limited, develop independent tasks for learners to
complete offline.
By incorporating these adaptations into a storyboard, you’ll remember to open files BEFORE you
need to share them, and you’ll post the right poll at the right time.
Label your spreadsheet columns as listed below and then fill in every detail, every message to par-
ticipants, and every filename or link that will be used. (See Figure 4-2 on page 55 for an example.)
The beauty of using a spreadsheet is that you can write as much as you need to and not worry about
margins. If you want to print the storyboard, you can always hide and unhide columns.
1. Learning content — The learning objective of this segment (more granular than lesson). Con-
tent might also include introductory instructions and ground rules.
2. Method — How will you deliver this learning content to learners? You can’t just have a blank
screen and talk. What will you be showing or doing?
3. Graphic — If you’re displaying a file, list the filename here.
4. Tech check — Identify the technology that will have to be turned on, or in place, for this to
work. Start application sharing. Convert and load PowerPoint files. The Tech check serves as a to-do
list.
5. Talk track — Fill in who will speak and what they will say at this point. Be sure to include new
phrases such as, “Click your Hand Raise button to request permission to use the Talk button.” For
most presenters, this very specific, somewhat odd, language doesn’t flow easily. The script helps
everyone get used to the new terminology.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 53
PRELI MI NARY PLANNI NG FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4
6. Interaction — Interactions will include instructions for activities, polls, and open-ended questions.
Schedule regular (every 5-15 minutes) relevant interactions, particularly questions, throughout the session.
7. Intended response — The intended response lists what the participants are likely to say or do
when you initiate the interaction. List likely answers to an open-ended question, points of confusion
on the activity, and reminders about using software tools. Think ahead to what the learner will be
doing or will need at that point.
8. Response method — Head nods and audible sighs will not serve as communication methods.
Plan how participants will do an activity and TELL THEM to respond that way. “Please click on your
answer in the polling pod you see on your screen.”“Please unMute your line and speak up.”
9. PLAN B – The moment of dread will come. You will move to an activity and the file won’t be
there. You’ll try to share an application and your machine will lock up. You’ll rest easier if you’re
proactive. Set up a secondary solution to all key learning methods. You do not want to have to say,
“I’m sorry, we are having technical difficulties and can’t give you the information you came here to
see.” Even if the delivery option seems low-tech and lame, fill it in. I promise, it’ll be a relief the
moment nothing else exists. Don’t be shy about fleshing out a Plan C or D option either, especially if
it’s easy to do. Be prepared to say, “Log in to this site, download the file, and advance the screen shot
slides along with me.” I needed to refer to Plan D once, and was able to keep the lesson afloat.
A good storyboard is a gift to a new online trainer. It helps them visualize the process and over-
come the hurdle of managing many things at once. You can download a Microsoft Excel template for
the Speaker Tracking Form, in a archive with a Storyboard template, at http://www.elearningguild.
net/ebook/Worksheet.zip. A printed version is in Appendix C.. This template will help instructional
designers and trainers create a support plan for everything that will happen in a session visually,
audibly, and technically. By using this template, they can ensure that each item is set up and ready to
go when needed. The template has some content filled in so you can see what types of information
to track. Read the notes attached to the column headings for more details. Add your own learning
objectives, and you can adapt this to support your own sessions. When you’re ready to set up the ses-
sion (Chapter 5), use the Tech Check column to see what each activity requires.
Plan to share visuals
When classroom presenters would ask me what to do with their hands when standing in front of
an audience, my answer was, “Use more interesting visual aids. If people are looking at your hands,
they probably don’t have anything else to look at.” Provide a visual focal point for every part of your
presentation. Like dead air, blank screens prompt learners to turn attention away from the session.
Online, the bulk of what we do is share visuals with participants. After all, unless you’re showing
something, why not just use a conference call? The presenter’s body language and hand gestures can
no longer serve as the default visual aid when there’s nothing else to look at. We cannot pass around
a hard copy example of a document, and sketching on a whiteboard has a new complexity. However,
we can show or share nearly any image, including photos, PowerPoint slides, graphics, video clips,
Flash animations, text, charts, screen captures, and live demonstrations of software tools that are
only installed on the presenter’s computer.
Include relevant graphics and diagrams that illustrate your point. These can bolster the visual
appeal of any training session and, if done intentionally and effectively, can contribute to knowledge
transfer and retention (see Chapter 3). The ways we share images can vary depending on the file type
and how we use it.
It’s true that it is possible to share video feeds of the presenter, and participants, too, by using Web
cameras. Unfortunately, the subtleties of body language are hard to observe on the little, grainy
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 54
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The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 55
PRELI MI NARY PLANNI NG FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4
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images. I don’t find much learning value in being able to see the face of the presenter. Although I do
like to see a photo of the presenter so I can assign a name to a face, I don’t need to see them live. I
also find that streaming video images from the Web camera requires a lot of bandwidth, and I’d pre-
fer to reserve that resource for VoIP audio or desktop sharing.
It’s important to determine early that the software tool you’re using will display your learning
materials appropriately. Think through, and plan out, what you’ll show at every point in the session.
Make sure it gets on the storyboard.
Plan for incompatibility issues
Know in advance how your online software tools handle your file types, and be prepared to make
tweaks to activities or feedback options as determined by the software tool you use. If the instruc-
tional design calls for an activity that your software doesn’t support, find a creative way to achieve
the same result.
Plan around unsupported instructional design
If you are converting content from a classroom presentation, you can count on having parts of the
old design that the online setting won’t support. They may not be supported because the Web con-
ferencing software just doesn’t allow them, or they may not be supported because they aren’t practi-
cal for online use. Here is my list of common problems in these areas.
Showing PowerPoint slide animations and “builds”
You want to show PowerPoint slides. Find out if the bulleted text will build one line at a time the
way you programmed the custom animation. In some online tools, the slide images become static,
and bullets and animations don’t display individually.
Creative Solution: When using that tool, you must make a separate slide for each of the animated
items. Admittedly, this is a tedious solution.
Tossing a question out to the group
You want each participant to type a response to the question “How would you use this?” so that all
the participants can see what value the learning objective has to others. (In classroom design and
instructor practice, this is often called an “overhead question.”) In the software you’re using, suppose
participants cannot use Chat to type to the whole group; they can only send it to one person at a
time. When they each type a response to you, 20 new text boxes open on your screen. No one else
sees those 20 responses.
Creative Solution: Have them type responses on the whiteboard instead of Chat. You’ll need to
control where they type, so the messages don’t layer on top of each other.
Showing a text document
A presenter wants to show a PowerPoint slide deck with 25 slides and a two-page Word document.
Suppose your Web conferencing application will convert and upload the PowerPoint, but not the
Word document.
Creative Solution: Application-share Word and the active document and all participants will see it.
Low-bandwidth participants might find that images and VoIP audio cut out momentarily. Alternate
Creative Solution: Adobe’s FlashPaper software tool can convert the Word document to an upload-
able SWF (Flash) file. FlashPaper needs to be installed separately, and isn’t free, but you can use a free
trial.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 56
PRELI MI NARY PLANNI NG FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4
Talk to each other
If you’re the decision-maker for buying and implementing online training, be sure to check in
with your instructional designers and trainers to confirm that each learning activity can be support-
ed as designed. Remember, online tools come from a variety of development companies in a variety
of “flavors” or levels of service, which affect available features and options. This might require the
designers and trainers to resort to a creative solution. The cheaper product might be missing some
key instructional tools, like polling, application sharing, or participant privilege options. Even these
small limitations could compel a serious rework of the instructional design.
How will you handle handouts and supplemental materials?
Presenters can provide a world of learning resources before, during, and after online sessions.
Supplemental files might include assessments or surveys, independent assignments, reading materi-
als, and backup files. You can make nearly anything accessible.
For one or two small documents, e-mail is probably the best way to provide supplemental materi-
als, especially if the group is small and the presenter or the Producer sends out course invitations,
rather than having the Learning Management System send them automatically. If you have more
than five files, post them on a Web site or a shared drive and ask participants to access them as they
need them. Learning Management Systems also serve as easy-access storage.
Tips for supplemental files
Create a logical naming or numbering scheme so participants can use files easily. Categorize files
in order of date, use, or topic. Attach comments to files to indicate the purpose or assignment cues,
such as, “This two-minute clip answers Dave’s questions about subnet masking.” Or, “There will be a
quiz on permissions, so read this article carefully.”
If your files will require any extra software to open or play properly, CLEARLY post the installa-
tion link to the required software on the same page.
Are you going to have a Producer?
Our training center’s policy stated that if there were more than eight students in a class, we would
assign a facilitator to provide extra support to the primary trainer and to the learners. The facilitator
rarely spoke louder than a whisper, but quietly moved around the classroom, assisting learners who
fell behind in keystrokes, or who were lost in dialog boxes.
That person takes on a new role online as Producer (I introduced this role in Chapter 2) or mod-
erator and technical support rolled into one. The Producer might introduce the session, with brief
instructions on how to use the software and then turn it over to the main presenter. If participants
find that their connection isn’t functioning, and they need troubleshooting help during the session,
rather than disrupt the session, they can call on the Producer, who can type solutions to the partici-
pant privately in Chat. If necessary, the Producer might call the person on the phone to identify the
problem and solution more quickly. A Producer can take the pressure off one person having to do all
the talking and manage the software, too.
However, those are pieces of the Producer’s role. I’ll have more to say about them in Chapter 6.
During the planning phase, you will want to decide whether you are going to use a Producer, because
planning is the time to bring this person into the picture. The Producer can do a number of func-
tions in the planning phase that will help take the pressure off the presenter.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 57
PRELI MI NARY PLANNI NG FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4
Most of these planning-phase Producer functions have to do with collecting information about:
• Hardware, particularly the hardware that the participants will be using
• Connectivity issues for the participants
• Software requirements for the participants: plug-ins, Java, and so on
• Co-presenters, panel members, and their hardware, connectivity, and software issues
• Any Learning Management System requirements for registration and tracking
The Producer may also become involved in helping the presenter(s) deal with any matters of
instructional design not supported by the Web conferencing software in use.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 58
PRELI MI NARY PLANNI NG FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4
WebEx Customer Success Story
Subaru of America, Inc. is the exclu-
sive United States marketer of Subaru
products manufactured by Fuji Heavy
Industries Ltd. (FHI) of Japan. First to
introduce four-wheel drive passenger cars
to the world, FHI’s Subaru division cur-
rently sells more than 10 million vehicles
a year worldwide. Working with 600 deal-
erships nationwide, Subaru of America
works to maintain the value of the Subaru
brand—long associated with quality and
reliability—across the US.
The Challenge
Subaru’s launch into the luxury car market
prompted the car manufacturer to evaluate
the level of customer service it provided.
Subaru’s Owner Loyalty Program (OLP)
addresses the needs of a high-end market
that expects premium customer service.
The program, which uniquely focuses on
predicting and fostering customer loyalty,
requires the thorough training of Subaru’s
dealers. With just a single trainer dedi-
cated to this program, providing training to
600 dealerships across the nation proved
challenging. “When we launched the pro-
gram, I spent seven months on the road.
I would spend three to four days a week
teaching a class, travel home and then do
the same thing the following week,” says
Darryl Draper, Subaru’s National Customer
Relations and Loyalty Training Manager.
Despite the intense seven-month sched-
ule, Draper was only able to reach dealer-
ships in the Western region of the US.
“We needed a more effective way to deliv-
er quality training to our 600 dealerships,
while freeing my time to creatively develop
new programs,” she says.

The Solution
Draper searched the Internet for an online
training solution. After comparing four
solutions, she chose WebEx because
of its ease of use. “It was very intuitive
and had all the features I was looking for,
including attendee tracking, live chats,
polling, and testing,” she explains.
With WebEx Training Center, Draper was
able to implement a crucial and unique
component of Subaru’s OLP program:
Customer Service Recovery. According
to Draper, “If a customer submits a nega-
tive survey, we notify the dealership and
offer the dealer the opportunity to go back
to the customer and fix the problem.” To
ensure dealers are qualified to partici-
pate in the Customer Service Recovery
Program, Subaru requires each dealer-
ship to send at least two employees to an
in-depth training program developed by
Draper. The program, which teaches the
dealers how to reverse negative opinions,
consists primarily of WebEx prerecorded
and live online training sessions. It also
includes a traditional classroom segment
that Draper plans to replace with WebEx
Training Center sessions in the near future.
Using the on demand module in WebEx
Training Center, Draper developed seven
OLP recovery presentations that dealers
may access 24x7. The company hosts the
presentations on a Subaru-branded WebEx
portal that dealers frequent. “Each prere-
corded presentation lasts 10-20 minutes,
so a dealer can leave the sales floor and
complete a session even during a short
work break,” says Draper. She continues,
“Because accessing the presentations is
We’re the frst car manufacturer to create a customer service recovery program
to increase customer loyalty, and WebEx helped us do it.
—Darryl Draper, National Customer Relations and Loyalty Training Manager
Subaru achieves industry first
with WebEx Training Center.
LinE of buSinESS
Automotive manufacturer
WEbEx SErviCE in uSE
Training Center, Meeting Center
Summary
Subaru’s launch of its Owner
Loyalty Program required efficiently
delivering training to 600 dealerships
across the US. Implementing WebEx
Training Center enabled the program’s
sole trainer to reach 2,400 dealers
within six months at a cost of $0.75
per person. As a result, Subaru was
able to roll out the industry’s first
customer service recovery program,
while offering quality training that its
dealers love. Subaru of America is in
the process of implementing WebEx
throughout its enterprise.
abouT Subaru of amEriCa, inC.
Headquarters
Cherry Hill, NJ
number of employees
800
TargET markET
Consumers and dealers
WebEx Customer Since 2003
CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS: WebEx Communications, Inc., 3979 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara, CA 95054 USA Tel: +1.408.435.7000 Fax: 1.408.496.4353
©2006 WebEx Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
WebEx and the WebEx logo are registered trademarks of WebEx Communications, Inc.
HigHLigHTS
• The launch of Subaru’s Owner Loyalty Recovery required the program’s sole
trainer to efficiently deliver training to 600 dealerships across the US.
• WebEx Training Center enabled Subaru to train 2400 dealers in six months at
a cost of $0.75 per person.
• Providing dealerships with better training and frequent interactions has
strengthened dealer relationships and programs.
• Subaru’s WebEx training is now considered the gold standard by which dealers
compare other training programs.
Using WebEx, we trained 350 dealers in the frst month. Now it costs
approximately $0.75 per person to deliver training.
—Darryl Draper, National Customer Relations and Loyalty Training Manager
so convenient, some dealerships have as
many as 20 employees—instead of the two
we require—participating in the trainings.”
As part of the recovery training, Draper
also requires the dealers to attend a live
45-minute WebEx session. The live online
sessions optimize her time by making
it possible for employees from multiple
dealerships to attend the same session.
“By enabling us to institute the Recovery
Program, WebEx is helping us foster cus-
tomer loyalty that will increase both car
and service sales,” says Draper.
At Subaru, WebEx Enterprise Edition
is now being integrated throughout the
organization for a variety of purposes.
For instance, the IT department uses
WebEx for internal application training,
while regional vice presidents and training
managers use Meeting Center to conduct
meetings with dealers and salespeople
located throughout large geographic territo-
ries. Subaru Service Technical Trainers also
use WebEx to deliver diagnosis and just-in-
time trainings to dealership technicians.
The benefits
WebEx enabled Subaru to execute
quickly on a customer service program
unique to the industry. “We’re the first car
manufacturer to create a customer service
recovery program to increase customer
loyalty, and WebEx helped us do it,” states
Draper. Since launching its online OLP
recovery training program six months ago,
Subaru has trained 98% of its dealers.
“Using WebEx, we trained 350 dealers in
the first month. Now it costs approximate-
ly $0.75 per person to deliver training.
No other program in Subaru’s history has
achieved these types of results.”
As a result of using WebEx, Draper has
reallocated the time and money once
spent on in-person training to an effec-
tive, measurable solution that dealers love.
“Now the dealers use Subaru’s training as
the gold standard to compare other man-
ufacturers’ programs,” explains Draper,
adding, “WebEx has raised Subaru to a
first tier level in the dealers’ minds.” With
its better training, Subaru now gets more
attention from the dealerships, a crucial
factor in increasing sales.
WebEx has not only improved efficiency at
Subaru but it has also helped the compa-
ny strengthen its dealer relationships and
the impact of its programs. Draper uses
WebEx to start impromptu online sessions
or conduct just-in-time trainings whenever
necessary. She says, “I’ve established
an ongoing relationship with our dealers
through WebEx. I now have more one-
on-one interactions and know more about
them than ever before.”
Draper has also discovered that WebEx
is an excellent tool for advanced learning.
Using WebEx, she recently incorporated
a higher learning course into her training
offering and had surprising results. “The
course required dealers to retrieve data
from the OLP site and to create an action
plan that would resolve problem areas in
their dealerships,” says Draper. She con-
tinues, “Within a week, 75 dealers had
submitted action plans to me. Once again
I knew I could rely on WebEx to drive
important changes in my business.”
The future
On the heels of her overwhelming success
with the recovery training program, Draper
already has plans for increasing the use
of WebEx. She intends to transition half
of her in-person classrooms to WebEx
Training Center by the end of this year,
converting to 100% online trainings by the
end of 2007.
Draper is also investigating ways to use
the WebEx Sales Center communications
portal for training purposes. “I’d like to
upload relevant documents to the portal
so dealers can easily access them.”
Draper has identified herself as a WebEx
evangelist who would like to help other
departments at Subaru adopt the solution.
She concludes, “With decreasing budgets
and increasing demands for efficiency,
WebEx presents a better solution to the
way things were done before.”
SS-128-0606
P
rior to the session, the presenter or the Producer might upload session materials, set up polls,
and customize session options. Many Producers also serve as a coach to the presenters by
rehearsing with them and providing feedback on skills and strategies. Producers set up and test
everything in advance to ensure that all is in readiness. Finally, the Producer or the presenter will
send an invitation and instructions to the participants. In this chapter, I’ll go over the three major
preparation areas (technology, speaker, participants) and provide you with a checklist and other
Producer tools for this most critical step in preparation.
Technical setup
There are a number of technology details to verify, and to make ready, well in advance of your ses-
sion. These begin with setting up the Learning Management System or other arrangements for regis-
tration and tracking of learners, and conclude with conversion of content from PowerPoint, Word,
or other formats, and uploading it to the session room.
Registration and tracking
If your participants are students in a course and you need to track their attendance, it will be
important to have each register and log in to the session using a unique name. (See Figure 5-1 on
page 62.) Trainers can go back later and view reports on who logged in, what time they logged in,
and in some cases, their answers for polls and quizzes.
Some tools prompt participants to complete a self-registration form, others require that a software
administrator add participants’ names, user IDs, and passwords. In the latter case, some software re-
quires adding names one at a time, which can be tedious. Other software, however, permits upload-
ing all the names and information at one time in a comma-delimited data file.
Many organizations use a Learning Management System to create and track session content, users,
and data. Talk to your Training or IT department about the tools that are available to you, and get up
to speed on how to use them effectively.
When tracking is not an issue, and presenters don’t know for sure who will attend, they can create
a generic login link and send the link out to an e-mail group or post it on a
Web site. When interested participants log in, the system prompts them to
enter a name (or nickname) and admits them to the session as a Guest.
Connectivity
There are three ways to reduce connection issues during your event. You
can take care of two of them during your setup, and you can advise partici-
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 61
Setting Up for
Production
By Karen Hyder
C H A P T E R 5
In Chapter 5 you will find information about:
• Technical set up
• Speaker preparation
• Learner preparation and communication
• Moderator checklist
Contents
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 62
SETTI NG UP FOR PRODUCTI ON | CHAPTER 5
pants about the third in your communications with them before the event.
First, test everything! While you still have plenty of time to troubleshoot or make adjustments, test
everything you want to do during the session. Be sure to open all the files and turn on all the features
you’ll be using in the event. If anything behaves strangely, or if audio fades or cuts out during the
practice, take steps to improve your connection or your equipment, or install upgrades to players
and add-ins.
Second, get wired. You can dramatically improve your connection to the internet by presenting
from a corporate LAN rather than from a DSL connection in your home office (assuming you have a
choice). In either case, be sure to use a wired connection to the session, not a wireless connection.
Finally, optimize resources during practice and during the actual event. Close unneeded applica-
tions. They use bandwidth and system
resources, including memory. Clear tem-
porary files and cookies. In your invita-
tion, or other pre-event communica-
tions, suggest that all participants do the
same.
Consider your audio options
Think through the advantages and
disadvantages of using Voice over IP (VoIP) audio instead of a conference call. This is not
a trivial decision.
Several online software tools offer VoIP technology instead of a phone call for audio.
For long sessions with large groups, the cost savings can be huge. Recording functions
integrate the audio without an extra step.
VoIP does have its drawbacks. There is a small learning curve for using the interface
talk button, and all speakers (participants as well as presenters) require a PC headset or
they will be severely limited in their ability to communicate with other participants. We
spend a lot of time asking “Can you hear me?” Low-bandwidth connections often experi-
ence dropped audio, typically followed by speeded up audio. Participants might feel that they are los-
ing information, but you can reassure them that they are receiving everything, it’s just delayed.
Software and services
A key part of your preparation as presenter is to make sure you have control of the software and
services you will be depending on. Here are three essential items to check during your setup.
Plug-ins
Software tools often have additional plug-ins or add-ins. These are mini-applications that add
menus or functions to tools, such as PowerPoint and Outlook. These plug-ins are free, and the func-
tionality can help you prepare materials more quickly with tools you’re already using. You and your
co-presenters will need to verify during setup that you have installed all the mini-applications you
will need. Figure 5-2 illustrates an add-in that Live Meeting provides for PowerPoint.
Prepare for application sharing
With a few exceptions, you cannot upload and show files to participants from applications other
than PowerPoint. If a speaker needs to demonstrate how to use menus and screens from another
software product (e.g., Excel, Lotus Notes, Act!) or show a file created by that product, the solution is
Figure 5-1
WebEx attendee
registration form.
Figure 5-2
Live Meeting provides an
add-in for PowerPoint that
displays a new menu.
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to “application share” the software. This shows the product or file to all participants. It reminds me
of video cameras in a store window. When you wave, you can see yourself waving on the adjacent TV
screen. Figure 5-3 shows Jeff Gordon application-sharing Lectora (an authoring application) during
an eLearning Guild Online Event.
The main concern when using application sharing is that everything is real time. There is no op-
portunity to transfer content to participants’ machines in advance, so broadband connectivity be-
comes much more important. Also, speakers must consider what the streaming data looks like to
participants. If it takes two milliseconds for the speaker’s screen to change, and 10 seconds for some
participants to receive the change, then you must reduce the number of changes, and the speaker
should allow some time for catch-up.
Encourage all participants to use
broadband when connecting for ses-
sions, especially those that will rely
heavily on VoIP and application shar-
ing. Some participants on dial-up con-
nections at 56K or lower are still able
to participate happily and successfully
if they are willing to tolerate slower
refresh rates. For others, the slowness
would be intolerable.
Prepare for recording the event
Many Web conferencing tools pro-
vide a recording function that will cap-
ture the presenters’ visual aids, includ-
ing PowerPoint slides, shared applica-
tions, and polls, as well as the audio
component of the event. If your ses-
sion uses a separate conference call,
you’ll need to enter the number of the
call into the session setup form (see
“Setting up session rooms” below) so that the audio is connected to the recording of the visuals.
VoIP audio recording is embedded automatically in the session recording.
Recordings are saved in formats that are unique to the software interface. When you tell partici-
pants about the recordings (so they know they can access the recording after the event), be sure to
tell them that they must install the required applet. Many tools prompt users to install the software
when they try to access the recorded file. Reassure learners that it’s OK for them to follow the down-
load and installation instructions.
In some cases, you cannot edit recordings made by online software tools. If you need to be able to
edit a session, use an external recording tool such as Adobe Captivate to record the entire session.
This will allow you to clip out what you don’t need.
If you’re planning to record a session, ask yourself how you plan to use the recording. If you sim-
ply want to keep it for review in case someone missed the live session, recording is a very good
option. Anyone can play the recording back at any time. If your purpose is to create a recording that
will be used instead of a live session, consider the same instructional design guidelines that you fol-
low for asynchronous delivery. Recorded lectures with hundreds of slides fail to keep participants
Figure 5-3
Jeff Gordon application-
sharing Lectora during an
online event.
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SETTI NG UP FOR PRODUCTI ON | CHAPTER 5
appropriately engaged. You might chunk the information in small segments with independent exer-
cises balanced in between.
Setting up session rooms
The first time you set up a session room, be prepared. You’ll need to fill in a form with several key
details that affect the session audio options, how attendees will join, and what format the session
room will use. (See Figure 5-4.)
Your first decision might be to choose the type
of session you’ll need. Vendors provide tools
within Web conferencing applications. These
tools offer different levels of support or “flavors”
for different audiences. They have the same basic
functionality, but differ on features such as pol-
ling, testing, or audio capabilities. For example,
WebEx’s Meeting Center and Support Center do
not have all of the options and tools found in the
Training Center. Lower level and less expensive
“flavors” also limit the number of participants in
a session to five or ten. Be sure you know which
flavor will support the communication type you
want and the activities you have planned for your
session.
Session start and duration times (items on the
setup form) may not be relevant if your session
is persistent and can be accessed any time. (See
discussion of persistent sessions in Chapter 2,
“Familiar log-in.”) Start times and end times are
critical if you choose to have the software gener-
ate e-mail invitations for each participant. The
system pulls invitation information directly from this form. You might choose to build in 15 to 30
minutes of lead time so that participants can log in early, test their connections, and ask questions
well in advance of the start of the session content. This method reduces late starts due to last-minute
trouble shooting by 80%.
In some online software tools (for example, WebEx), the setup forms are extensive, offering op-
tions for how participants will register and log in to the session, what the session password is, and if
participants will have privileges to type in Chat or print session documents. (See Figure 5-5 on page
65.)
In most cases, privileges and settings can be set or changed both as the room is created, and once
the presenter has joined the session room.
Converting and loading content
You will almost certainly be displaying content that you have created in PowerPoint, and possibly
in other software applications as well. You will have to convert this content to a format that your
Web conferencing software can send to session participants. Converting a file also reduces the file
size so that the file transfers more quickly. Each Web conferencing application handles external files
(your PowerPoint or Word content) a bit differently. Typically, PowerPoint files lose some function-
Figure 5-4
Adobe Acrobat Connect
Meeting Information
screen
ality (especially animations and transition effects) when they are converted to a usable format.
The conversion process can take some time, especially if you have a very large file with lots of
graphics or screen captures. Several online tools provide an option to convert the file in advance to
reduce the day-of-session preparation time. They also provide different choices for the display size of
the slides for various screen resolutions.
As an example, you can convert PowerPoint files for use with Elluminate either from the Ellumi-
nate Web site or as part of the uploading process. The converter changes PowerPoint files to static
whiteboard (WDB) files.
When the WDB file is uploaded to the session room, presenters and participants can view the
slides. They can annotate or write on the slides using the whiteboard annotation tools. However, they
can no longer edit the slides as PowerPoint. The
only way to edit a slide on the whiteboard is to
go back to the original PowerPoint file, make the
change or other edit, reconvert the file, and then
upload the new whiteboard file into Elluminate.
Be sure to allow a few minutes for this process. If
your participants require real-time editing, use
application sharing.
Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional (formerly
Breeze) does not convert PowerPoint files to a
static WDB file, but instead creates dynamic
Shockwave (SWF) files. When SWFs are up-
loaded into Adobe Connect, the dynamic aspects
of the files are still dynamic; that is, custom ani-
mations work. As was the case with Elluminate,
you can only edit errors in the original files,
using the original tools.
Other content for conversion might include
graphics like GIF or JPEG, MPEG, AVI, or SWF
files, and any other file types that are running on
the presenter’s machine. Check your licensing
agreement and your software flavor (Training,
Meeting, or Seminar) to ensure it supports your material and file types.
You can convert Word documents to SWF format using an external tool called Adobe FlashPaper.
A number of other software tools can create SWF files, including Adobe Flash and Flash Lite, Adobe
Captivate, and Camtasia Producer
In some cases, certain files, such as Word or Excel documents, cannot be converted and uploaded.
This depends on the Web conferencing software you are using. In these cases, presenters might
choose to simply use application share in order to show the content or make it available to partici-
pants.
File conversion can cause slight changes in your files so always double-check the results. The con-
version process has been known to drop logos and other graphics files, and to break custom anima-
tions that build text one bulleted item at a time.
Speaker preparation
The second major area of production setup involves coordinating with another speaker, co-host,
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SETTI NG UP FOR PRODUCTI ON | CHAPTER 5
Figure 5-5
WebEx Session Options
form
or “guest speaker,” and with panel members. The objective is to set them up for success. This is an
excellent place to make good use of a Producer.
As an online event Producer, I serve as technical setup and support, and as a presentation coach. I
ensure that presenters can join a session, can use the basic interface features, and that they have a
good sense of the options available for them to incorporate into the design of their session, without
having to be an expert in every aspect of the software.
Presenter issues
Skilled classroom trainers may not like to admit that they feel like fish out of water when present-
ing online. The communication methods they’ve long relied on suddenly fail them. They can no
longer observe body language, nor react instinctively to inquisitive looks. When online, voice com-
munications tend to be either severely limited or overly congested. And sometimes participants acci-
dentally log off and disappear.
“(In online training sessions,) it’s difficult to know if my message is being received, “ says Curt
Valmy of OM-Tech Learning in Fort Lauderdale. “I feel disconnected from the learners. It’s very dif-
ferent than relying on the feedback I usually get from students in a face-to-face setting.”
Despite these obstacles, training and meeting online can be very effective. But you must first admit
that online is very different from classroom training, and accept that the only way to make online as
effective is to prepare appropriately.
Online speakers tend to be like one of these four presenters:
Expert Erin believes that presenting online isn’t much different from what she does with an in-per-
son audience. She’s technically savvy, and has seen a few Webinars. Erin knows her material inside
and out, and feels confident that — with a few minutes of preparation — she can transition to syn-
chronous e-Learning and deliver a successful presentation.
Realistic Rick realizes there’s a learning curve when moving to online delivery. Eager to learn a new
tool, he installs the software on his PC, logs into the interface and starts experimenting. He speaks to
an instructional designer about how he can adapt current lesson plans for online. Rick schedules time
with another trainer to practice his session, and he obtains feedback that will improve his delivery.
Nervous Nancy is anxious about using synchronous e-Learning. Presenting is difficult enough; try-
ing to manage the technology at the same time seems overwhelming. She agonizes over rewriting les-
son materials until the last minute.
Vince Verbatim has little experience presenting in front of any audience. He’s relieved that, with
synchronous e-Learning, he won’t need to make eye contact. Vince plans to show bulleted slides,
elaborate, and answer questions as they come up. He practices online alone, reading from his notes.
Never mind what Erin and Vince think, or what Nancy fears; all trainers need some preparation
and a little help to be successful online. Here, Rick is the man to watch. He knows a professional
instructional designer can help him keep lessons focused and balanced. By practicing online with an
experienced trainer, Rick will quickly get up to speed on the software, and begin to adapt his presen-
tation style and language for an online classroom.
Here are some strategies all online presenters can apply immediately.
First, get to know your Web conferencing software intimately, and the specific tools within it that
you will use for synchronous e-Learning. Use it every day. Get comfortable with the functions, the
shortcuts, and the typical errors. Become familiar with solving basic issues. Connect with colleagues
online simultaneously with conference calls. Request that your team hold regular meetings online.
Invite staff members to join online rehearsals and provide typical participant feedback. You can also
observe the professionals at work by attending the online tutorials offered by software providers.
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Second, adapt your instructional methods. If you default to boring lectures and PowerPoint slides,
you’ll ensure that learners will multi-task during your session. How will you make use of your “pre-
mium time” with your learners and engage them directly? Remember, participants will be just a win-
dow away from their e-mail inbox or a favorite Web site, so you must keep them interested. Power-
Point slides can provide a good backbone, but go beyond bulleted text and create an interactive dis-
cussion. Good instructional execution will compel learners to process what they are learning, res-
pond to others, ask questions, and stay engaged.
Third, learn to prompt participants for relevant feedback. Polling and open-ended questions pro-
vide opportunities for audience members to contribute their ideas. Prepare slides that pose questions
and ask for responses from participants. By doing this, you will see and hear responses, connect with
participants and find out where they’re coming from, what they are learning, and what questions
they have.
But by far the most important thing you can do is to practice.
Practice, practice, practice
Imagine driving in a country where they drive on the “wrong” side of the road. What you need to
do in order to drive from Point A to Point B is, for the most part, the same as it would be at home.
But the mechanics of driving are now different from what you instinctively know to do. Mastering
those differences and similarities in how to drive takes time and practice. Lots of practice!
So yes, even the very experienced person needs to acclimate to an online software interface, try out
the tools and audio, and learn to upload files. It’s best to coordinate tasks with the event Producer
who can troubleshoot issues and offer feedback. Dead air and online fumbling are awkward, and
obvious to the participants. A few minutes of planning and preparation can eliminate many poten-
tial problems and give sessions, presenters, and materials a more polished look and feel.
If you are the event Producer, your job is to make everyone sound good and ensure that the technol-
ogy properly supports every aspect of the session. That takes time, so don’t let anyone off the hook.
Speaker coaching and preparation
When I coach eLearning Guild Online Forum speakers who are new to using synchronous online
tools, I take steps that make the preparation process easy, and that help them to be successful their
first time. All that the speakers need to provide is their content or learning materials. The Online
Forums provide the structure of the session, and the online software interface license. It’s a team
effort that takes much of the pressure off of the speakers.
Start by making a Speaker Topic Support Outline
I begin with an e-mail to the speakers. This message offers several opportunities to prepare with
me online. I suggest that we might meet, up to three or four times, depending on how much time
they need to get ready. I send along guidelines for preparation, a link to previous session recordings,
and a form that will help them plan how to use online session tools to support each agenda item or
learning objective.
This form is a table presenters can use to organize all the topics, activities, and tools they will use
during their session. By doing this, presenters can focus on how they’ll need to deliver each item,
rather than defaulting to classroom-based methods. Speakers will inventory and plan everything,
from introductions, to file types, to application sharing. If they aren’t sure how to handle a task, they
can ask you to fill in the table. Note that this is similar to the storyboard I recommended in Chapter
4. Sidebar 5-1 on page 68 is an actual example from one of our online events.
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The first coaching session
If a new speaker has experi-
ence with any online tool, I first
focus just on how the software
tool we use is different. Then I
point out what added features,
or what customized options, we
have set up. We experiment with
the options and settings, and
handle any specific questions
about Chat, Polls, Emoticons
(status indicators), Layouts, or
display options, and how to
advance slides. Depending on
the software interface, these sim-
ple tools can behave very differ-
ently. They also have settings
that can restrict or allow options.
Next we talk or step through
every feature they’ll use during
the session. If the speaker has pro-
vided me with an outline, such as
Debbie Kenny’s in Sidebar 5-1,
I can proactively show him what
tools to use to get the result he
wants. If he plan to ask poll ques-
tions, we can set them up together
and practice using them. If the
speaker wants to show partici-
pants a software application run-
ning on their PCs, we discuss the
differences between application
sharing and desktop sharing and
decide which one the speaker will
use. We talk through basic func-
tions as well as best practices and
cautions.
If the speaker has a Power-
Point file, we can convert and
upload it, advance the slides,
and proofread text and images
together. Often, we find errors
or places where we need to
make adjustments to poor
images, bad fonts, or colors. We
might even need to adjust the
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Speaker Topic Support Outline
Online Forum Topic: Designing and Developing Modular & Reusable e-Learning Content
Presenter Name: Deborah A. Kenny
Vice President and General Manager
Learning Solutions
Information Mapping, Inc.
dkenny@infomap.com
Session Title: How to Write Cost-effective Modular Learning Content
What is Modular Learning Content?
How many currently create modular content?
How many currently reuse content across mul-
tiple courses or learning platforms?
Before and After Example
What You See … and What You Don’t See
Attributes of Modular Content
The Value of Modular Learning Content
Common Problems of e-Learning Content
What we need … What can help …
How to Create Modular Learning Content: The
Information Mapping Method
Analyzing People, Information, and Technology
Information Types
Research Based Principles
New Units of Information
Developing the Content
Demonstration – Reusing Modular Content
What Writers Need to Know About Modular
Content
Question and Discussion
Definitions via Chat
Poll Question: Y/N/Not Sure
Poll Question: Y/N/Not Sure
Possibly Shared Document or Online Time Test?
PowerPoint Slides
Contribute ideas via Chat
Follow with PowerPoint Summaries
Ask for comments, anything I missed via Chat
Chat Question: What are some of the benefits of
creating modular content?
Follow with PowerPoint summary slide.
Chat Question: What problems are you experiencing (or
do you anticipate) when writing modular content?
Follow with PowerPoint summary slide
PowerPoint slides
PowerPoint slides
Use Chat and PowerPoint slides to discuss
What do you need to know about the: purpose and
scope, audience, content, technology.
PowerPoint and Chat. Have participants contribute
examples of information they create or write for each
information type
May be able to show some online Web or e-Learning
examples or even an interactive exercise?
PowerPoint
Memory Test to Demonstrate Chunking, Labeling, and
Relevance principles
Chat: Who can provide a definition of a paragraph?
Presentation: Definition of Maps and Blocks
PowerPoint
Application Sharing — Go to Content Mapper applica-
tion to show modularity and reusability of content
Presentation – “top ten” list
Chat
Topic Outline Interaction or Tool
Sidebar 5-1
participant prompts to say, “Please type your responses in Chat,” or, “Please label the screen by using
your Text tool,” and show a picture of the Text tool.
Each of the Web conferencing applications that offers integrated VoIP audio has a slightly different
way to turn the audio on and off. If the presenter has not used the audio function of the application
for the upcoming event, the first few minutes of the actual session can be lost due to explaining to
participants about clicking the Talk button on and off, and about adjusting headset or microphone
volume. I have a slide set prepared ahead of time so that I can show screenshots of the Talk buttons
and audio controls. (See Figure 2-6, on page 23, for an example from this set.) I include images that
show speakers how to regulate their own volume without needing to ask, “Can you hear me?”
Volume levels often display as colored bars in the interface. Knowing that green is good and red is
too loud is useful. Simply moving the Microphone slider bar will increase or decrease the volume.
In Debbie Kenny’s outline in Sidebar 5-1, it’s clear what will happen at each stage. The Producer
can prepare properly by creating polls in advance, coaching the presenter on application sharing, and
confirming that the PowerPoint file is properly converted and loaded. During the actual event, both
the presenter and the Producer will use the table outline (or its equivalent, the storyboard) to track
along with the session, staying on time and on task.
The second coaching session
During the second session, I focus on two main areas: (1) opportunities I see for the speaker to
encourage interaction among participants, and (2) what I, as moderator, need to do or say during
the session to help the speaker. Ideally, speakers leave notes for me within the Notes section of the
PowerPoint presentation. For example, “KAREN: Please open the next poll.” I can open the poll and
make it available for the participants to click response options.
In this session, I also teach presenters how to display a layout option that allows them to control
what shows on the screen.
The third coaching session
The third practice session is a dress rehearsal. At this time each speaker has the opportunity to test
final changes to his presentation, update me on technical needs, and ask last-minute questions about
presenting in this interface. Again, some speakers prefer to go slide-by-slide and practice the entire
talk track, while other speakers just ask questions. We typically record this session for benchmarking,
or for review and coaching purposes, if needed.
Not all speakers meet with me three times. I make the most of each session, and stay flexible to
what they feel they need to practice.
I use the tracking form in Appendix C to document every detail of preparation and delivery of the
session. You can download a Microsoft Excel template for the Speaker Tracking Form, in an archive
with a Storyboard template, at http://www.elearningguild.net/ebook/Worksheet.zip.
Dealing with the reluctant speaker
Here’s some firm language I use in e-mails to prompt a response from preparation session-dodg-
ing speakers. Never scold. Restate your role as supporter, invite them to prepare properly.
“Dear Bill — I’m eager to connect with you in Adobe Acrobat Connect to set up your files and test your
audio. Please respond to me today to schedule any day this week. I assure you that if we get in the online ses-
sion room for just 30 minutes, we’ll see it as time well spent. I’m also sure that if we do not get online together
in advance, we’ll wish we had. Let me know what questions you have. I’m here to help! Thanks! Karen :-)”
Call, too. Some people are able to respond more easily by phone. You might find out that they
have not received your e-mails.
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Learner preparation and communication
There are a few common, solvable problems that participants can run into when using any online
interface. Such technical issues can delay a person getting into the session, or leave the Help desk to
sort things out with the pressure on and the clock ticking. It’s far better to connect with each partici-
pant well in advance than to wait until two minutes before start time. I’ve had my phone ring just as
I clicked the Talk button to introduce a session. The caller had a standard technical problem and
couldn’t log in. I was not in a position to help him because 87 people were waiting for me to begin
the session. I had to ask the caller to hold on until I finished my introduction.
Participant readiness
It’s critical to have participants (and speakers) install and test the software they need well BEFORE
the session is due to start. One or two prob-
lems are manageable. Ten problems are not
manageable, no matter how much support staff
you have.
Begin with your software vendor to see if
they have a Web page where participants may
download software. Also ask whether the ven-
dor supports user installation and testing. If
the vendor does, you can refer all participants
to them as part of your confirmation notice.
Give a due date for performing and testing the
installation and login.
If your software vendor does not provide
that service, either create a Web page that has
all the instructions, and a link to the installa-
tion files, or send instructions and links in an
e-mail. You may schedule “office hours,” specif-
ic times you’ll be logged on and helping anyone
who calls or joins.
Registrants can log in during office hours to:
• Get a brief demo of the software interface.
• Experiment with the basic features, such as
buttons that indicate status; thumb up or
down, smiley face. Learn about the Chat
tool that allows participants to use text to
communicate with speakers or other par-
ticipants.
• Confirm that software installation was suc-
cessful. If registrants cannot join the ses-
sion, ask them to contact technical support
directly. A common stumbling block is that
a participant is behind a firewall and needs
to have a port opened. Organizational
restrictions on opening of ports vary, so be
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Sample Invitation and Agenda
Send participants an agenda similar to this, with time estimates, pre-course work,
and online etiquette tips.)
Greetings!
In preparation for our online Act! 6.0 session on Monday, November 4, please spend
a few minutes reviewing this agenda, responding to this survey, and getting set up.
I’ll adapt the session to suit your needs and experiences.
Goal/Purpose
The goal of this online session is to help you make the best use of the new features
available in Act! 6.0.
Preparation
Before our session begins on Monday, be prepared with a few necessities. Check
your connection to the session by clicking this link: (add URL) If it prompts you to
install a player, do it. If there are any questions, contact me before Monday!
• Hang a “Do not disturb” sign on your door
• Figure out the Mute option on your phone
• Use a headset if you have one.
• Please set cell phones and pagers to silent mode
• Open the attached file
• Get a notepad and a pen
If you need to “excuse yourself” during the session, just mute your phone and set it
down. Please do not put our call on HOLD or we’ll hear your Muzak.
Files
Please open the attached file (ActExercises.doc) and have it ready for our lessons.
I’ll tell you when to reference it.
Agenda/Topics
Monday, November 4
1:55 - 2:05 Log into Live Meeting and dial in for audio (as per your confirmation e-mail)
2:05 - 2:15 Introduction
2:15 - 2:30 Overview/Review of Act! 6.0
2:30 - 3:15 Contact Management features — compare to old system, use shortcuts
3:15 - 3:45 E-mail features
3:45 - 4:00 Practice activity and Wrap up
Please complete and return the pre-course survey by this Friday. If you have any
questions prior to the session, call or e-mail me. For issues during the event, send
me a Chat message or e-mail me.
Thanks again! I’m looking forward to meeting all of you online.
Karen :-)
Phone #
Sidebar 5-2
sure to check with your network sentry.
• Check audio speakers. Interfaces that use
VoIP do not require a phone connection.
Participants hear people talking through
their own PC speakers or headset.
• Check their microphones. Some online
session tools allow presenters and partici-
pants to communicate verbally using a
shared microphone or Talk button control.
Typically only one person can control the
Talk button at a one time. There’s a tiny
learning curve for people who need to
remember to click Talk before they make
their contribution to the discussion and
release it when they have finished talking.
For participants who don’t have a headset,
the internal microphone (the small hole in
a laptop keyboard panel) is a less-than-
optimal option because it can pick up
machine noise and create an intolerable
online hum. External or desktop micro-
phones are not much better. Don’t bother
with headsets that cost more than $30.
Expensive ones break just the same as the
inexpensive ones do. It’s better to invest in
two in case one fails during your session.
Invitations
When you create a meeting you can com-
plete an online form and send an automatic
invitation to all participants via e-mail. (See
Sidebar 5-2 on page 70.) This designates a
classroom and automatically generates a pass-
code. Some applications also generate the con-
ference call number, ID, and passcode.
You can generate invitations and send them
directly to participants. Along with the connec-
tion information, you may want to personalize
the message and let students know how to pre-
pare and what to expect from the sessions.
Send an agenda with time estimates, pre-course
work, and online etiquette. Here are some
additional topics to include:
• Automatically generated e-mails, and those
sent through calendaring programs like
Microsoft Outlook, will convert to each
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 71
SETTI NG UP FOR PRODUCTI ON | CHAPTER 5
Moderator’s checklist
Two days before event
• Send reminder e-mail to each Speaker. Include Usernames and Passwords, tech-
nical support number, my number, room access time, and session start time.
• Speakers’ files converted to correct format and uploaded, Polls, files, and applica-
tions to Application Share.
Two hours before event start
Confirm that you have:
• Two PCs with proper player software, PowerPoint, and e-mail access loaded. Both
connected via cable modem. Two login IDs and passwords.
• Two PC headsets. One to use, one backup that stays plugged into the 2nd PC to
restrict audio output.
• Speaker prep notes, list of support tasks (“At slide 19, go to URL ... ”), list of
URLs, and crib notes text.
• Speakers’ phone numbers (specifically for where they’ll be that day).
• Software vendor or Internal Technical Support number.
• Speakers’ usernames and passwords.
• Link to Resource Page where students can download handouts.
• Link to post-event survey to push at the end.
• Printed schedule for the day showing at least two time zones.
• Speakers’ introduction information.
• List of event registrants with phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
50 minutes before event start
• Join session room.
• Run audio wizard.
• Set connection speed for session to DSL or Cable.
• Confirm all files are loaded and properly pointed.
• Set up breakout rooms, load instructions into each room.
• Greet early participants.
40 minutes before event start
• Use restroom.
• Fill water bottle.
• ChapStick
®
.
• Cough drops.
• Turn phone to silent mode.
• Hang “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door.
30 minutes before event start
• Start sound checks.
• Chat with early participants.
15 minutes before event start
• Start tweens tutorial.
Event start
• Start recording.
• Welcome participants.
• Review schedule and agenda for the day.
• Remind participants that they need to log out at the end of this session and log in
to the next.
• Request feedback via online surveys — will send URL via Chat and will push link
at the end of the day.
• Introduce speaker.
• Stand by to assist as needed
Sidebar 5-3
user’s local time. If you are sending customized invitations, be sure to list the start, break, and
end times. Be clear about the time zone used for the schedule, and provide a conversion tool so
each person can look up their own start time. (I recommend http://www.timezoneconverter.
com/cgi-bin/tzc.tzc or http://www.timezonecheck.com/.)
• Include the URL link to log on to the session and the phone number for dial-in. If participants
are dialing in for audio, remind them to use Mute if they can hear the background on the call.
Also remind them NOT to put the call on hold or the rest of the participants might hear music!
• Include detailed instructions to install online session software. Remind participants to install
and test access to the session well in advance of the start.
• Provide contact details for whom to call for help other than the presenter.
• Send or post learning materials in advance. Allow time for participants to download and print
handouts or other supportive files. You can also send surveys that will help you understand
learners’ needs, or you can assign prep work to complete before the start of the session.
• List agenda items that will be covered during the session.
• Offer ideas to improve their session experience. Suggest they use a headset and adjust the sound
as necessary, and post a “Do Not Disturb” sign to keep coworkers and family members out.
Remind them that the session will tether them to the desk, so gather all the items they’ll need in
advance; coffee, water, session materials, and a pen.
Conclusion
Building and delivering online events takes a lot of preparation and a few pairs of hands, but with
practice, you can create excellent and effective learning experiences. Sidebar 5-3 on page 71 provides
key preparation steps and timing in checklist form. Assimilate these strategies. I also encourage you
to contact me concerning your additional questions and about overcoming specific obstacles.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 72
SETTI NG UP FOR PRODUCTI ON | CHAPTER 5
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Y
ou’ve done your planning, contacted your presenter or your panel (or maybe you are the pre-
senter), and prepared your slides and other content. You’ve contacted your participants and
they know how to connect to the session and log in. Now it’s The Day.
The day of the event
Just as with a classroom-based course, there are many things that the Producer and the presenters
can do to make a synchronous e-Learning event a success. In this chapter, I’ve organized my “lessons
learned” after conducting many events, and I will present them here around the major activities of
your online day.
You’ll find several checklists here to help you make sure you cover your bases. There are tips for
handling introductions, for managing all the details, for dealing with the times that technology lets
you down, and some pointers about the things you definitely want to avoid doing. Let’s begin with
the checklists.
Essential checklists for the day of your event
I love roller coasters. I’m willing to weave in and out of the labyrinth of a line for hours in order to
get to that moment at the top of the hill when I know I’m about to experience a real thrill. Whether
the thrill is terrifying or delightful depends on the feeling of safety and security — or my naïveté.
What motivates me to do all the careful preparation and planning, all the rehearsals and testing
for online sessions, is the moment that I get to open the microphone and, without hesitation, say
“Hi, I’m your host for today and I’d like to welcome you to this session.” If I can feel confident and
secure at that moment, I know I’m prepared and the learning event can begin.
When I’m the Producer or supporting another presenter, I need to make sure they feel equally
confident. I remind them that my role is to make everything go smoothly for them. In sidebars 6-1,
6-2, and 6-3, on pages 76 and 77, you’ll find some checklists that I use in order to make sure things
go smoothly for them — and for me.
Managing the online session with the help of
an event Producer
Presenters used to ask me what to do with their hands when speaking to a
room full of students. In online sessions, the problem becomes not what to
do with our hands, but what to do first. Presenters might need to share a file
with participants, click the Talk button, and type a Chat response to a partic-
ipant who has a technical problem, all at the same time. Features can require
several menu choices, mouse strokes, and keystrokes. Listen to the audio of a
trainer who is fumbling with a menu or typing a Chat response; they sound
distracted.
Trainers often find themselves literally needing an extra pair of hands. The
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 75
Showtime!
By Karen Hyder
C H A P T E R 6
In Chapter 6 you will find information about:
• Essential checklists for the day of your event
• Managing the online sessions with the help of an
event Producer
• Learner participation and interaction
• Introducing participants
• Running the event
• Conducting tests
• Disaster control: backup and Plan B
• Online interaction “Do’s”
• Online interaction “Don’ts”
Contents
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 76
SHOWTI ME! | CHAPTER 6
temptation is to do less, ignore more, and expect silence. I disagree. When you use the resources built
into the synchronous interface, and invent new ways to engage learners and to get feedback, you’ll
find that you can create better exchanges with your learners than you could in the classroom. If this
seems like a lot to manage, instead of doing less, ask for help.
Presenters who want an engaging session and need help managing online tools can recruit an
online event Producer. This is a person who coaches the presenter (as I’ve suggested in Chapter 5)
and provides technical support before and during the session. The result is that the presenter can
focus on delivering the content and engaging the participants. The Producer can step participants
through technical problems or audio adjustments by using the audio channel or by surreptitiously
typing messages in Chat. If the presenter cannot remember the sequence to begin sharing an appli-
cation or uploading a file, the Producer can cue the presenter or just do the task for him.
Producers often kick off sessions with a
quick tutorial on how to use the software. Then
they introduce the presenter and stand by to
assist for the duration the session. They stay on
until the end to close the session and collect
evaluation feedback.
As an example of a way this concept has
been applied, Compuware’s training team in
Bijmler, Netherlands has developed synchro-
nous training programs that use radio talk
show techniques. The Producer and presenters
have defined roles. While the presenter in-
structs, lectures, shares screens, and poses ques-
tions, the Producer introduces polls and activi-
ties, calls breaktimes, and supports the session
technically. The Producer also researches ques-
tions behind the scenes, often asks the ques-
tions that a curious student might ask, and
sometimes provides comic relief. Their manag-
er, Hervé Brittman, got the idea from Marc
Gamble’s session Using Radio Broadcast Tech-
niques to Improve Synchronous e-Learning at
the 2006 eLearning Guild Annual Gathering.
Novice presenters might decide they no
longer need a Producer after they’ve done sev-
eral sessions and feel confident with the soft-
ware tools. When things are working well,
managing everything is possible. However, no
matter how experienced a presenter may be, I
recommend using a Producer for any group of
more than 20 people, because the impact of
technical problems increases with group size.
Host/Presenter Technical Checklist
You may not need all of these items for a particular event. Customize this check-
list for your own use.
• The Primary PC with plug-ins and PowerPoint installed, connected to a wired (not
wireless) connection, logged in as HOST, headset connected.
• A Secondary PC with plug-ins and PowerPoint installed, connected to a wired
(not wireless) connection, and logged in as PARTICIPANT, headset connected.
Unless a presenter has two PCs logged in and can see what the learners see,
or the presenter is using Elluminate’s Preview Window, she is working blind. She
won’t know what their shared image looks like on the participants’ end.
• Have all files properly loaded into the Agenda Builder, the session rooms set up
with presenter slides and supplemental files, and your introduction, closing, and
interface tutorial slides. Your Poll files are loaded, proofread, and set to open.
• Have backup copies of all files being used installed both locally and on a
portable drive (thumb drive).
• A Speaker Tracking Form. List all activities and details of each speaker and
each session.
• A crib notes text file. This document is the storehouse for all text you might
need to type into Chat during the session. Include all URLs, as well as typical
instructions such as, “Please expand the Poll Panel by clicking on the ‘down’
arrow ... .” You can subtly give instructions to participants and presenters as
needed using public or private Chat. (See Sidebar 6-4 on page 82 for some
sample “crib notes.”)
• Emergency instructional slides. Keep a PowerPoint slide file available that
includes screen captures of common errors and solutions. If the presenter is
struggling to use a feature (application sharing, desktop sharing, opening a new
file), you can talk him through the process, and show a visual of the step he
needs to perform. You might also include a “Please Stand By” slide to inform
the participants that you’ll be back on track momentarily.
• PC headset for VoIP audio sessions, and a spare headset.
• Phone, phone headset, spare headset, and charger. Call waiting turned OFF.
• Phone numbers of all speakers and participants during that session (might be
different than office phone number).
• Turn off all noisemakers including ringers and fax machines. Muzzle the dog.
• Print hard copies of any text you’ll have to read. You’ll find it easier than reading
from the screen.
• Pen and notepad — jot down reminders, observations, errors to research,
participants to follow up with after the session.
• (Optional) Backup connection to the Internet. If there’s any chance that your
connection could cut out on the primary PC, you’d be wise to access the
Internet a different way on the secondary PC.
Sidebar 6-1
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 77
SHOWTI ME! | CHAPTER 6
Learner participation and
interaction
An assumption that I make here is that you
see online session time as “premium time.”
That is, time for you and your participants to
get together and exchange ideas and interact. I
assume you want to do more than “chalk and
talk.” Tedious lectures are even more tedious
online.
If your intentions are that your participants
will join a session and sit quietly until the end
when they are asked, “Any questions?”, this next
section will not apply to you.
In such a case, I encourage
you not to use group sessions
and instead simply create
Podcasts or asynchronous
tutorials that participants can
listen to or watch silently at
their leisure.
However, if your goal is to
engage your participants in a
meaningful way throughout
your session, here are some
strategies to employ. These
add to, and expand on, the
interaction strategies that Ann
Kwinn explained in Chapter 3.
Introduction to the
interface
When you take the time to
teach participants how to
learn in this new model, using
synchronous online sessions,
you’ll find that they are more
prepared and willing to par-
ticipate. If you intend to pro-
vide support materials and
activities they can use inde-
pendently, teach them how
and when to use those, too.
Ideally, we ensure in
advance that everyone can
properly connect to the ses-
sion. (See Chapter 5 for more
Personal Comfort Checklist
You’ll be tethered to the desk for a while. These are some items you will want to
have on hand, and some details you will want to take care of before the session
starts.
• A quiet location, or ask coworkers keep voices low
• A comfortable chair
• Dress in layers
• Water, or non-fizzy drink
• Lip balm
• Lozenges (please remove from mouth before you start talking)
• Photos of learners taped to your monitor.
Sidebar 6-2
Intro and Closing Slides
This is the minimum set of slides you will want to have prepared beforehand.
For the opening:
• Introduction to the session
• Notification that sessions are being recorded
• Schedule of session times and breaks
• Introduction to host, and the host roles
• Name of presenter(s) include photo, biography, agenda items, or learning objectives
• Introduction to the interface, how to use the tools, how to respond verbally, how to mute the mike,
how to respond publicly or privately using the Chat feature
• “Keep this screen open” reminder (See Figure 6-1). Remind participants to leave the “tunnel” window
open (this is the screen that reads “Leave this window open”). This window maintains a link to the
session even if the user closes the session window. If a participant gets bumped out, he can get
right back in without having to find the email with the link, reenter his login ID and password, and
lose five minutes.
• Tips to ensure good-quality connection to the session, adjustments to user settings
• Where and how to access supplemental materials and handouts
• Who to contact for technical support during the session
For the closing:
• Thank you to speaker(s) and participants
• Follow-up session, next steps, assignments, and tasks to complete
• Where to go for recording or materials, i.e. a Web site, LMS, or other repository
• Evaluation procedure. Ask participants for honest feedback, offer incentive to complete forms
Sidebar 6-3
Figure 6-1 This is
the “tunnel window”
that allows partici-
pants a quick return
if they are bumped
out of the session or
otherwise lose their
connection. Leave
this window open!
(Screen shot is from
Live Meeting, other
tools will look differ-
ent.)
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 78
SHOWTI ME! | CHAPTER 6
on this.) We should also ensure that participants get used to the software interface before the focus of
the session turns to content. Try to schedule early log in and orientation to ensure an on-time start.
(See Figure 6-2 for an example of an agenda posted on the Web from one of The eLearning Guild’s
online events.)
Offer your learners multiple resources and opportunities to help them learn their way around.
Provide a Quick Reference Guide: Create a one-
page file for participants to print and keep in front
of them during the session. Check the Web site for
your software vendor and see if there is an existing
resource posted that you can offer. For example,
Elluminate provides a Quick Reference Guide online
at http://www.elluminate.com/support/docs/7.0/
Elluminate_Live_7.0_Participant_ Quick_Reference_
Guide.pdf
Send a PowerPoint file: This contains labeled or
annotated screenshots for participants that will step
them through the interface. Send this information
several days in advance. Ask participants to go
through this mini-tutorial, and to contact you or
the Help desk to solve any issues in plenty of time.
Create a self-paced tutorial: This short lesson
demonstrates the use of the tool. Post it on a Web
site or mail them the file. An example of such a tuto-
rial for the new Acrobat Connect is online at http://www.adobe.com/
resources/acrobatconnect/
Schedule short orientation sessions: Invite new participants to come
to a live orientation session to test their connection and audio, and to
get a quick introduction to the tools they will be using during the actual
session. The presenter can troubleshoot any technical problems during
this orientation to ensure instant access on the day of the session.
Build a short tutorial into the beginning of each session: When
scheduling an event, include buffer time for participants to log in early
and ask questions. Allow time for solving log-in problems or connection
issues, to show a short tutorial, and to have participants practice using
the tools in the interface before you turn to session content. Understand
that during this buffer period, total learner attention is not expected. It’s
okay that everyone is in a different state of preparedness, including
some who are listening but finishing up e-mails or printing handouts.
It’s better for that to happen during the buffer time rather than at the
very moment the speaker begins the lesson.
Remember “tool time”: Many tools require that “plug-ins” or soft-
ware applications be installed on each users’ PC. (Java WebStart, Live
Meeting Console, Flash Player, etc.). The system will prompt individuals who have not already done
so to install the necessary software when they try to access the session. Downloading and installation
can take several minutes. Figure 6-3 shows how Elluminate handles this — other synchronous sys-
tems have similar screens.
Figure 6-2
The schedule of events lead-
ing up to the start of your
session should offer partici-
pants several opportunities
to confirm their ability to
connect to the session and
to learn about using the
software tools and options
available to them.
Figure 6-3
If a user tries to log in
without the correct plug-in
or software available, the
system will prompt for a
download and installation.
Dealing with connectivity issues
Let’s go back to a metaphor I used earlier, but with a slight change. Imagine driving on a busy
highway at the height of rush hour traffic. Depending on a variety of factors, you can get through.
But occasionally, the traffic flow might slow down or stop completely. Now imagine the same high-
way and you’re towing a boat or camper or trying to follow your friend in the car ahead of you. You
might find that you can’t go as fast as you want to, or can’t squeeze past another vehicle. When you
get on the road, you might have some idea of what you’ll face, but won’t know for certain until
you’re there.
Think of this traffic scenario if you ever find yourself in an online session when suddenly every-
thing seems sluggish, or the audio cuts out, or portions of the screen go blank. While not unusual,
these “towing a boat in rush hour traffic” moments can be terrifying, and can last from one second
to several minutes depending on your connection.
Online session software providers will tell you that participants can join a session with a connec-
tion as slow as or slower than a 56K dialup — this is true. However, know that participants will likely
experience occasional delays in the flow
of shared visuals or VoIP audio. Some-
times delays are undetectable to the par-
ticipant, some show up as breaks in the
audio or a change in the way software
features respond. See Figure 6-4.
Remember that delays, as in highway
traffic, are caused by a variety of factors
including an increase in traffic, or a more
burdensome load. Sending Chat messages
and clicking emoticon buttons don’t
require the same amount of resources
as uploading files or using VoIP audio or application sharing. Help your participants optimize
resources. Remind them to close unneeded applications that use bandwidth or system resources,
including memory, and to clear temporary files and cookies.
Preparing users to learn
When preparing participants for learning, I have a number of recommendations.
First, make no assumptions. Give enough information about the tools and the session so that par-
ticipants can understand how the session will run, what their role is, and how and when to use avail-
able tools.
Teach participants how to use the software tools. Include slides in your introduction that show the
features of the software interface and that give clear instructions on how to use tools. Inform partici-
pants that the presenter will ask them to use these tools. Include instructions about how to mute and
unmute the audio!
Welcome and thank participants. These are your clients. Treat them respectfully, and let them
know your role is to support their learning.
Set ground rules. Set the ground rules for behavior and contribution online, just as you would in a
physical classroom. Request that participants give the session their full attention.
Treat sessions as “premium time.” These sessions are live and in real-time, so make the most of this
rare opportunity by exchanging ideas and customizing examples and answers for the unique mem-
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Figure 6-4
The Adobe Acrobat
Connect connection test
verifies that the user is
ready to participate in a
synchronous session.
bers of this group. Learners in these sessions want an engaging experience; otherwise they’d use a
self-paced tutorial or watch a recording.
Invite participants to ... er ... participate. Participants might feel apprehensive about using the
tools, concerned that they might do the wrong thing or annoy the presenter. They may think, “It’s
easier and safer to stay invisible.” Invite them to contribute to the conversation during your “Intro-
duction to the Session” session. The session design should offer multiple points throughout the ses-
sion for participants to give examples, responses, opinions, applications, or opportunities. Be sure to
take advantage of these “participation points.”
Your participants have questions about online session etiquette, although they might not know
the etiquette for asking. When you ask non-rhetorical questions (where it’s supposed to be obvious
that you want a response), participants often aren’t
totally sure how to respond. Participants don’t
know if you are the type of presenter who likes to
hold all questions until the end, or if you prefer that
they “raise their hand” virtually any time there is
something they want to ask about.
If you want participants to type comments or
questions in Chat as you present, tell them so. Or, if
you prefer, ask them to hold all questions until the
end. It’s a good practice at the beginning of the ses-
sion to ask participants to keep their Chat com-
ments focused on the session content. Otherwise,
during the session, Chat can turn into a free-for-all.
If this happens, remind participants of the earlier
agreement and again request that messages be lim-
ited to questions to the presenter or to responses to
open-ended questions. As a Producer, I’ve sent pri-
vate messages thanking “talkative” participants for
their eagerness, and asking them to hold back com-
ments or off-topic questions until the end of the session.
Be vigilant about time. Make every effort to ensure sessions can start and end on time. Remind
presenters and participants of how many minutes remain. Display a countdown clock to inform
learners when to return from a practice session or break.
Spell things out. The best way to get learners to participate is to invite them to do something;
respond to a poll, type a response to a question, or click through a tutorial. Spell out exactly how to
use the software tools to do it — I include an extra slide with instructions and screenshots just in
case they didn’t hear my directions. Then, allow ample time to perform the action. For instance, if
you ask a question such as, “Can you give me an example like this from your own work?”, you also
have to say, “Please unmute your phone link and speak up,” or, “Please click your Talk button and
speak into your microphone.”
When participants are asked to type responses in Chat, be patient and quiet as they craft and edit
an answer. Participants might be shy or lazy or might think that your question is rhetorical. You need
to make it clear that you WANT them to respond.
Tip: Once you have asked a question and given instructions on how to answer, release or mute
your own microphone. These moments are the only times you are able to rest, sip water, rustle
papers, clear your throat, and breathe. Also, by staying quiet, you further prompt the participants to
pay attention to what’s happening on screen.
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Figure 6-5
Teach participants how to
use any tools you want
them to use during the
session. (PowerPoint slide
explaining WebEx annota-
tion tools)
Introducing participants
In just the same way that cold calls can feel unfriendly, unwanted and, well ... cold, online training
sessions can feel strange, too. Create interactions early, by encouraging participants to introduce
themselves.
If you have an audio line where everyone can take turns speaking, each person can easily intro-
duce himself. In some sessions, multi-way audio isn’t practical. In others, introductions would take
too long. You can still do introductions by using the other resources available in your online session
software.
One option is to ask a question that each participant can respond to by typing in Chat. Ask,
“Where are you from?”, “How’s the weather?”, or “What do you most want to learn today?” Wait for
responses to come in and provide verbal feedback to welcome participants and connect with them.
You can also create a slide with each participant’s name listed. Move to the slide and ask each stu-
dent to take his turn stating his name and where he is calling from, and to type his city name on the
slide. Participants can associate a voice with each person and have a chance to feel connected. Check
to see that proper privileges are set for learners to use the whiteboard. Also, remind participants how
to use whiteboard tools. In WebEx, for example, it’s important to say, “Once you’ve typed your city
name, click away from the text to display it.” You might want to create a PowerPoint slide to illustrate
the process. (See Figure 6-5 on page 80.)
Depending on available tools or privileges, the presenters might need
to type the city name for the participants. An alternative to typing on
the whiteboard is asking each participant to type his city name into the
Chat feature. This option, if available, is very tidy. Each participant’s
login name precedes his response, so other participants can easily iden-
tify the author of each comment.
For small groups, especially those who will work together for several
sessions, include photos of each participant.
Profiles, found in Elluminate and Live Meeting, help participants
learn about each other during the session. Participants can post personal
information and images for others to see. They can control how much
information they offer, and may use an actual photo or display a fiction-
al image (avatar) to represent themselves. Participants can choose to view Profiles or not. (See Figure
6-6.)
Latecomers quickly get up to speed as they see who’s already on the call. Once you’re finished with
the introductions, say a quick “Hello and welcome” to new people who have just joined. Ask them to
send you a Chat message to confirm they have materials, can hear and see, and are ready to start.
Running the event
Transition on time from orientation introductions and thank you’s to the primary presenter and
session information. This is the official focusing of attention. By now everyone needs to be ready to
start. Be prepared for latecomers, or for learner problems such as, “Can’t see” or, “Can’t hear” in Chat
or audio. Redisplay the slide containing instructions on how to mute and unmute the line.
Be prepared to offer instructions to the presenter to increase volume, or to make an adjustment
that might solve the issue. If learners can’t hear, you must use a text-based method to inform them
what to do.
In the Host/Presenter Technical Checklist (Sidebar 6-1 on page 76), you may have noticed that I
referred to a “crib notes text file.” Sidebar 6-4 shows some of the entries in this crib file. I made this a
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Figure 6-6
Profiles offer a way for par-
ticipants to “introduce”
themselves to the group
(Screen shot is from
Elluminate.)
Word document, and I keep it open to provide a quick source for the common messages and cues that I
might need to type at any point in the session. As I need them, I copy from Word and paste into Chat or
onto the whiteboard. This saves time and improves message accuracy. Some audio conferencing vendors
also have an audio control panel add-in so presenters and Producers can control all of the audio lines.
Once you get up and running, the bulk of the session is the presenter speaking and showing files
and demonstrations to learners. Ideally, the presenter is prepared and the software, audio, and inter-
net connections will behave consistently well throughout the session. The Producer can observe the
presenter and track along with the session plan.
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Karen’s Event Crib Notes
These are messages I frequently copy and paste
into the Chat area of a synchronous online ses-
sion. I can send messages to the whole group, to
individuals, and to presenters. Be sure to update
text and links prior to each session!
Chat Messages for Participants
• Greetings!
• You can use Chat to say hello or ask ques-
tions.
• Where are you joining from?
• Event intro begins at 8:15 PT/11:15 ET
• We will begin at the top of the hour
• Here’s the link to the schedule, the handouts
and the Login links.
• Links, handouts, and later recordings will be
posted (enter URL). Be sure to bookmark it.
• We will post handouts shortly.
• We will post the recording shortly.
Conference call details
• The dial in number is
• Passcode
• Use *6 to Mute and #6 to unmute
When presenter is App sharing
Turn on Enable Participants to use Full Screen (at
the bottom of the Share pod). Then, type in Chat:
• You can click the Full Screen button to increase
your display size
Set up/support
• Set your connection speed to DSL/Cable
• Meeting menu, My connection speed
• MY STATUS above our names
• It is a drop down list
• Please stand by
• Please mute your audio.
• Please keep Chat messages on topic. Thank
you!
• Please use e-mail or another forum to continue
this conversation.
• Please log out and back in.
• Check your settings in Windows, Control Panel.
Chat messages you might need to send to
Presenters
• Are you ready to start?
• Please increase volume
• Please move microphone away from lips
• 30 minutes remaining
• 2 minutes remaining
• Please WRAP IT UP
Turn on Camera and Voice pod.
• Please Click the button in the lower left corner
of the Camera and Voice pod (top left).
• It will prompt you to Allow.
• Your microphone is now open.
• The Talk button and the lock next to it (Hands
free) are dark grey.
• You should see a green indicator as you speak.
• Click the LOCK button to release the microphone.
• Yes, I hear you.
• Good, loud and strong.
• Keep talking so I can assess the consistency.
• Not hearing you.
To use Talk button
• Click the lock icon to the right of the Talk but-
ton to turn on your microphone and keep it on.
• CLICK THE LOCK button.
• Be sure to release the LOCK button when NOT
talking.
To reduce audio fluctuation
• Please run the Audio Wizard.
• Go to your Meeting menu (top), Audio Setup
Wizard ...
• Follow the prompts, adjust your volumes and
microphone.
• Be sure to Test Silence and be quiet.
• On the 5th page of the wizard, Click Advanced
... turn off Auto Gain Control.
Microphone use issues
• We can hear you typing — just speak your
response.
• I can hear you breathing.
• Move your mic away from your mouth or
release the lock button.
• During the next poll, turn off your mic, clear
your throat, and take a sip of water. Wait a full
minute before you come back.
• Please mute your audio.
Audio issues
• Too HOT — can you turn your microphone
down?
• Too QUIET — can you turn your microphone
up?
• To turn your microphone up in Connect, RIGHT
mouse click on the slides and click Settings ...
• The third tool on the bottom is a Microphone
icon, click it. Now you can drag your audio level
down to the left and see the indicator on the
left.
• Your audio is fluctuating a bit.
• Could you check your connection speed and
make it DSL.
• Under the Meeting menu, My connection speed ...
• Is your e-mail open, or virus scanner, or any-
thing that would be using system resources?
When presenters are moving Poll pods to
the viewable area
• Your Poll is open. You can drag it to the center
when ready.
• When you have addressed this Poll, just MINI-
MIZE or hide the pod.
Using Layouts
• Click the App Share Layout button, along the
bottom left.
• GO BACK TO SLIDES LAYOUT.
Dire technical issues
• Please call this number.
• OK, let’s try a clean slate. Please close the
application and reboot your machine.
• Clear your temp files and cookies.
• I’m going to call you on your cell.
• Ring ...
Contact
• Contact info for speaker
• Contact info for Producer
• Contact info for Support
Links to PUSH
(Plan B — Plan A is to load into session room or
PowerPoints in advance.)
• This event
• Upcoming event
• Evaluation form
• Presenter content 1
• Presenter content 1
Sidebar 6-4
Synchronous software tools display content in unique panels or pods. These are small- to medi-
um-size on-screen windows that float on top of everything else on the presenter’s display. They
expand and collapse as they are used. You can organize and display a configuration or layout of pan-
els to emphasize the tools you need to use at a specific time. (See Figure 6-7)
If you prefer not to use a Question and Answer panel, you can turn it off. If you want to give more
emphasis to shared applications, you can increase the size of the share display area.
When I’m able to control the layout, I display text Chat, audio controls, and a list of attendees in
addition to the PowerPoint slide or application sharing display. I turn off all other tools until they are
needed and keep the screen tidy.
Stay alert, Producers! Be prepared to offer assistance to the presenter. He might need
help clearing the whiteboard or advancing slides.
Using questions and annotations
Certified Technical Trainers CTT+ will tell you, no matter what topic you’re teaching
online, hearing and seeing relevant feedback from learners is key. Without feedback,
you have no idea if what you did or said had any impact on your learners.
One sure-fire, easy way to get feedback and responses from your learners is to ask for
it, and provide a format for them to use. Ask lots of questions. Prompt participants for
relevant feedback. Open-ended questions provide opportunities for participants to
contribute their ideas. By doing this, you can see and hear responses, connect with par-
ticipants, and find out what their needs are as well as what they are learning.
Online session software provides several ways to “ask” and several ways for partici-
pants to “respond.” It’s up to you and the instructional designer to determine how best
to craft multiple choice, multiple answer, yes/no, and
open-ended questions, and how to best instruct par-
ticipants to use these tools. (See Chapters 3 and 5 for
details.)
Here’s an example:
A PowerPoint slide presentation comes with the
instructor’s version of the Act! 6.0 courseware. It
includes every bulleted item you can imagine, but it
has a slow start. One slide boldly lists 10 reasons to
use a contact management tool. When I think of
what my participants will be doing when they see
this, I imagine them yawning and clicking over to
their inboxes.
I want to hook them in and get them actively par-
ticipating. Knowing that they are already familiar
with the concepts of contact management, I created
a new slide with just one question on it, “How do
contact management tools save time?” Then I
thought about what their answers might be.
• Forward leads with all relevant contact information
• Track interaction between our administration, marketing, and sales staffs
• Help marketing see demographics and trends
• Build client relationships
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Figure 6-7
Elluminate layout options.
Figure 6-8
Seed your presentation
slides with open-ended
questions to keep partici-
pants engaged.
OK, that works. If they can answer the question, and are willing to respond, we’re on the right track.
I seed my presentation slides with these open question slides, putting them in context. Some are
leading questions, review questions, opinions, wild guesses, and any question that begs response
from participants. When I come to an open question slide in my presentation, I ask the question
posed there, and then prompt participants to type their answers using annotation (whiteboard) tools
or Chat. (See Figure 6-8 on page 83 for a typical
slide from an Excel course.) If those communication
options are not available to participants, I can cap-
ture students’ verbal input by typing their responses
on the whiteboard myself. Depending on the soft-
ware, one of these options will suit your needs bet-
ter, as long as you have done the planning and the
thinking ahead of time.
When using a canned slide set with bulleted
points there’s not much room for interaction. (See
Figure 6-9.) Participants will simply read along as
the presenter describes each bullet. But here’s a
handy trick. If there’s a chance that some or all of
your participants have a conceptual understanding
of the topic (as they should, in our example), you’ll
likely find that individuals can guess or anticipate
what the bullets are without seeing them.
So rather than showing a bulleted list slide like
Figure 6-9, instead show them a prompt slide first,
like Figure 6-8 on page 83. Then, as the entries from
the audience appear in Chat or on the slide, you can
discuss those entries that correspond to your con-
tent. (See Figure 6-10.) When their entries slow
down, you can THEN display a slide with all the
answers (Figure 6-9) and discuss any remaining
ideas. Sidebar 6-5, on page 85, summarizes the
process.
This is not only a test to see who’s awake and lis-
tening, but it is also an opportunity to validate par-
ticipants’ knowledge without radically changing
your lesson plan. And you may also get lucky and
find that participants offer a perspective you hadn’t
considered. You can also prompt learners to use the
whiteboard tools to annotate, with lines, circles, or
boxes as well as with text, any slide during a discus-
sion or Q & A.
The extra bonus to using this strategy is the ongoing assessment of learners’ knowledge. If 100%
of the participants are able to fill in the blanks you’ve left for them, you’ll have a good indicator that
this audience is not as novice as you anticipated. Additional questioning and evaluation will help
confirm that fact.
There is another way to use questions: the polling feature.
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Figure 6-9
Slides with bullets like this
one put everyone to sleep.
Figure 6-10
Participants can type
responses to a question
using annotation (white-
board tools). Their
answers appear on your
prompt slide.
— Order of Operations
Using the polling feature
The polling feature displays a question and several
possible answers that participants can “vote for” by
clicking on their choice. You can tally responses and
display percentages. It is possible to create polls dur-
ing the session, but I don’t recommend it. It requires
accurate typing while participants stand by and wait.
You need to prepare your polls ahead of time as part
of your design and preparation work (see Chapters
3, 4, and 5).
Carefully planned polls can get a snapshot of
learner perspectives and can also reconnect the
learners and presenters with key concepts very
quickly and visibly. Ask a variety of questions that
challenge the participants and help you to
learn more about your group. Even in a 1:1
demo or sales session, polls can be an
informative way to connect with your
guests.
Why not ask a question? Create a slide
with this question and possible short
answers.
Work with an instructional designer to
create the most relevant Poll questions for
your session.
I always know when it’s time to display a
poll. I leave a placeholder “cue” slide in the
PowerPoint file displaying only the poll num-
ber and the question. When I come to the
slide, I can ask the question to start the partic-
ipants thinking about their responses while I
show the poll. If there’s any delay in action, they will spend the time thinking about the question.
I encourage presenters using Adobe Acrobat Connect to include a placeholder for Poll pods.
During the session I pre-open a Poll pod in the presenter-only area right before it’s needed. When
the presenter is ready, she can drag it from the private area into the public area.
Tip: Always prompt participants verbally to respond to the poll. If they have clicked to another
window, and are only listening to the session, you’ll get their attention back for a few minutes.
Polling in different tools
Each online software product handles polling differently.
For example, Acrobat Connect Professional creates and saves Polling pods (small windows) inside
the session. (See Figure 6-11.) Poll question and answer text can be typed or pasted from a text or
PowerPoint document into a pod. The pod can be displayed as needed, can be sized, and placed
anywhere on the screen (even out of the view of the participants).
In WebEx, you can create polls in advance or inside the session room. By downloading a separate-
ly-installed software application (WebEx Poll Questionnaire Editor) presenters can create the polls
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A Quick and Easy Way to Prompt Participation
Before the event:
1. Select an original bulleted slide and duplicate it.
2. Remove data on the first copy, leaving only the title or question.
3. Be sure the question is worded clearly to generate the responses you need.
It’s worth testing the question on some friends to see what responses they
are likely to generate. There’s little worse than relying on the audience to
reveal the responses you need, and having them offer every answer but the
one you need!
During the event:
1. Pose the question to your participants and ask for their responses.
2. Thank them and validate their answers.
3. Reveal original slide and data AFTER participants contribute.
4. Address any points not offered by the group.
Sidebar 6-5
Figure 6-11
Displaying a Poll in Adobe
Connect by dragging a poll
pod from the hidden
Presenter Only area.
without actually logging into the session room. (See Figure 6-12.) This is great if you are sharing a
room with other presenters, or if your service charges by the minute for access to the room.
Many online synchronous tools have downloadable add-ins, plug-ins, or
additional software tools that aid in developing session materials. With the
Live Meeting presenter add-in, you can create polling and other features
inside PowerPoint using a proprietary menu on the PowerPoint menu bar.
Content developers can add polls, Yes/No questions, and open-ended text
responses.
You might also develop content in a more high-end tool such as Flash,
Articulate, Camtasia, or Lectora, providing many more options and requir-
ing more development expertise.
When using Elluminate, create polls in advance by creating a PPT slide
with a question in the Title and a list of possible answers labeled with letters
A through E. (See Figure 6-13.) Inside the session room, there is a menu
option that allows the speaker or moderator to show the appropriate but-
tons on the toolbar. Participants can then click on the button that corre-
sponds to their choice. Their selection displays next to their name in the
Participant Info window.
Impromptu polling
Most online tools have buttons that allow participants to respond affir-
matively or negatively. Use that tool set for quick audience analysis and
impromptu polling. Start using these early by asking easy questions, such as,
“If my microphone volume is at a good level, and you can hear me clearly,
please click on the Smiley Face. If not, please click the Thumbs Down but-
ton so we can see if adjustments are needed.” Ask learners to click specific
emoticons to indicate whether (or not) they are now able to see the
onscreen demonstration.
Be sure to use the correct emoticon
names for your software. Hover your
mouse pointer over the emoticon or but-
ton and the proper name will appear.
Are you unsure of skill levels? Post a
polling slide or quiz to quickly assess
them. Are participants hesitant to inter-
rupt you to ask questions? Encourage
them to type questions in the Chat area.
(See “Managing Chat”)
You can introduce new topics by, for
example, asking the audience to “Click the
Smiley face if you’ve ever created an e-
Learning module or course using Flash.”
Broaden the response opportunity by
adding “If you’ve created an e-Learning course using a different software tool, go ahead and type the
name into Chat” (in Elluminate, call the tool “Direct Messaging”). You’ll better understand who’s in
your audience, who’s awake, and who has experience. You can further engage the audience by vali-
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Figure 6-12
With the WebEx Poll
Questionnaire Editor, you
can prepare and save polls
ahead of time without log-
ging into a session room.
Figure 6-13
Elluminate’s polling ques-
tion responses display in
the participant window.
dating their responses. “I see MaryH has used Dreamweaver and SteveS has used HTML. And we
have several experienced Flash users. Great! I’m eager to hear your perspectives and ideas during the
session today. Feel free to type in your comments or raise your hand to request the use of the micro-
phone.” Voila! NOW you have interaction and an invitation to participate at will.
Managing Chat
Encourage participants to offer comments and questions throughout the session by typing in Chat
and reading each others’ messages. The Producer can read Chat messages as they come in and res-
pond to technical issues in a private message. You can listen to Debbie Kenny prompting participants
to respond to her open questions in Chat, at http://www.elearningguild.net/ebook/Kenny-401_clip.
swf. This is an entire session from an eLearning Guild Online Event. The open question exchange
begins in the first ten minutes of the recording.
The presenter should respond verbally to content-related questions, but might prefer to wait for a
pause in the material to stop and read Chat. It can be very difficult to read, speak, and perform tasks
simultaneously, and listeners can hear hesitation in the speaker’s voice when he or she is reading.
If you need to cue the presenter while she is speaking, paste text from your Crib file into a private
message so the speaker sees it as a different color. It’ll be much easier to pick out your message. In
Adobe Acrobat Connect, presenter Chat pods are separate from public Chat pods and are on a dif-
ferent part of the screen, hidden from others. The presenter knows that messages there are only for
him.
I type Chat reminders to the presenter stating how many minutes remain in the session. I suggest
that participants might want to click Full Screen view to increase the size of the shared application.
Polls and testing can require an extra pair of hands: one person to open the file and the other to ver-
bally ask the question or give instructions to participants. When I’m using VoIP and the learners
don’t have audio, I turn on my microphone to update the presenter about what I see on my screen.
If random conversations pepper the Chat messaging, send a private message to each of the “chat-
ters” to kindly stay on topic.
In addition to Chat messaging, question-and-answer features allow the presenter to filter incom-
ing messages and respond to the sender or to the group. Some learners can feel overwhelmed by a lot
of banter in Chat, and this feature reduces the amount of it.
Doing demonstrations
The steps to launch application sharing differ slightly between online software tools. There are a
few actions that are relevant in most cases.
First, open the application before you need to use it. Have it open, logged in, and ready in another
window.
When you start sharing, you’ll have an option for Application sharing and Desktop sharing. Appli-
cation sharing is the best option if you don’t know what you need. Just choose the name of the ap-
plication you want to share from a list and participants will quickly see your shared screen.
Use Desktop sharing when you want to share several different applications during your demon-
stration. This option will display absolutely anything you have running, including your e-mail inbox
and your minimized shopping.com windows. Be careful what you share. Also, desktop sharing tends
to require more bandwidth because it needs to send so much information. If you choose application
sharing instead, you will be limited to showing ONLY the application you select from the list of
things running on your computer.
The presenter’s screen resolution determines the size of the image displayed to the participants. If
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adjustments are possible, be prepared to tell presenters or participants how to make them. For
instance, you might need to say “Click the Full Screen button to display the shared image in a larger
size.”
Producers, stand by to coach a presenter through sharing his application if he gets stuck or is
showing the wrong view. When using Adobe Acrobat Connect, some presenters don’t see the Stop
Sharing button that sits in the system tray. Some tools pop up text messages as they come in, but it’s
easy to miss if you’re fumbling with a menu or Browse window. WebEx’s Application sharing func-
tion is one of the most straightforward, and even it necessitates help.
Slide viewing
Slides typically display the way they were formatted to display. When you load and convert the file
you’ll see the fonts, graphics, and animations as you created them. Sometimes they don’t convert correct-
ly, and things look wrong. Try PowerPoint’s Replace Fonts function and switch to a more standard font.
Figure 6-14 shows the Acrobat Connect Professional sidebar. The sidebar displays a list of slide
titles so presenters can quickly jump to a selected slide, rather than advancing one slide at a time.
The sidebar is not seen by participants. This sidebar can also follow cues the designer has created as
Speaker Notes added to the PowerPoint file. You can advance one slide at a time, or jump ahead or
back to a specific slide. If you have more
than one presenter, agree in advance
which presenter(s) will advance slides.
Status indicators
For quick responses about audio level,
Yes/No questions, or pulse checks (to find
out if you need to speed up, slow down,
take a break, or answer some questions),
ask participants to change their status indi-
cators or emoticons. This is very useful
when participants cannot verbally respond.
Participants can voice their needs instantly
and silently.
Audio and video clips,
multimedia files
Avoid embedding media files into PowerPoint to play inside your session. It’s better to load the file
into the interface and cut out the middleman.
Not all tools accept all file types. Check your features information, plug-ins, and complementary
development tools.
If you’ve done a test run of your audio and video clips with a typical user’s computer and you see
that it works, all should go well. You play the file, participants see it. It’s easy.
Be aware there is very likely to be some choppiness in the image and audio at some point, espe-
cially for the slowest connections and weakest computers.
Breakout rooms
In Centra and Elluminate, you can send participants to breakout rooms where they use a separate
whiteboard and audio button. Text messaging is seen by all participants, even when in breakout
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 88
SHOWTI ME! | CHAPTER 6
Figure 6-14
The Adobe Acrobat
Connect Professional side-
bar allows the presenter to
jump to a selected slide.
Participants cannot see
the sidebar.
rooms, so global messages can be sent. Breakout rooms are a good place for 1:1 troubleshooting with
an event Producer or presenter.
Elluminate recently updated their breakout controls to make it easier for the Producer to control
who gets sent to which breakout rooms.
Independent practice activities
If you ask participants to do practice activities, give very clear instructions, and make sure they can
get to files or applications they’ll need. Also, give a time limit or due date. Stay available for questions
as they work. Work with your instructional designer to create appropriate practices and activities to
support your learning objectives.
Conducting tests
In addition to Level 1 evaluation forms (a.k.a. “smile sheets”) and interactive polling slides, pre-
senters and trainers may also include more formal quizzes and tests. Your synchronous software
product might include test development tools that support scoring and reporting. Or the testing
functionality might be part of your version of a tool, or a Learning Management System. Third party
tools like Questionmark Perception also provide robust test development and tracking.
Writing test questions is an art form, so if you need help, talk to an instructional designer or psy-
chometrician for appropriate test question content, wording, weighting, scoring, and reporting.
A helpful reference is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychometrics#Standards_of_quality.
As always, do thorough testing of your tests before you deploy.
Students tend to be sensitive about tests and their scores. Create tests and technology that ensure
fairness, accuracy, and secure submissions.
Disaster Control
For every plan you have for how things are going to work, have another plan for what to do if they
don’t work. If you log into a session and the presenter’s VoIP headset doesn’t work, how will you
continue the audio presentation? If some users are not able to view the shared application, how will
they understand what the presenter is talking about? If you try to launch an activity and it doesn’t
launch, then what? Even the best-laid plans fall apart.
Common errors and fixes
Presenters and participants might not be able to join sessions or might notice changes in the
behavior of the software due to common technical issues.
• Participant can’t log in, seems to have the wrong link, gets an error message indicating “wrong
user ID” or “wrong password.” Check that the link hasn’t word-wrapped. Verify that password is
correct case. Try joining as “Guest.”
• For some Web conferencing applications, an additional software application (a plug-in) needs to
be installed on each user’s machine. Ensure this is done days, not minutes, before the session.
• A firewall may be blocking access. Talk to IT well in advance of the session. If this does not lead
to resolution, join the session from a home office outside the firewall
• Audio drops, or images load slowly. The problem may be low bandwidth. Try logging in again.
Change connection speed to a lower setting. Shut down unneeded applications.
• Interface integrity breaks down or freezes. This could indicate the affected machine does not have
enough memory. Shut down unneeded applications, log out, and log back in again. Try deleting
temporary files, using Tools, Internet Options, Delete Files. The user might need to reboot.
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SHOWTI ME! | CHAPTER 6
• Presenter can’t upload a file. Shorten the filename and try uploading again. Convert the file
before loading. Reinstall the plug-in.
• Presenter audio cannot be heard. Shut down audio function and restart. Swap out the headset.
Try a headset with a USB connection or, if USB is the type you have, try a two-jack audio and
microphone headset. Check audio settings in Windows Control panel.
Backup/Plan B
It’s better to have plans B, C and D than to have to reschedule a session due to a technical showstop-
per. In your role as Producer, know what options you have for responses and solve problems immediate-
ly as they come up. Be sure to test your Plan B and C options as thoroughly as you do Plan A.
Prepared presenters don’t miss a beat as they implement the plan B solution and keep going.
Here’s a clip of Matthew Murray’s online Forum session for The eLearning Guild. His plan A doesn’t
work, so he downshifts to another option. Notice the recording showing the participant activity. The
presenter didn’t himself go to the backup file. (http://www.elearningguild.net/murray/components2/
testrecording.swf)
Freeconferencecall.com can provide a good plan B for audio. Participants each have to pay to call
in, but the conferencing is free.
THAT-1 is a $139.00 hardware device that can pipe the phone call into a PC soundcard and into
the session. If a presenter’s connection to the session is poor but the Producer’s connection is strong,
the presenter can call the Producer on the phone. The Producer can send the incoming call through
THAT-1 and into the online session. Participants can still receive audio over Internet and do not
need a separate phone connection.
Online interaction “do’s”
Here are some final suggestions to consider.
1. Provide a visual focal point for every part of your presentation. Like dead air, blank screens
prompt learners to turn attention away from the session. Include relevant graphics and diagrams
that illustrate your point. Also include visuals that explain what’s happening now: “The Session Will
Begin at 10:15 After the Break” or “Up Next: Demo: Editing a User Profile.” With these tools, even
learners who have been distracted or have lost audio can stay in the loop.
2. Mind your language. Synchronous online sessions are reminiscent of talk radio broadcasts. A pro-
fessional-sounding voice and careful choice of words improve the credibility and clarity of your message.
3. Edit yourself. Your online time is limited. By using concise and articulate language, especially if
coupled with reinforcing visuals, you won’t need to ramble on.
4. Master the language of the interface. If the text message function is called “Chat” or “Direct
Messaging,” be sure to use that terminology when directing participants. When referring to a button
or tool on the screen, use its name and its location on the screen. “Please click the ‘My Status’ drop
down list arrow just above our names in the Attendee list on the left side of your screen. Then click
the ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ indicator.” While it might feel strange to be so specific, your par-
ticipants will perform the task much more quickly if your instruction is very clear. You can reduce
the amount of detail after you’ve used the tool a few times
5. Avoid overuse of idioms that don’t add to the meaning. They require excess words and can
alienate non-native English speakers.
6. Stop saying “um.” Without a face-to-face relationship, your voice represents you as a person and
a trainer. Filler words like “um,”“uh,”“like,” and “basically” are even more tedious and unprofessional
online. If you need time to think, take time to think. Then speak.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 90
SHOWTI ME! | CHAPTER 6
7. Keep your pace and tone conversational. If you sound like a dictator or cheerleader, you might
distract learners from your message or invite them to tune you out.
8. Plan time to breathe. It’s not practical to try to talk non-stop through your session. Take advan-
tage of points in the presentation where, while you wait for participants to respond to polls or type
in Chat, you can go off microphone to breathe, take a sip of water, and think before you continue.
Get in the habit of using Mute or simply releasing the microphone whenever you’re not talking.
While reading Chat or opening new files, it’s better to turn off your microphone than to try to read
and talk at the same time. Also, no one wants to hear you breathing, coughing, or burping (yes, even
the very quietest are audible) into your microphone. Mute it!
9. Every niche has its lexicon. If you think the language around synchronous online tools is
strange, you’re right. As with any field, there is language that borrows terms from other fields, or
invents new words to label the innovations as they come into use. Online trainers, speakers,
Producers, hosts, moderators, facilitators, and event support professionals with other titles are
responsible for teaching the new language of the tools in synchronous online training.
Online interaction “don’ts”
If you’re used to having certain resources available, like body language or two-way verbal commu-
nication, you might feel quite limited when working inside an online tool. Here are a few strategies
that WILL NOT help you create an effective learning environment.
Don’t apologize for the interface. Online session software is a tool that offers functional resources
to engage groups of people. You can’t do everything the way you did it in the classroom, but that’s
OK. We can do other things.
Don’t patronize your learners. We’re all adults here, no matter what role we play. Participants need
the basic information and some guidelines to get tasks done. They don’t need nagging or criticism.
Behave like you would in any other professional interaction.
Don’t read silence as disinterest or unwillingness. Not all sessions support multi-speaker audio;
participants might not have the functionality to verbally respond. If no one responds to your ques-
tions, ask the question again, tell them how to respond and then wait quietly and patiently. If after a
full minute you haven’t heard or seen a response, calmly fill in with Plan B and move on. Be as
patient next time you ask a question — don’t be discouraged.
Don’t wait until the end to ask for participation. A presenter saying “Any questions?” at the end of
a presentation DOES NOT count as interaction. If you haven’t engaged them in the first two min-
utes, and re-engaged them regularly throughout the session, they will have completely checked out
by the end.
Don’t do “hit and run” training, dumping tons of information in one session and then disappear-
ing. Your online session can become more productive when you’ve already taken care of some of the
preliminaries and learner-specific issues. Make use of the opportunities you have to connect with
participants via e-mail or an online discussion group before, during, and after online sessions. Find
out more about your learners’ application needs. Make sure everyone’s technology is ready to go in
advance so they can connect to the session room. Send preparation materials or links to materials
well in advance. Reference and use the materials throughout the session.
Don’t label a session unsuccessful if learners were quiet. If they were able to see learning materials,
understand the speaker, respond appropriately to poll and Chat questions, and complete assignments
successfully, something was working well. Initiate an e-mail conversation with each participant out-
side the synchronous session to open another avenue for feedback and questions.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 91
SHOWTI ME! | CHAPTER 6
With 104 BUCA di Beppo and Vinny T
of Boston restaurants located in 30
states, BUCA, Inc. is one of the premiere
restaurant companies in the US. To
maintain the integrity of its well-known
brands, BUCA must consistently replicate
its unique family-style dining experience
— complete with distinct ambiance,
exceptional Italian cuisine and warm,
attentive service — throughout all of
its locations.
The Challenge
For a dynamic restaurant company
like BUCA, Inc., new menu rollouts and
changes to restaurant services need
to be frequent, fast and effective. With
restaurants located throughout the United
States, BUCA found that distributing this
type of new information to the field was
challenging. During each rollout, it became
clear to BUCA’s VP of Training and People
Development, Lori Van Holmes, that the
changes implemented by the corporate
office were not being rolled out consistently
by all 104 restaurants. “We would send
out enormous information-packed rollout
books to each restaurant. The restaurant
managers were responsible for wading
through the information and then passing
along the essential bits to the kitchen
staff and service personnel,” recalls Van
Holmes. In addition to the books, divisional
vice presidents and culinary supervisors
often traveled to each restaurant to
train the staff in person. “The amount of
information was overwhelming, and the
delivery method just wasn’t working,”
says Van Holmes.
The Solution
When Van Holmes attended a WebEx
online meeting to further her own
professional training, she immediately
began thinking about how a web meeting
application could help solve the rollout
problems at BUCA. She introduced the
idea to BUCA’s CEO and soon began
a trial of WebEx Training Center. ”It was
surprising how easy it was to use WebEx
and integrate it into our organization.
Not only is the system intuitive, but the
trainings provided by WebEx were great,
the instructors excellent, and the ancillary
training material answered all of our
questions,” she says.
The first food-related WebEx training
Van Holmes conducted was for a lunch
rollout. Van Holmes simply sent out
a meeting invitation through Outlook
giving restaurant managers the option
of choosing one of four meeting times.
“During each WebEx training session,
we launched our desktop publishing
application and dynamically drew lines to
show the managers exactly where the new
items were on the menu. We were also
able to show pictures demonstrating how
to prepare the food. It was a significant
success,” explains Van Holmes.
BUCA’s most recent program rollout
with Training Center was a program
acknowledging employees who have
reached tenure throughout its restaurants.
“I administered the meeting but the senior
director of family resources was able to log
in to WebEx and make his presentation
BUCA, Inc. uses WebEx Training
Center to dramatically improve
information delivery processes
and standardize quality of service.
INDUSTRY
Restaurant Company
WEBEX APPLICATIONS
WebEx Training Center
SUMMARY
BUCA, Inc. needed an effective
training method to ensure its new
programs and services would be rolled
out quickly and accurately by staff in
104 restaurants located throughout
the U.S. Using WebEx Training Center
accelerated BUCA’s information
delivery processes, saving $30,000
and weeks of in-person training in its
first online food rollout. BUCA now
offers Family Members (employees)
frequent interactive online trainings,
improving productivity and quality of
training across its restaurants.
ABOUT BUCA, INC.
Headquarters
Minneapolis, MN
Number of employees
6500
Line of business
Restaurant company
Target market
Individual consumers
WebEx customer since 2005
We completed our frst online lunch rollout in less than a week when
normally it would have taken our culinary supervisors and divisional
vice presidents a month of travel. We saved $30,000 in travel costs
in that one rollout alone.
—Lori Van Holmes, VP of Training and People Development
WebEx Customer Success Story
CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS: WebEx Communications, Inc., 3979 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara, CA 95054 USA Tel: +1.408.435.7000 Fax: 1.408.496.4353
©2005 WebEx Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
WebEx and the WebEx logo are registered trademarks of WebEx Communications, Inc.
right from his office,” says Van Holmes.
To keep the audience interested and
involved, Van Holmes used the WebEx
polling feature. “I asked attendees
questions throughout the presentation,
inviting them to raise their hands to answer.
Then I showed the percentages for each
answer on the spot,” she explains.
WebEx is now used for all rollouts at
BUCA. For each rollout, up to 400
managers are trained by three hosts using
WebEx Training Center. “The traditional
rollout books are still sent out two weeks
before, but now the WebEx meeting
schedule is listed in the books so
managers can attend at their convenience.
The books are there as a reference, but
the WebEx training is what we rely on to
make sure our managers get the real
essence of the material,” says Van Holmes.
The Benefits
With approximately 20 BUCA rollouts a
year, the business results of using WebEx
have been significant. “We completed
our first online lunch rollout in less than a
week when normally it would have taken
our culinary supervisors and divisional vice
presidents a month of travel. We saved
$30,000 in travel costs in that one rollout
alone,” says Van Holmes.
WebEx has also enabled BUCA to
deliver information quickly, and in smaller,
concentrated amounts, improving
knowledge retention, speeding employee
productivity and ensuring that training
is aligned with corporate objectives.
Van Holmes has also found that WebEx
provides built-in accountability for
BUCA employees and encourages
communication. “By polling the audience
during a presentation, I can check to make
sure managers are focusing on the right
information. There are no more excuses
for not doing what’s being asked of them,”
states Van Holmes. In fact, WebEx has
enabled a new dialogue between the
restaurants. During the online meetings,
restaurant managers have begun sharing
their experiences with each other.
“Managers can now learn best practices
from their peers, not only from the
presenters,” she says.
Finally, WebEx is helping Van Holmes
meet the development needs of the BUCA
staff by enabling more frequent training.
According to Van Holmes, “WebEx is
helping us achieve our organizational
goals: to grow sales, increase profitability
and provide ongoing development of our
people. We now provide more training
than we ever did before. And everyone
loves WebEx, from the restaurant
managers to our COO and CEO.”
The Future
As a result of the significant impact
WebEx Training Center has already made
on the BUCA organization, Van Holmes
is focused on finding new applications
that will further streamline and improve
BUCA training. Using WebEx, Van Holmes
is planning on cutting out a full day of
training at BUCA University, a six-day
in-person training conference that takes
place four to six times a year. Transitioning
part of the training conference to ongoing
online classes will deliver the information
in smaller, more palatable amounts and
enable users to advance at their own pace.
“We plan to use WebEx hands-on labs and
breakout sessions to make these trainings
even more robust,” says Van Holmes.
BUCA’s dedication to improving processes
and providing better services is what led
Van Holmes to incorporate WebEx in
the first place. Now she looks forward to
having WebEx help her execute on her
department’s vision. “We haven’t even
scratched the surface of what we can do
with WebEx. We’re really excited about
coming up with even more ideas to meet
our goals,” she says.
WebEx is helping us achieve our organizational goals: to grow sales,
increase proftability and provide ongoing development of our people.
We now provide more training than we ever did before. And everyone
loves WebEx, from the restaurant managers to our COO and CEO.
—Lori Van Holmes, VP of Training and People Development
HIGHLIGHTS
New program materials sent to restaurant managers required in-person
training, and were not being incorporated effectively by BUCA staff.
BUCA found that WebEx was easy to use and integrate into its
existing processes.
WebEx Training Center enabled BUCA to convert the large amounts
of rollout information into short, online presentations managers could
conveniently attend.
Better and faster delivery of information, combined with more frequent
training, ensures uniformity of service across all 104 restaurants.




SS-106-0306
T
he event wraps up when the presenters have completed their delivery, the demonstrations are
complete, and the storyboard calls for a final Question and Answer or Comments round.
Structure the closing
Just as I have a structured introduction, I also believe it is important to provide a structured clos-
ing. (See Sidebar 7-1 on page 95.) This makes it much less likely that the presenter or the Producer
will forget or overlook anything important, and it provides the participants with their assignments
or other transfer tasks. Begin with a structured Question and Answer session.
The final Question and Answer (or comments) opportunity
When it’s time to begin the Q & A period, display a new slide to ask learners, “What questions do
you have?” Be sure to indicate to participants how you want them to respond or to contribute. “Click
the Hand Raise button if you’d like to queue up to ask a question. When I call on you, click the Talk
button.”
Remember that, using online and audio tools, it takes participants longer to respond than it did
in the classroom. Be patient and give plenty of time for them to voice or type their questions. See
Sidebar 7-2 on page 96 for a recommendation I use that helps me organize the screen real estate
effectively and appropriately for this part of the closing.
Audio levels and quality can vary from user to user. Be ready to adjust speaker audio settings or
to signal the user how to adjust. Use a labeled screenshot of the settings and display the slide if it’s
needed.
For teleconference calls, audio lines might be opened allowing everyone to speak freely. Alterna-
tively, the presenter or Producer can prompt participants to un-mute audio in order to speak. Some
teleconferencing services have a Web-based call control panel. Each caller’s audio can be opened and
closed by the Producer. Microsoft Live Meeting has a mini-controller plug-in so all caller audio can
be controlled right inside the presenter console.
Display an agenda for the closing
Post a slide or message asking participants to stay logged in to complete
any final tasks like evaluation questions, quizzes, assignments, and further
instructions. Try to keep reminders short. Send detailed steps in an e-mail
or post in a common area.
Collect Level 1 evaluations (“smile sheets”)
Level 1 evaluation is sometimes written off as “smile sheets,” measuring
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 94
Wrapping Up and
Following Up
By Karen Hyder
C H A P T E R 7
In Chapter 7 you will find information about:
• The structured closing
• Clean up
• Pause for your own assessment
• Session evaluations
• Follow up and ongoing learner support
• Connect with the LMS
Contents
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 95
WRAPPI NG UP AND FOLLOWI NG UP | CHAPTER 7
only how the learner felt about the training or the presenter. However, in an environment where we
can’t see scowls or smiles (Level 0), Level 1 is good information!
Use a short questionnaire to collect evaluation data during the closing session. (See Figure 7-2 on
page 97.) You can send longer forms later via e-mail. Think strategically about questions that will
elicit the most valuable information from participants. Even negative responses can prompt us to
find solutions and better support our learners.
Be brave enough to ask for constructive feedback from participants. Over the years, many charita-
ble students raised my awareness of my own mistakes. I’m thankful they set me straight about things
I might have continued to do wrongly.
Say “Thank you”
Take a moment at the end of your session to thank presenters and participants for joining and
contributing to the session. If appropriate, thank other contributors and support staff.
Assignments and resource links
Except for an evaluation form, participants accustomed only to a classroom-learning format might not
anticipate any follow-up after the training is over. Inform them of available asynchronous (self-directed
and self-paced) support materials and tools. Explain how and when to use them. If your organization uses
a Learning Management System, show the learn-
ers how to access materials, assignments, or tests
posted there. Direct them to a text-only discus-
sion board where they can ask questions about
the assignments or about content.
There are many more formats for collabora-
tion and communication than ever before.
These include wikis (community-created Web
sites used as knowledge repositories), blogs
(Web logs, or public journals written by an
individual), and Podcasts (downloadable audio
recordings in MP3 format, addressing training
or news items). Presenters can use these tools
and methods to continue supporting learning
opportunities beyond the online session. Just as
with synchronous online session tools, be sure
to provide detailed instructions on how participants can use these tools and resources. If learners are
expected to use them, or if there are assignments participants must complete after the synchronous
e-Learning event is over, be sure to address these points as well.
Turn off the recorder
If you’ve been recording a session for other users to see later, you should stop the recorder after
giving instructions and assignments.
Remove any remaining participants from the session room
If participants don’t log out, it’s wise to “remove” them from the session to avoid phantom log-ins
that will be seen as continued activity in the session room. These phantoms might cause accounts to
appear inaccessible later.
Closing checklist
• Q & A session
• Display agenda for closing
• Collect Level 1 evaluations (“smile sheets”)
• Thank the presenters and the participants
• Assignments and resource links
• Turn off recorder
• Evaluation questions
• Final remarks or questions. Remind remaining participants how to exit.
• Save Chat text
• Clean up annotations, clear text, reset files (if room will be reused)
• Remove remaining participants
• End session and exit room
• Post recording file
• Send follow up e-mails
Sidebar 7-1
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WRAPPI NG UP AND FOLLOWI NG UP | CHAPTER 7
Close the session room
Watch the clock carefully when you’re online, and be vigilant about keeping starts and stops with-
in five minutes of the posted time. Remember that learners have other meetings to attend and train-
ers have other sessions to set up and start. If your licensing is by the minute, don’t keep the room
open any longer than it is needed.
Before you leave, make a “last call” for questions from any participants who are still logged in.
Clean up
Scan the list of Chat messages for comments
and questions that still require a response.
• Save Chat text to refer to later. If there is no
“Save” option, just copy the text and paste
into a text document. If you ran out of
time to respond to all questions, re-post the
questions with your answers in a separate
format such as an asynchronous discussion
board, often called Chat rooms, and partic-
ipants can access them at any time.
• Save any whiteboard files, delete files (if
necessary), and properly open and close
polls so the software records responses.
• When you are finally ready to leave, be sure
to End the session rather than just Exit,
again to avoid the session staying active.
• Enter all notes into appropriate forms.
• Post the recording link or file where part-
icipants, and those who missed the session,
can access it. (Some tools have a recording
editor, others do not.)
Pause for your own profes-
sional assessment
In the process of cleaning up, spend some
time thinking objectively about the successes
and shortcomings of the session. Inventory the
technical issues, the timing, the feedback, and
your own presentation skills. Be open to learn-
ing from mistakes. Make some determinations now about what you will do the same way next time,
and the things you need to find a way to do differently. Make content edits and notes now while you
remember what it was you didn’t like, or what participants said they didn’t like, or what didn’t work
at all.
Your online trainer and Producer role requires that you respond to feedback, and change behavior
or methods quickly to improve learning environments and serve learners effectively. (See Sidebar 7-3
on page 98.)
Be honest and realistic about technology and how it works. Set the right expectation and offer
solutions. Don’t build huge expectations about features, fail to test those features ahead of time, and
Q & A Layout in Adobe Acrobat Connect
In Acrobat Connect, I use a Layout for Q & A that’s very different from the Layout I
use for slides or sharing. The Chat pod is four times bigger than the normal
Layout and the Share pod is much smaller. (See Figure 7-1) This serves a few pur-
poses. With a large Chat pod, it’s much easier to scroll back through and read
missed comments and questions. Also, the large Chat pod signals the new focus
of the session and de-emphasizes formal content. However, with the small Share
pod, the slides are still available for reference. Presenters can backtrack to earlier
slides, if necessary.
Tip: In order for this to work properly, the same shared file and the same Chat pod
must be loaded into both Layouts.
Sidebar 7-2
Figure 7-1 An expanded view of the Chat pod makes reading and responding easier.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 97
WRAPPI NG UP AND FOLLOWI NG UP | CHAPTER 7
then blame the technology if things didn’t work well for everyone.
Review all the points in the session that did work well. Ask yourself what was in place to ensure
success.
Go back over your Storyboard and fill in details or make changes. “Launch Application Sharing
HERE.” Or, “Use multiple-answer types poll.” Make improvements on your introductory, tutorial, or
emergency slides to give important instructions more clearly.
Continue to make small improvements, and soon your sessions will be so polished the technology
will become transparent.
Session evaluations
Training professionals have a habit
of asking questions at the end of ses-
sions to find out perceived effective-
ness and value. We try to ask ques-
tions that will give us useful data, data
we can respond to. I prefer data pro-
vided by people who take the time to
really reflect on the evaluation. As a
result, I like to offer a longer evalua-
tion where they can write comments,
too. Some data is more useful than
others. So what’s the perfect mix?
You tell me.
When I ask learners to evaluate the
session, I want to know how the ses-
sion worked for them both techno-
logically and educationally. If the
technology was an obstacle, it’s im-
portant to know that. I also want to
ask how much of the information
did they already know, expressed in
ranges: 0 to 10%, 11 to 50%, 51 to
90%, 91to 100%. This gives me a good perspective on the learners, and something I can ask about
later. What did they learn that was new?
I also want to know how soon they anticipate using what they learned: immediately, in three to six
months, six to twelve months, one to two years, or never.
I want to know the type of connection they used (LAN, DSL, cable, dial-up modem, or satellite)
and how the connection performed. I expect responses like:
• Great. Solid. No latency or clipping.
• Good. Some clipping, but I’m used to it with Skype.
• Fair. I wish I had been on my other connection.
• Bad. Where are the recordings posted? I need to play it back later.
I also want to ask questions about their opinions, how they liked it, and did they feel that they
learned.
If your team needs to seriously consider what you want to evaluate and why, look at the broader
picture of evaluation as identified by Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick. With end-of-course “smile sheets” as
Figure 7-2
Post a short series of
evaluation question Poll
pods and show them at
the end of the session.
Prompt participants to
respond before they log
out.
Level 1 evaluation, Levels 2, 3 and 4 are increasingly more difficult to measure, but often worth
tracking. Learn more about Kirkpatrick’s four levels at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_
Kirkpatrick
Follow up
Much of learning takes place after training, when students attempt to apply concepts to practical
situations. They might need your help, or they might need support in the form of a quick reference
guide or a transcript of a live session. You can make resources available to them at any time and in
almost any form.
There is now a myriad of methods to continue communicating with and supporting learners as
they find opportunities to apply what you taught.
• You can send an e-mail to recap key learnings and elaborate on assignment details.
• Post follow-up messages on Discussion Boards and Chat rooms to ignite additional asynchro-
nous contributions from participants.
• Make use of any resources you have to post assignments, files, and follow up questions to
create an ongoing dialog.
• If your organization has an LMS, get training on how you can use the tools and features that it
provides.
• Find out how you can build a community
of learning when blending group commu-
nication with other learning resources.
The proliferation of computer and Web
users, Web sites, and learning management sys-
tems means that you can post the most appro-
priate training material and learners all over
the world can access it whenever they want.
You can direct learners to use high quality sup-
portive e-Learning materials like tutorials,
videos, demonstrations, simulations, and
games that are widely available. E-Learning developers using software tools such as Flash, Captivate,
or Lectora can also create customized movies and games so training fits perfectly.
Supporting participants for an extended learning program
If your synchronous online sessions will run for a period of weeks with assignments in between,
provide structure and regular touch points. A syllabus or a visual “you are here” in the agenda can
help learners stay on track.
Check up on and check in with each participant to ensure they understand the assignment and
know how to get to it. Don’t bombard them, but do provide a repository where they can go to get
what they need.
Throughout a learning program, participants have a tendency to disappear for a few days and not
respond to e-mails or Discussion Boards. Anticipate that some learners will need to compartmental-
ize their online learning to certain days or times.
Connecting with the LMS
Not everyone needs a Learning Management System. If you only run sessions every once in a
while, or participants don’t need to be tracked, you can easily manage invitations and materials using
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WRAPPI NG UP AND FOLLOWI NG UP | CHAPTER 7
Presenter feedback
When I produce another person’s session, I e-mail them a day or two after the
session, to say thank you or to follow up. I include survey information and Chat
text, if available, comment on what was smooth or rough, and offer points of
praise for good session management or effective strategy.
Tip: Offer coaching only to presenters who agree to accept it. Respect that not
everyone is open to feedback or in the mood to be evaluated. If the presenter is
interested in feedback, schedule a phone conversation so you can both speak
openly.
Sidebar 7-3
just the features available in your Synchronous online software.
You might need a Learning Management System to help organize users and materials if you have
many different courses or sessions, a lot of participants, a need to make a variety of resources avail-
able to participants before, during, and after synchronous online sessions, or you want to manage
assignments and track who logs in and when.
Using an LMS is a big step
Undertaking the implementation of a Learning Management System is something that a team,
comprised of representatives from IT, training, development, data management, functional manage-
ment, financial, and the end-user base, should discuss and plan for carefully.
Compare tools and functionality as well as the ability to customize. Ensure that your synchronous
online software will exchange user registration, test scores, and tracking information, or any other
data you need.
Need to provide support tools for cheap (or free)?
Upload files and instructions to a normal Web URL, and give learners the link. Also, explore these
tools:
• Vignettes for Training’s Rapid LMS (free for a year) (http://ela.vftraining.com/workshops-rapid/
rapid/#)
• Moodle, an open source and free learning management system
(http://docs.moodle.org/en/About_Moodle and http://docs.moodle.org/en/Features )
If you do decide to use an LMS consider it in your instructional design and implementation plan.
Begin using it well before the session begins. Consider using it in your instructional design, manage
and track registration, provide information and preparation materials to participants, and for open
discussions. By using these tools you can create learning experiences that feel friendly and social, like
the classroom, but are even more productive and functional than the classroom ever dreamed of
becoming.
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S
ynchronous online events are powerful tools that give a company a competitive advantage. A
company using this technology leverages existing business processes and invents new processes
aimed at decreasing costs and increasing productivity. It’s about doing more with less.
You need a plan!
This may not be readily apparent to everyone in your organization. There is a need to show deci-
sion-makers how to take advantage of synchronous online events, and how to market them internal-
ly in order to realize the maximum benefit. Let’s examine the key components of an internal market-
ing plan.
Relate to the company objectives
What are the goals, vision, and direction of the company? This is an important first step in con-
necting synchronous online events to the company. Look at the company’s image. How does it want
to be seen? What is it trying to accomplish? Talk to the senior managers about the company’s strate-
gic business objectives for this year, next year, and the next three to five years. It’s important to know
the company’s direction and how it expects to get there.
Once you understand the objectives you must be able to express them in
clear, precise statements. Such statements might be:
• Aggressive growth
• Market leader
• Low cost provider
If a company’s objective is aggressive growth and customer service targets
are critical to that growth, synchronous online events to improve growth and
customer service support that objective.
For example, the ability to have subject matter experts teach remote cus-
tomer service providers more effective communication skills, without requir-
ing SME travel and time away from the office, is a feature of synchronous
online event capability. If the customer service providers are able to commu-
nicate better with their customers, those customers will better understand
the value of the company’s products and buy more. This is the benefit mes-
sage that needs to be the focus of using synchronous online events.
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 100
Marketing Internal
Synchronous
Online Events
By Ron Miazga
C H A P T E R 8
In Chapter 8 you will find information about:
• Relating synchronous online events and
e-Learning to organizational goals
• Explaining what synchronous online events are,
and making them easy to use
• Branding your synchronous e-Learning events,
and promoting the brand
• Getting and keeping support for your
synchronous e-Learning events
• Making synchronous online events a routine
business process
• Sharing your successes
• Looking for impact opportunities for synchronous
online events and e-Learning
Contents
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Now you can link the results of synchronous online events to the business objective of aggressive
growth. There is an advantage in translating the value that results to the objectives of the company.
It’s an important point in your marketing for the company to see how your events support the com-
pany objectives.
When you highlight the value of synchronous online events, the outcome that you achieve is busi-
ness results that support the business objectives. Because you are able to conduct a collaborative
meeting across the country, and time away from the office and travel are unnecessary, you have pro-
vided a more efficient business process. You eliminate travel expenses, and therefore productivity
increases. Both contribute to the company goal of being a low-cost provider.
Therefore, by increasing the skills and knowledge of the employees, and facilitating collaboration
effectively across distance barriers, synchro-
nous online events have demonstrated their
effectiveness in achieving company objec-
tives. Tie these synchronous online event
experiences to the business needs of the
company.
Make it easy to do
Don’t assume that everyone in the compa-
ny knows how synchronous online events
work, and how they can change business
processes. To many, this is new technology
offering a new way of doing things. It’s about
change — a change in how you learn and
communicate. One key in coping with change
is to make it easy to move from the old to
the new.
One way to help the transition is to create
a “What and Why” promotional print piece
to explain the tool and its value. Figure 8-1 is
an example of a promotional print piece that
we used in my company.
This example concisely explains the tool
— what it is, why you would use it, what it
can do, when you would use it, and how to
get started. The emphasis is on the benefits
of the tool and not the technology itself. What is important is what it can do, not how it does it.
In order to minimize the impact of change, and the new technology, on the time and workload of
the managers and decision-makers, consider creating a new position called the “event Producer” to
assist people in using the tool, as Karen has suggested in the previous chapters. This will keep the
focus on the benefits and not the tool.
An event Producer would typically:
• Assist in building the event so it works well online
• Establish the event online with appropriate connections (both graphic and audio)
• Rehearse the event with presenters and familiarize them with the controls
• Meet and greet the participants to the event
Figure 8-1
A What & Why piece
helps managers and deci-
sionmakers understand
the value of synchronous
online events.
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• Handle the technology during the event so the presenter(s) can concentrate on the content of the event
• Track event participation
The event Producer makes it easy for everyone to use synchronous online events regardless of
their technology abilities, and adds further value to the company and support for its business objec-
tives.
Promote it
You need to position the technology so people readily identify what it is and how it is of value to
them. How do you want it perceived? Branding is an important first step in promoting.
For example, we created a logo for an event with the tag line “real-time connection.” Figure 8-2
shows the branding.
We wanted to position the tool as connecting people; connecting so they could learn from each
other. When people want to connect for
training, education, or collaboration they
would think of LearnNET. This makes it easy
for people to use LearnNET, and they know
what to expect. We use this branding on
our Intranet, program registration system,
e-Newsletter, and all correspondence relating
to synchronous online events. We don’t say,
“synchronous online event,” we simply say
“LearnNET,” and everyone in the company
knows exactly what we mean.
To carry the message to the organization we
also created a monthly e-Newsletter that goes
to everyone in the organization. Figure 8-3 on
page 105 is an example of a typical edition.
The e-Newsletter features short articles about events in the coming month, participation pro-
grams, comments from recent participants, links to scheduled learning events, a question of the
month, and a spotlight on a subject matter expert among other things. The question of the month is
generally a non-business question to engage readers in a fun experience. The e-Newsletter pushes the
brand identity to the employees on a regular basis.
At the end of each year the company also runs a special edition of the e-Newsletter that thanks all
the presenters who have participated during the year, shares comments from event participants, and
illustrates the value of synchronous online events to the company. Figure 8-4 on page 106 illustrates
one of the special editions.
We also change the design and look of the e-Newsletter on an annual basis so that the message is
fresh and interesting. This keeps the brand updated.
Keep everyone on board
In order to spread the word on the value of synchronous online events it is helpful to create an
executive presentation for senior managers so that they understand the power of the tool. The pres-
entation should be succinct and stress the effectiveness of the tool. It should not address the technol-
ogy, but rather the benefits and how they relate to the company’s strategic objectives. The presenta-
tion talks about the benefits of the tool to:
• Shorten sales cycles
Figure 8-2
Branding (“real-time con-
nection”) is an important
step in promoting an
event.
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• Send consistent messages
• Increase productivity
• Expand communication
• Reach dispersed audiences
• Eliminate barriers of time and distance
• Increase impact and retention of information
Synchronous online events impact the way a company does
business, and contribute to its business success.
To gain widespread acceptance of your synchronous events,
launch several participation programs. Have an annual program
as well as seasonal programs. Figure 8-5 on page 107 shows a
flyer about an annual participation program that used our
branded synchronous online events tool, LearnNET.
The program should have a theme — for example, “Be a
LearnNET Rockstar!” — that grabs the audience and encourages
active participation. On this promotion the participants have to
attend five events and then e-mail the evidence of this so that
they can enter the grand prize drawing at the end of the year.
After the participants confirm their attendance in five events they
receive a Rockstar! key chain to reward their participation. This
promotion has run for several years with a yearly theme change,
and has proven to be very popular. The participation program is
another way of keeping the branded product in front of the tar-
get audience.
Weave it into the fabric of the company
Marketing synchronous online events effectively requires that people see it from different perspec-
tives. When viewed as a collaboration tool, a learning tool, and a communication tool it becomes
part of the company’s business operating processes. It becomes a part of an innovative, more effec-
tive way to do business.
Imagine that a company has a new product introduction at ten different locations across the
country. Traditionally, they would bring everyone together at one location. They need to convey cur-
rent market conditions, opportunities, strengths, competition, and target markets. They’ll need to
show PowerPoint slides, an Excel spreadsheet, product information on an Internet site, look at a
competitor’s Web site, and get feedback on their marketing plans. The objective is to share informa-
tion and gain agreement.
They would start with an agenda slide and a quick overview of the current situation. Then they
would pass out a spreadsheet that details significant opportunities for key customers and prospects.
They would then rank the opportunities from best to worst, and connect to their Internet site to
review the product information that they provide to the market. While on the Internet, they would
also view their competitors’ sites to look at their offerings. Lastly they would pass out a draft of their
marketing plan, seek input and adjustments, and finally work out a go-forward action plan.
New product introduction is a perfect subject for synchronous online events. To begin, everyone
joins in a virtual meeting place. As they enter the meeting place, a cycling slide show designed to
grab their attention greets them while everyone joins the room and settles in for business. The meet-
ing begins with a polling slide that asks people to predict the final score for this weekend’s game.
Figure 8-3
An e-Newsletter gets
the word out about your
synchronous e-Learning
events.
That aside, it’s time for the agenda and a look at the current marketplace.
Using an “application share” function they view a spreadsheet that details significant opportunities
for key customers and prospects. Using filters and other sorting methods, they rearrange data look-
ing for group consensus for their best opportunities. They rank their opportunities real-time on the
spreadsheet, rearranging earlier entries. Several participants who have particularly strong feelings are
given control of the spreadsheet in order to make changes on the facilitator’s PC. After saving the
spreadsheet, it is made available to all.
Now it’s time to review product information on their
Internet site using a combination of “application share” for a
real-time tour, “snap shot” for select highlights that enable the
facilitator to annotate on the screen, and “Web tour” that
enables everyone in the meeting to explore the Web site on
their own. They follow a similar process to look at their signifi-
cant competitors.
Once again using the “application share” feature, they view
the marketing plan document. While looking at it together,
people make suggestions, generate new ideas, and build a mar-
keting plan that is acceptable to all.
The final step in the meeting is to build an action plan to
achieve their marketing strategy. They use a blank document
with room to capture the “who,”“what,” and “when” of the
action items. They fill it in and agree on each activity in their
plan.
It’s better than in-person because they can share in its cre-
ation and agree to its accuracy as they view the evolving docu-
ment. And best of all, no time away from customers and loved
ones getting to or coming from the meeting. No time wasted,
and many dollars saved because they eliminated the travel ex-
penses of transportation and hotels. When you compare syn-
chronous online events to the traditional in-person meeting,
they have accomplished more with less. They have a high qual-
ity meeting while eliminating expenses and saving time.
In the illustration above, the meeting combined collabora-
tion, learning, and communication in one event. By orchestrating an event such as this you show the
value of synchronous online events to the company. It is no longer an adjunct event, but part of a
more effective way to do business.
Share successes
It’s important to reinforce to senior managers the impact of synchronous online events. A good
way to do this is to document stories illustrating how synchronous online events support the compa-
ny objectives. Here is one example.
The VP of Marketing in one division has a problem. His product supplier wants to train his sales
team on one of their products. Both the marketing VP and the product supplier want to do this as
quickly as possible. The VP’s team of 20 salespeople are scattered across the country. There is a three-
person product team that needs to train the sales team.
The traditional approach would be to conduct three in-person meetings at three locations around
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Figure 8-4
It’s important to say
“Thanks” and promote
the success and value of
synchronous e-Learning.
the country. The salespeople would split up and have to travel to one of the locations, with the VP
and the product team as well, attending each meeting. The traditional approach is expensive with
respect to travel and time away from customers.
How can the two companies get together to complete the training, do it quickly, and minimize the
expenses? Synchronous online events is the answer. The product team plans a three-hour presenta-
tion that includes a PowerPoint show on the product, and a discussion on the market applications of
the product. They use all the tools that they would use in a traditional meeting.
Both the VP’s sales team and the product team come together for their meeting in a synchronous
online event. It is a success. The three-hour meeting accomplish-
es its objectives. There is one meeting rather than three, no travel,
and with minimum time away from their customers.
Outcome — if they had used the traditional approach, 24 peo-
ple would have traveled (the VP and the product team three
times) with each spending $1,000 per trip ($32,000). The time
away from customers would have been about 32 man-days for
everyone.
By sharing such a story with the senior management team,
they would show how this approach supported the company
objectives. They would view synchronous online events as an
effective, efficient, cost-saving communication tool.
Here is another story that illustrates how it is a collaboration
tool.
“I have to go to Houston (from Seattle) to create a quarterly
report with my vendor business partner. Houston for one day?
There has to be a better way!” The product manager wants help.
This is another opportunity to show the power of the tool. In
order to maximize the benefit you need to understand their
objectives and determine the final work product.
They needed to create a PowerPoint presentation that would
be ready to present on next Monday (today was Wednesday). You
could say, “Let’s use a synchronous online event for the meeting.
Get the vendor on the phone at 7 a.m. tomorrow and I’ll show
you how to leverage the power of this tool, how to change the way you work together, and, by the
way, how to save time and money. Cancel the trip.”
At 7 a.m. Thursday morning, they connect through a synchronous online event, each in their own
offices — no travel, no time away from the office, no hassles of getting together.
First, they understand the options that are available in this collaborative meeting space. They catch
on quickly. They use a “share tool” that enables the product manager to show a draft PowerPoint to
the vendor in real-time. Then she gives control to him. He works on the presentation on the product
manager’s PC. They use a whiteboard tool, which allows them to write together on a blank screen to
brainstorm ideas. They connect in a collaborative meeting, thus changing the way they do business.
Three hours later, they both say “Wow! That was easy. We didn’t have to travel, ($1,000 for air,
hotel expenses), take time away from the office (two days), and eliminated the hassles of getting there
(airport time). We were more productive than in an in-person meeting.”
Look for stories that show the value of the tool and share them.
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Figure 8-5
Participation programs
help achieve wide accept-
ance of synchronous
e-Learning among em-
ployees.
Look for impact opportunities
One way to gain attention in the company is to show the impact of bringing together groups of
two or more people using synchronous online events. You can make things happen faster, and at a
fraction of the cost of an in-person meeting or training event. Aim an initial approach at illustrating
significant cost savings and increased productivity.
Think of a situation where you can affect the bottom line of a financial measure such as an
income statement. A key component of an income statement is operating expenses, what it costs to
run the business. Measure the results of using synchronous online events in terms of immediate,
quantifiable costs.
Because you are able to eliminate travel expenses for a meeting, you can get an immediate finan-
cial win. Earlier I told a story where there was a $32,000 direct travel savings, and 32 man-days saved
to spend more time with customers. This is a financial win that should be shared with senior man-
agers. This will go a long way to strengthen the positioning of synchronous online events as a part of
the company’s business processes.
Look for these “impact” opportunities. Be inquisitive. Look for situations that involve travel and
time away from the office, and that are time sensitive. Productivity increases, and operating expense
decreases, are key business drivers. A good beginning point is to look for:
• Meetings with suppliers
• Product education training
• Sales meetings
• Cross-functional team meetings
• Brainstorming sessions
• Regular project management update meetings
Quantify the value of minimizing travel expenses, the hassles of travel, the time away from the
office and customers.
Start with opportunities that are easy to translate to synchronous online events, and show time
and operating expense savings. Let me share such an opportunity.
The organization forms a work team to develop a national quality improvement process. Three
members are at corporate headquarters and three other members are in different cities. Their charter
is to develop the procedures, create the forms, and develop an intranet site to serve as a repository
for forms and tracking. Also, they have a tight timeframe for development, and want to minimize the
expenses.
How can the group share documents, gain agreement on key activities, and minimize the invest-
ment of time and money? Using a synchronous online event is the answer. During the early stages of
the project the group would meet in an online meeting place were they would share forms and pro-
cedures. They would mark up the documents and make corrections real-time, with no travel and no
time away from the office.
Now comes time for a draft review of the intranet site with the work team and a representative
from each of five regions around the country. For the draft review the development team wants
comments from the regional representatives on key decision points. Using a synchronous online
event, the meeting development team and the regional representatives share the presentation while
making comments on the draft document for all to study and to gain agreement. Mission accom-
plished once again, with no travel, no time away from the office, and no airport time.
Speed of agreement on the first draft would be half the normal time. If all the participants would
have met at corporate headquarters, that’s eight people for a day at $1000 each for air, hotel, and other
expenses. The investment would have been $8,000 plus one or more days of valuable time wasted.
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The results are measurable, and it was easy to satisfy the team’s needs using synchronous online
events.
Summary
Although synchronous online events are powerful tools that give an organization a competitive
advantage, the “how” is not always readily apparent. A critical beginning point is to focus on the ben-
efits of the tool and not the technology. A company wants to know how using the tool can help them
achieve their strategic objectives. You need to show the connection.
You also need to make it easy to use and promote it throughout the organization. This means
weaving it into the fabric of the organization by showing how it can be a learning, communication,
and collaboration tool. A good way to do this is to tell stories. Share among key executives the impact
of eliminating travel and time barriers. Concentrate on business results and financial impact.
Here is a simple checklist to make sure you have all components in place:
• Relate to the company objectives — Understand, connect, and map the results to them.
• Make it easy to do — Explain the “what and why,” minimize the technology, and utilize an event
Producer.
• Promote it — Brand it, develop an e-Newsletter, create an executive presentation, and create par-
ticipation programs.
• Weave it into the fabric of the company — Establish it as a collaboration, learning, and commu-
nication tool.
• Share successes — Tell stories, explain the financial impact, and show value to senior manage-
ment.
• Look for impact opportunities — Show the effects of eliminating travel and time barriers, search
for critical needs, and select straightforward opportunities.
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EXECUTI VE SUMMARI ES | APPENDI X A
I’ve asked several expert users of Web conferencing software to review four of the leading (in
terms of market share) products, based on their experience as online facilitators. Each of these sum-
maries addresses the same features and factors, and information is current as of December, 2006. You
will want to review each product’s Web site and possibly download the trial version before making
decisions, both in case features have changed since the reviewers created these summaries, and also
to make your own observations about the product’s suitability for your use.
Executive Summary: Centra
Interface design and ease of use (Learning curve for Hosts and Moderators)
• Learning curve for administrators is steep relative to other tools — scheduling and creating a ses-
sion are not intuitive. If you’ve never used another tool you won’t find it too hard, but if you
have, you’ll be disappointed.
• The actual user interface is clean and simple. Improvements to version 7.5 have enhanced the
intuitiveness of icons for both learners and presenters.
• There is no native integration with PowerPoint or other productivity tools. Presentations have to
be converted to GIF, JPG, or HTML files before being uploaded to a session, although, on the
plus side, Centra does build in the ability to convert them.
• Participant interface includes a list of the agenda items, which is largely nonfunctional and takes
up some valuable real estate.
• Session content can be created and stored well in advance — in fact, it’s much easier if you do.
Content loading and persistence
• Content can be loaded into Agenda Builder in advance and accessed during the sessions.
Connectivity
• You must save agenda items over 50K to the client side, and then users can download them when
entering the session. This happens relatively quickly, and does permit more control and versatili-
ty in the actual event.
• Back-end architecture is bandwidth friendly. However, it does not do well when recovering a user
who experiences a connection issue.
• A nice surprise is that the session doesn’t close out if the leader becomes disconnected — a real
problem with some other tools.
• On-demand sessions can become corrupt, and the application is not able to detect this.
The eLearning Guild’s Guide to Synchronous e-Learning 108
Executive Summaries
By Karen Hyder
A P P E N D I X A
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 109
EXECUTI VE SUMMARI ES | APPENDI X A
System requirements
As listed in http://www.centra.com/download/products/VirtualClasses.pdf (Virtual Classes docu-
ment), minimum system requirements are:
• Windows 98, 2000 (SP1), XP
• Internet Explorer 5.x, 6.x
• Netscape 4.5x, 4.7x, 7.x
• CPU: Pentium, 350 MHz
• Memory: 128 MB
• Disk: 40 MB free space
• Network: 28.8 kbps
• Monitor: 16-bit colors (high colors).
Administration, ease of deployment, scaling, LMS integration
• Centra provides seamless integration with Saba LMS.
• Centra scales easily to large audiences, with no noticeable degradation in performance.
• There are support issues — getting clear answers from Saba is not easy, and in some instances,
their documentation has been incorrect.
• Centra scales up to very large deployments through satellite servers and domain architecture.
• Centra’s reporting functionality is decent, but does not natively permit reports across events,
time periods, etc.
Recording sessions
• Recording and publishing sessions for on-demand playback is quite easy. Enhancements to the
editing features in 7.5 make this an even more attractive feature.
Participant response methods
• Available emoticons are laughter, applause, Yes and No, and a raised hand.
• Text Chat works similarly to other applications.
• There is a feedback indicator for the presenter.
Audio — VoIP/Telephony
• Excellent engineering of quality VoIP at low bandwidths. This is really one of Centra’s hallmarks.
• The instructor must grant participants microphone privileges to speak — this can slow down
interactivity.
• Centra 7.5 has much improved audio codecs.
• You can combine Telephony and VoIP in the same call, but it comes at a hefty cost. Centra has a
unique charge for their telephony gateway when not using ASP. Some competitors have this
functionality out-of-the-box.
Polls and testing
• The polling feature in 7.5 is improved, but still doesn’t allow selection of multiple responses, or
modifying the text font or size.
• Evaluation tools are there, but are not robust or full-featured (e.g. does not permit drag-and-drop,
and does not permit individualized “Incorrect” feedback according to the response selected).
• Some users have noted inconsistent performance in tracking users — which could be a serious
issue for users concerned about compliance.
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Chat (Text-based instant messaging)
• Again, much improved in 7.5. Session leaders now have options for graying out read questions,
time stamping, direct response to sender, and an option to alert participants (automatically pops
up a presenter/host message when sent to participants).
• The floating text Chat window can be cumbersome and blocks the interface.
Q&A (Presenter-managed Chat)
• Centra combines Chat and Q&A into a single feature. If a question is sent privately to the pre-
senter, there is no option to then make that question public or push out the answer to all partici-
pants.
• There are options to enable or disable both public Chat and Chat between participants.
Emoticons
• As noted above, emoticons are very basic — laughter, applause, Yes and No. There is also an
option to indicate that a user has “stepped out.” Would be nice to see more options, particularly
an “I don’t understand” option.
Whiteboard
• Overall, the whiteboard options are quite good. In 7.5, the whiteboard is object-oriented — a
nice feature.
• Some tools are identified by user, others are anonymous.
• Annotations aren’t automatically saved from slide to slide; however, you do have the option to
save them as a snapshot which appears at the end of your agenda.
• Markup tools for participants are associated with microphone rights, which is unfortunate —
sometimes you want to give markup privileges without microphone privileges.
Application sharing
• Works effectively, with options to adjust frame rate and color depth.
• Markup tools for application sharing are limited and hard to use — but, given that some tools
don’t have this feature at all, I’d rate this a plus.
• Centra does not generally preserve slide transitions and animations unless the file is brought in
as HTML.
Hosting, licensing, pricing
• You can host Centra either internally or externally.
• Centra is expensive relative to other tools.
• Users hosting Centra internally have reported support issues. Centra support staff seem to have
little experience with large multinational firms and the related network complexity. Support is
much better with smaller networks.
Nice surprises
• There are breakout rooms to divide participants into smaller groups (not recorded for playback).
• Breakout rooms are simple to use. Participants can be randomly assigned or sent to a specific
group.
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• Centra permits importing a broad range of file types with associated files (e.g. a local HTML file
with an embedded SWF movie).
• You can switch between normal and full screen view easily.
• Centra user training program is very effective. An annual summit supports community develop-
ment.
Annoying aspects
• Floating text Chat window is annoying — should be dockable or tabbed.
• Slides are fixed size, do not rescale with window size.
• There is no resources area to permit participants to download documents during the session; no
Export as PDF ability.
• Doesn’t support Macintosh.
Executive Summary: Elluminate 7
Interface design and ease of use (Learning curve for Hosts and Moderators)
• Elluminate 7 has a clean, highly functional interface and some nice improvements from version 6.
• Elluminate’s moderator and participant tools are easy to understand and to access. All the most
frequently used functions display on toolbars or other areas of the screen. Participant manage-
ment settings and privileges are very customizable. For instance, a moderator can remotely adjust
the audio levels of anyone using the Talk button.
• The default screen layout displays a large workspace to the right, for slides and applications. The
communication tools, direct messaging, audio, and participant list, display to the left. You can
change this layout to other preset configurations to control display and size of tools.
• You can navigate slides with a click, a drop down list, or a keystroke.
• Display areas automatically scale as users resize the window.
• Shortcut or Hot keys are customizable.
Content loading and persistence
• Persistent file and session setup.
• You can upload files into the administration environment ahead of time, and you can select files
from the list once logged into the session room.
Connectivity
• Participants can have a username and password, or simply log in with a URL link.
• Elluminate manages each participant’s connection very well. When users identify their Internet
connection speed (28.8 kbps and up), Elluminate can feed data to them at an appropriate rate.
• If participants are disconnected during the session, they will automatically be reconnected. The
connection progress display is cool looking, and provides comfort to the impatient.
• In general, connectivity is excellent.
System requirements
Elluminate runs on Windows (for administrators and presenters), and supports participants on
Mac and Solaris.
Requirements for PC:
• Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
• Pentium III 500 MHz processor
• 128 MB of RAM
• 20 MB free disk space on your hard drive
• Sound card with speakers and microphone or headset
• 28.8 kbps Internet connection.
Requirements for Mac:
• Mac OS 9.1 and 9.2; Mac OS X 10.1, 10.2, and 10.3
• G3 233 MHz processor
• 64 MB for OS 9.1 or 9.2 and 128 MB for OS X
• 20 MB free disk space on your hard drive
• 28.8 kbps Internet connection.
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Administration, ease of deployment, scaling, LMS integration
• All users need to download and install a Java applet. The process can take several minutes.
• Users behind firewalls must have additional network ports opened. Be sure to talk to IT staff
early to make the change.
• ASP clients can use the Elluminate Live! Session Administration System (SAS) to create sessions,
create or upload participant log in IDs and passwords, invite participants, and generate reports.
They can also control access to recordings. Server-based administrators use Elluminate Live
Manager to set up sessions and users.
• Elluminate integrates with Learning Management Systems.
Recording sessions
• Sessions can easily be recorded by controls at the bottom of the screen. The recorder can be
paused anytime. When restarted, new action gets appended to the original file. Recordings can-
not be edited.
Participant response methods
Elluminate offers a number of ways in which participants can respond.
Audio — VoIP/ Telephony Polls and testing
• VoIP audio is excellent. Even when participants experience a momentary loss of connection, it
records the audio which is then speeded up and played when they rejoin. The presenter’s voice
sounds a little funny, but the feature works very well.
Polls and testing
• Polls are unusual because question and answer text is displayed on a PowerPoint slide and partic-
ipants are asked to respond by clicking on buttons on the toolbar. Buttons can be changed to dis-
play the needed number of responses from two responses (Yes and No), up to five responses (A
through E). Participant responses are shown next to their names and presenters can display a
chart with aggregate data.
• Use the Quiz Manager to create test questions with multiple choice and short answers. Quizzes
can be presented to participants at any point during the session. All results are saved to an XML
format.
Chat (Text-based instant messaging)
• You can send direct messaging text to the whole group, or privately to individuals. Font size can
now be made larger and smaller.
Q&A (Presenter-managed Chat)
• Not available.
Emoticons
• To get low-level feedback from participants in response to questions like, “Are you able to hear
me,”“Do you see the slide?,”“Are you ready to move to break out rooms?,” presenters can ask
participants to click on the emoticons found in the participant information window. Emoticons
include Happy, Clap, Confused, or Disapprove. When a participant clicks on the emoticon but-
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ton, others see that emoticon displayed next to the person’s name in the participant information
window for a few seconds.
• A participant can show he has stepped away, but has not logged out by clicking the blue door
button. The participant’s name in the participant information window changes to grey and is
italicized; the word “Away” is displayed next to it.
• When participants click the hand raise button, a “ding” sound is produced. A blue bar flashes to
indicate to the presenter that a hand is raised. A number that corresponds to the participant’s
place in the queue appears next to the name. The hand raise indicator displays until the partici-
pant turns it off. The moderator can also toggle the hand raise button off if a participant does
not remember to do so.
Whiteboard
• Elluminate’s whiteboard is easy to use. Presenters can use pointers to emphasize key text or label
parts of a graphic. All participants can use whiteboard annotation tools at the same time adding
free-form text and graphics using a pen or highlighter or text tools, pointer, and drawing shapes
tools and a selection tool. They can also open clip art, paste text and images, select and move
drawn objects and align items on the screen.
• The whiteboard is object oriented. Objects typed, drawn, or inserted on screen can be selected,
moved, deleted, or formatted.
Application sharing
• When sharing an application, a moderator can use one of several settings, Share Application,
Share Desktop, or Share Region. These options scale to fit, can be turned on, and will affect the
display of each shared window.
Hosting, licensing, pricing
• Licensing is available as server-based or hosted versions.
Pricing is per concurrent user.
• Elluminate (SAS) can host software, or organizations can
internally host Elluminate Live Manager (ELM)
• The table at left indicates the licensing arrangements. An
annual fee applies if you host Elluminate on your own
server (self-hosted), or if you choose to be hosted on
Elluminate’s servers (hosted). If you purchase the soft-
ware outright, you pay the Perpetual fee indicated, plus
an 18% maintenance fee from Year 2 onward.
Other features
Participant list — display of log in names
• Moderators and participants can see who’s logged in by viewing the log in names in the partici-
pant list. You can also display a participant profile for each person, including location and photo
(or avatars).
• Moderators can easily control participant privileges by using the controls in the participant list.
• Moderators can observe participant mood indicators, raised hands, and latency in data flow by
viewing special indicators in the participant list. Elluminate calls this Elluminate Sensory
Perception (ESP).
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Pricing for different licensing arrangements
# seats Server (self-hosted) ASP (hosted) Server
$16,500
$27,700
$37,850
25
50
75
$18,600
$31,480
$43,153
$37,800
$67,200
$93,660
Annual Perpetual
Elluminate
Multimedia — share movies
• Moderators can share Shockwave Flash (SWF), MPEG or MPG, or QuickTime (MOV) files.
Multimedia playback requires users to have configured the appropriate software, i.e., Shockwave
Flash, Windows Media Player, or QuickTime.
Webcam — share personal video cameras
• Users can share a live image of themselves during the session. The quality of the image can be
reduced if bandwidth limitations restrict full motion and full color.
Nice surprises
• The Audio window displays a visual representation of audio volume. All participants can adjust
their own level right on screen. Moderators can remotely adjust the audio levels of anyone using
the Talk button.
• Individuals and groups can be pulled into a private meeting area so that moderators can trou-
bleshoot technical issues away from the main session.
• Elluminate caches multimedia files locally (stored temporarily on user’s machine) as participants
join. When the Moderator plays the file, a local version is shown thereby eliminating delays in
playback.
Annoying aspects
• Because Elluminate’s file conversion creates a static whiteboard file, PowerPoint animations and
builds don’t work.
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Executive Summary: WebEx
Interface design and ease of use (Learning curve for Hosts and Moderators)
• Webex’s interface design and ease of use is relatively good. Toolbars give easy access to sharing
and annotating, and Power Panels containing Chat, Video, Polls, and participants’ names and
feedback indicators.
• Meeting and participant options in the setup screens require research. You must turn the annota-
tion and print options on if you want participants to use them.
• The environment is clean and you can collapse Panels. Alerts pop up so important messages and
questions don’t go unnoticed.
• When in Full Screen mode, Panel buttons allow users to reopen and use Chat.
• You can control participant privileges all at once.
Content loading and persistence
• Load any PowerPoint file directly into the session room. It will be converted to UCF format.
• Files and polls that are loading into a session room persist until they, or the session, are deleted.
• Content can be loaded onto separate tabs so presenters can easily change from showing one file
to showing a different file. When the session ends, content is automatically removed.
Connectivity
• Connections to WebEx sessions are pretty solid. Mind your pace when application sharing be-
cause not all participants are likely to receive the image at once. Their “last mile” or their local
connection to the Internet will affect the speed. Participants also notice latency if everyone is
using the whiteboard at the same time.
• WebEx recovers lost connections quickly. Participants should be reminded to leave open the
Bridge window that states “Do not close this window.”
• VoIP audio can be choppy on bandwidth-intensive actions.
System requirements
• Please visit the WebEx site for specific system requirements (http://support.webex.com/support/
system-requirements.html).
• Recent versions of Training Center can support Mac, Solaris, and Linux users, with somewhat
limited functionality.
Administration, ease of deployment, scaling, and LMS integration
• Internal registration system can generate invitations, require or not require that participants reg-
ister and use a password to join the session. There is good functionality for managing sessions
built in.
• WebEx performs well when supporting large groups (up to 500) and integrates well with
Learning Management systems such as Plateau and Sum Total if users have other learning mate-
rials in addition to live sessions. Presenters can create and organize sessions, track participants,
set completion standards. Users can access lessons and materials as needed.
• Learning Manager by GeoLearning, an on-demand integrated LMS, will be available in early 2007.
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Recording sessions
• You can record sessions with audio from a conference call or VoIP by using the WebEx Recording
and Playback software. This creates files in a proprietary format with the extension WRF (WebEx
Recording Format).
• Use the WebEx Recording Editor software to edit recordings.
• When users access recordings posted on a Web site, the required player software is automatically
downloaded.
Participant response methods
Audio — VoIP / Telephony
• Callers can opt to join by phone or full duplex VoIP. Bandwidth can impact the clarity of the
VoIP audio.
• Attendees who join by phone display a phone icon in the attendee panel, while attendees on
Internet phone show a microphone icon.
Polls and testing
• Create polls in advance either inside a WebEx session room or by using Poll Questionnaire
Editor, a standalone software tool that saves you from needing to log in just to create polls. Polls
are saved as ATP files and uploaded into the session later.
• Poll question types can be set to allow participants to choose from multiple answers or to type in
their own answers. Set Multiple choice, Multiple answer to allow participants to select several
answers from the list.
• Individual responses can be viewed and saved.
• Tests can be created from scratch, adapted from another test, or converted from a poll. Instruc-
tions can be added to the test and several question types are available including Fill in the Blanks,
True/False, Multiple Choice, and Essay (up to 5000 words).
• Tests can be sent via e-mail or participants can access a Web site with links to available tests
before, during or after a session. Invitations and scores can be sent automatically.
• In order to connect testing, sessions must be set up with the “Require attendee registration”
option turned on.
Chat (Text-based instant messaging)
• Standard text Chat works similarly to other applications. Participants are able to Chat privately
with each other and to everyone.
• There are options to enable or disable public Chat, and to allow Chat between participants.
Q&A (Presenter-managed Chat)
• Q&A is a separate panel from Chat with similar characteristics. Participants can type messages to
the presenters, but the messages are not seen by everyone. The presenter can choose how to reply,
publicly or privately.
Emoticons
• WebEx provides Feedback toolbars so participants can send visual feedback to presenters during
the session. The toolbar buttons include Hand Raise, Yes, No, Faster, Slower, and a selection of
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graphical icons to convey that the participant is smiling, confused, or needs a break.
• Participants’ selected icons display next to their names and can be cleared by the presenters when
responses are no longer needed.
Whiteboard
• The whiteboard has useful tools and items can be deleted, but cannot be selected and moved to
another location.
• Participants’ annotation toolbar is not turned on by default. It must be turned on in order to use it.
• Each user has a default annotation color. Sometimes the selected color is too faint and needs to
be changed.
• Participants can use a personalized pointer to identify their own text or flag an area of the screen
for attention. Each person’s log in name displays when they use the arrow pointer.
• Annotations can be saved.
Application sharing
• Application sharing works well and has simple tools.
• WebEx has a feature that doesn’t let the presenter accidentally share the WebEx interface window,
instead of the demonstration software.
• Annotation tools can be used during application sharing.
Hosting, licensing, pricing
• WebEx hosted services provide access and tools to all presenters and attendees with no additional
IT support or resources. Organizations can secure and control sessions and content using on-
premise EMX service by hosting the tools on an internal network.
• Pricing for (hosted) Training Center ranges depending on number of users and actual usage and
can be $150-$225 per seat per month. This does not include conference call or VoIP costs.
• Initial one-time-only set up customization and fees can range from $700 to $4,000.
• Pay-per-minute use is available at $0.33 per minute per user, plus audio.
Nice surprises
• Break out sessions allow users to connect with each other and easily use the interface tools on
their own. Participants can pop back to ask for help if needed.
• Participants can be given permission to simply save or print the loaded PowerPoint files.
• Supports a large variety of files including many audio and video types, WebEx Recording files
(WRF), and Flash movies (SWF). Uses Universal Communications Format (UCF) technology
to transfer media files to users more efficiently. Appropriate media players are needed on each
participant’s Windows computer.
• Animations that were set up in PowerPoint do animate when slides are displayed.
• How Do I tutorials are very useful when learning the software tools. These are online at
http://support.webex.com/support/howdoi.html#anc_hdi10.
Annoying aspects
• Opening and using polls is awkward.
• Panels don’t reset back to the original layout automatically. For instance, you must perform a
Clear All when you’ve finished showing a poll in order to close the attendees’ Polling Panel. If the
Polling Panel stays open, it can be distracting. Alternately, you can tell the participants to use the
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panel’s menu to reset to default when necessary.
• If the presenter moves the mouse to the far right side of the shared window, the learner’s screen
will display only the right and not the left part of the screen. Ask participants to avoid this by set-
ting the Sharing View option to AutoFit.
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Executive Summary: Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional
Interface design and ease of use (Learning curve for Hosts and Moderators)
• The learning curve for Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional is moderate to steep. This tool
requires a different perspective than some other Synchronous online tools.
• There is so much flexibility with pods, layout options, and settings that it can take time for pre-
senters and Producers to become comfortable using the interface and tools.
• Experience with Flash and Captivate is a plus for presenters, designers, administrators, and
Producers.
• The application can be extended using Acrobat Connect Collaboration Builder SDK to create
interactive activities and instructional tools including games, simulations, and quizzes.
Content loading and persistence
• It’s easy to load PowerPoint slides, and any Shockwave files (SWF). You can convert Word docu-
ments with Flashpaper (http://www.adobe.com/products/flashpaper/) and load them as a SWF.
• Flash files (SWF) can be loaded and displayed during sessions. If SWFs include e-Learning or
feedback interactions, participants can use onscreen buttons and functions to click through
activities independently of each other.
• If animations are set in PowerPoint, for example, bulleted items set to build one line at a time,
the animations will work in Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional. On-slide Hypertext links are
“clickable,” so it’s easy for participants themselves to go to them.
• Even when the room is closed, Chat text, loaded content, and poll data persist. Come back any
time, and it will still be there.
Connectivity
• Any user with a Flash software-enabled Web browser can join an online Acrobat Connect session
without having to download extra software. The claim is that Flash Player is installed on 97 per-
cent of Internet accessible computers, so everyone already has the required plug-in. Confirm that
your participants aren’t in the remaining 3%.
• Presenters need to download an additional Acrobat Connect add-in to have access to audio con-
trols, uploading, or sharing tools. There is now a button in Audio Wizard to initiate the down-
load of the add-in.
System requirements
• Presenters must use Windows or Mac. Participants can use Windows, Linux, and Solaris
machines.
• See http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobatconnectpro/productinfo/systemreqs/
Administration, ease of deployment, scaling, LMS integration
• Users with administrative privileges can use their individual names, which they can type in to
create usernames and passwords, or groups of names, properly formatted, can be uploaded into
the Users and Groups portion of the Adobe Connect Enterprise Manager. Users can be assigned
to groups and given access to just their associated sessions.
• A number of different kinds of data are collected on each session. Reports are generated to docu-
ment who has joined the sessions, individual responses to poll questions, and the name of each
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file that has been loaded into the sessions.
• Files uploaded to the session room can be backed up to the server. Files loaded from Adobe
Presenter to the server can be opened into any session room using the Documents, Select from
Content Library command.
• You can set privileges for participants, hosts and presenters as part of the session settings. Hosts
and presenters can log in any time. Users are placed on hold until the hold is released.
• Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional integrates with AICC- or SCORM-compliant learning
management systems (LMS).
Recording sessions
• Recordings are easy for presenters to create. Recordings are captured in Flash format and can be
played back using a Flash Player. A URL is generated when a recording is created to direct users
to that recording.
• Transcripts are generated and show gross detail based on layouts used during the session, and
individual actions including new slides and participant Chat messages.
Participant response methods
Audio — VoIP/Telephony
• Multiple users can access VoIP audio and speak concurrently — although low bandwidth con-
nections can cause latency.
• Webcams can also be used. Camera images can be freeze-framed if resources are needed for
other activities.
• For teams using a Meeting license, attendees can be called on the phone to bring them into the
audio conference.
Polls and testing
• Poll text is entered into separate pods and can be set to Multiple choice or Multiple answer. In
order to show polls, presenters can open pods one at a time, or show several polls at once by
moving to a polls Layout.
Chat (Text-based instant messaging)
• This is the best Chat tool I’ve seen. Presenters can create and use as many Chat pods as are need-
ed, and the same Chat pod can be used over multiple Layouts. Chat pods can be moved and
sized, and displayed text can be sized to a larger or smaller font.
• Messages can be cleared by the presenters at any time.
• Presenters can use a Private Chat pod in an area of the screen not seen by participants.
• Participants can send and receive public and private messages.
• By clicking on a name in Chat, the addressee in the To: field changes to that name. This method
is much easier than having to scroll through a long list of names to address a new message.
Q & A (Presenter-managed Chat)
• If you prefer to “filter” incoming Chat messages, you can assign any Chat Pod Q & A-style con-
trol. Chat moderators respond to the group or just to the individual submitter.
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Emoticons
• “My Status” indicators (I have a question, Thumbs up, Thumbs down, Go faster, Go slower,
Speak Louder, Speak softer, and Stepped away) are integrated with the Attendee list. The names
of those who have selected a status option move to the top of the Attendee list so presenters
won’t miss responses. Unfortunately, the Chat addressee list, which is normally in alphabetical
order, reorganizes in order of status.
Whiteboard
• There is a variety of whiteboard tools to use: text, shapes, highlighter, line, undo, and redo.
• When multiple participants type on the whiteboard, data flow bogs down and VoIP audio can
become choppy.
• Be sure to use the whiteboard function rather than the whiteboard overlay function (which
allows annotation of a PowerPoint slide). When whiteboard privileges are given to participants,
they also have access to options like Stop Sharing which closes the active PowerPoint file.
Application sharing
• Access to Application sharing is right in the middle of the Share pod or Display area. Presenters
can choose to share an application, an individual window, or the entire desktop and everything
on it.
• When using Desktop Sharing; the Stop Sharing option is available in the lower right corner of
the screen in the Windows System tray. When you are Application Sharing, the Stop Sharing but-
ton is in the top right corner.
Hosting, licensing, pricing
• The software tools can be hosted by Adobe, or can be installed inside an organization and ad-
ministered by internal staff.
• Pricing models have been recently reworked with the rebranding of Macromedia Adobe Breeze
to Adobe Acrobat Connect and Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional.
• View this link for a table of pricing feature information: http://www.adobe.com/products/ acro-
batconnectpro/purchase/comparison.html#note03.
Other features
• Wired connections are best for consistency of data flow. Presenters should have a DSL/Cable con-
nection and minimum of 1 GHz CPU processor speed for application sharing.
Nice surprises
• Flexibility of pods and layouts allows presenters and Producers to organize complex content and
polls, and display each with a single click.
• Layouts that organize the content and polls become the section heading in the recording. It’s easy
for those who view the recording to navigate to the sections they are interested in.
• Poll pods can be open in a hidden, presenters only, area and can be dragged in as needed.
• Chat messages can be cleared at any time.
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Annoying aspects
• VoIP audio can be challenging to optimize. There are several factors and settings that impact the
audio. To increase volume inside Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional, you must right mouse
click to access the Settings option.
• Some tools are buried deep in the options and take a few clicks to get to.
• When the Presenter Only area is open, and pods are dragged around, the display area can resize
to a very small size. The redrawing can take several seconds. There is a lock option, but it restricts
certain desired actions as well as undesired actions.
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A P P E N D I X B
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Speaker Tracking Form
A P P E N D I X C
Online event: Session number:
Session Name:
Session URL:
Speaker Contact Information
Presenter:
Job Title:
Primary Phone: Company:
Phone During The Event: Contact (other than speaker):
Time Zone: Phone:
Email: Email:
Speaker Technical Set-up Prep Session date(s): Dates
File Name(s)/Type(s): Sent user id, pw and link
Handout Name: Initial meet
Presentation Name: Prep session
Additional Files: Dress rehearsal/ Finalize room
Web Link(s): Handouts in
Audio check
Machine Type: Event date and time
Connection Type/ Check:
Quality:
Audio Type/ Check:
Quality:
Setup Notes: Research: Host Prep Notes
Activity:
Activity:
Activity:
Activity:
Activity:
Activity:
Activity:
Activity:
Activity:
Poll Text:
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Speaker Observations: Use of Tools:
How did it go overall?: Chat:
Comfort with tools: Layout
Effective use of tools: Q & A:
Content: Application Sharing:
Credibility: Polls:
Timing: Whiteboard Tools:
Vocal quality, understandability: URL Push:
Pointer:
Should we use this speaker again? Use Of Graphics:
Clarity Of Slides:
Technical issues: Used Template:
Speaker Experience
Face-to-Face events:
Our online software tool experience:
Other synchronous programs:
Speaker Co-Operation/Availability
How available before event for rehearsals:
Handouts on time:
Handouts formatted correctly:
Time considerations:
Unavailable dates:
Recommendation:
Survey Results:
Max number logged on during session:
Number of respondents to survey:
1. The presenter was knowledgeable about the topic.
___ Strongly Agree ___ Agree ___ Disagree ___ Strongly Disagree
2. Presentation content matched session description.
___ Strongly Agree ___ Agree ___ Disagree ___ Strongly Disagree
3. I will be able to apply the information I learned in this session.
___ In the next 3 months ___ In the next 6 months
___ In the next 9 months ___ In the next 12 months ___ Never
4. The speaker effectively used these interactions:
___ Polls ___ Open-ended questions ___ Application sharing
___ Chat ___ Embedded PowerPoint slides
5. Materials were appropriate to the session.
___ Strongly Agree ___ Agree ___ Disagree ___ Strongly Disagree
6. I would attend another session by this speaker.
___ Strongly Agree ___ Agree ___ Disagree ___ Strongly Disagree
Comments:
Chat Text
The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 127
SPEAKER TRACKI NG FORM | APPENDI X C
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The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 128

Compilation copyright © 2007 by The eLearning Guild Published by The eLearning Guild 375 E Street, Suite 200 Santa Rosa, CA 95404 www.elearningguild.com Individual chapters are Copyright © 2007 by their respective authors. You may download, display, print and reproduce this material in unaltered form only (retaining this notice) for your personal, non-commercial use or use within your organization. All other rights are reserved. This is a FREE Digital eBook. No one is authorized to charge a fee for it or to use it to collect data. Attribution notice for information from this publication must be given, must credit the individual author in any citation, and should take the following form: The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning Readers should be aware that Internet Web sites offered as citations or sources for further information may have disappeared or been changed between the date this book was written and the date it is read. Other FREE Digital eBooks by The eLearning Guild include: 834 Tips for Successful Online Instruction 328 Tips on the SELECTION of an LMS or LCMS 339 Tips on the IMPLEMENTATION of an LMS or LCMS 311 Tips on the MANAGEMENT of an LMS or LCMS Publisher: David Holcombe Editorial Director: Heidi Fisk Editor: Bill Brandon Copy Editor: Charles Holcombe Design Director: Nancy Marland Wolinski The eLearning Guild™Advisory Board Ruth Clark, Lance Dublin, Conrad Gottfredson, Bill Horton, Bob Mosher, Eric Parks, Brenda Pfaus, Marc Rosenberg, Allison Rossett

The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning

i

Table of Contents
Introduction
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . viii

About the Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . x
Sponsored Content: WebEx Training Center Online Classroom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi

Chapter 1. Introduction to Synchronous e-Learning
What is synchronous e-Learning? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Synchronous e-Learning technology categories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
Teleconferencing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Audioconferencing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Videoconferencing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Webcasting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Gaming and simulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Web conferencing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 The roots of synchronous e-Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 The learning needs for synchronous e-Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 The business case for synchronous e-Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Integration points and challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Sponsored Content: Canon Case Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

Chapter 2. Getting Started
How I learned to love synchronous e-Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Some philosophy about synchronous e-Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
An uneven beginning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Instructors are context creators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Synchronous e-Learning application features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Licensing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Learning Management System considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Making the connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Familiar log-in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Slide or file display . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Whiteboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Tool access and sharing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Peer-to-peer Chat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Student-to-trainer Chat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning

ii

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I can’t do it. . . . . .37 Blended solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Adapt methods to the virtual classroom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Over-the-shoulder application sharing . . . .” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Integrated telephony and VoIP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Group Web surfing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Logistical media decision factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Polling . .35 Educational media decision factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Registration. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Multimedia content . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Record and play back the video and audio portion of the session . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Objections to online training . . . . . . . .28 Objection #8: “It’s easy for you. . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Individual interactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Chapter 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I do sales demos. . . . . . . . .36 Cognitive load . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . How to Design for the Virtual Classroom How you see it may depend on where you’ve been . . . . . . .22 Video integration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Visuals .26 Objection #3: “Learners don’t have the attention span required. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Social presence . . . . . . . . . . .” .24 What does a Producer do? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Objection #6: “It’s hard to keep track of everything. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S Instant feedback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 Frequency of interactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .” . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Sponsored Content: WebEx Consulting Services Brochure . . .27 Objection #4: “My students don’t want to share ideas or do homework. . . . . . . .25 Deal with the Learning Management System . . . . . . .27 Objection #5: “Technology will fail in the middle of the session. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and grading (Learning Management Systems) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 A new role: The Producer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Objection #1: “I’m not able to observe participants. . . . . . . . . .21 Annotation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . testing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Map the process . . . . . . . . .” .39 The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning iii . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Objection #2: “I can’t connect with learners and build rapport. . . . . . . . . . .24 Set the date for the pilot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 Response facilities in the virtual classroom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Objection #7: “I don’t do training. . . . . . .” . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Polling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Interactions . . .” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Media selection – to VC or not to VC? . . . .37 Interactions – alone but engaged . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Support the event . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . Web tours . . . .42 Breakout rooms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48 What equipment and facilities will you need? . . . . . Preliminary Planning for Your Event What’s different about a synchronous online event? . . . . . . . . . .44 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Adapt content or make adjustments to materials . . . . . .51 Access to the session room and materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53 Build a storyboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 Feedback and assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and where are they? . . . . . . . .56 Plan around unsupported instructional design . . . . . . . . . . .46 Who is your audience. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48 A place to work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 Showing PowerPoint slide animations and “builds” . . . . . . . . . . . . . multimedia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49 A wired Internet connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 Collaboration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49 Two computers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 Paired Chat . . . .41 Icons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S Chat . . . . .59 The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning iv . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 Audio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 How will you handle handouts and supplemental materials? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 Showing a text document . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 Application sharing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 Tips for supplemental files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52 Plan to support the instructional design . . . .47 Are you going to have co-presenters? Where are they? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 Tossing a question out to the group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 High-quality audio (VoIP or telephony) . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 The whiteboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Needs assessment and analysis . . . . . . . . . . .57 Sponsored Content: Subaru Case Study . . . . .44 Types of visuals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Visualization facilities in the virtual classroom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53 Plan to share visuals . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 Are you going to have a Producer? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Visuals – the journey of a thousand pixels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 How to maximize participation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54 Plan for incompatibility issues . . . . .56 Talk to each other . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Web cams . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Application sharing. . . . . . .45 Chapter 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73 Chapter 6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Setting Up for Production Technical set up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86 Managing Chat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68 The second coaching session . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69 Learner preparation and communication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69 The third coaching session . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79 Preparing users to learn . . . . . . .77 Introduction to the interface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62 Prepare for application sharing . . . . . . . .75 Essential checklists for the day of your event . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 The first coaching session . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . GeoLearning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87 The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning v . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85 Polling in different tools . . .83 Using the polling feature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81 Running the event . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75 Learner participation and interaction . . . . . . . . . . . . .63 Setting up session rooms . . . . . . .77 Dealing with connectivity issues .64 Speaker preparation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 Speaker coaching and preparation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70 Participant readiness . . . . . . . . . . . .87 Doing demonstrations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72 Sponsored Content: WebEx Connect Partner. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 Speaker Topic Support Outline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . practice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61 Connectivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S Chapter 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62 Software and services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75 Managing the online session with the help of an event Producer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62 Prepare for recording the event . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81 Using questions and annotations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Showtime! The day of the event . . . . . .61 Consider your audio options . . . . . . .66 Practice. . . . . . . . . .65 Presenter issues . .61 Registration and tracking . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85 Impromptu polling . . . .70 Invitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64 Converting and loading content . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79 Introducing participants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69 Dealing with the reluctant speaker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62 Plug-ins . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88 Independent practice activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94 Say “Thank You” . . . . . .102 Keep everyone on board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96 Session evaluations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .97 Follow up .94 Display an agenda for the closing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100 Relate to the company objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96 Clean up . . . Marketing Internal Synchronous Online Events You need a plan! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89 Backup/Plan B . . .90 Online interaction “do’s” . .95 Assignments and resource links . . . . . . .95 Turn off the recorder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .98 Supporting participants for an extended learning program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .91 Sponsored Content: BUCA di Beppo Case Study . . . . . . . . . .103 Share successes . . . . . . .90 Online interaction “don’ts” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89 Common errors and fixes . .92 Chapter 7. . . . . . . . . . .95 Remove any remaining participants for the session room . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104 Look for impact opportunities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101 Promote it . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94 Collect Level 1 evaluations (“smile sheets”) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99 Chapter 8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .107 The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning vi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89 Conducting tests . . . .98 Using an LMS is a big step . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . multimedia files . . . . . . . . . . . .94 The final Question and Answer (or comments) opportunity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wrapping Up and Following Up Structure the closing . . . . . . . . . . . . .102 Weave it into the fabric of the company . . .88 Breakout rooms . . . . . . . . . . . . .96 Pause for your own professional assessment . .98 Connecting with the LMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88 Audio and video clips. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95 Close the session room . . . . . .88 Status indicators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99 Need to provide support tools for cheap (or free)? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100 Make it easy to do . . . . . . . . . . .TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S Slide viewing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89 Disaster Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . .124 Appendix C. . . . .TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S Appendix A. . . . .120 Appendix B. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .97 Presenter Feedback Guide (Sidebar 7-3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .125 Sponsored Content: About The eLearning Guild . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Executive Summaries Executive Summary: Centra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95 Q & A Layout for Closing (Sidebar 7-2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Storyboard Form (Figure 4-2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .82 Closing Checklist (Sidebar 7-1) . . . . . . . . . . .70 Moderator’s Checklist (Sidebar 5-3) .96 Evaluation Question Poll (Figure 7-2) . . . . .77 Event Crib Notes (Sidebar 6-4) . . . . . . .112 Executive Summary: WebEx . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .98 The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning vii . The Producer Role . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77 Intro and Closing Slides (Sidebar 6-3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Speaker Tracking Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68 Sample Invitation and Agenda (Sidebar 5-2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55 Speaker Topic Support Outline (Sidebar 5-1) . . . . . . . . . . .108 Executive Summary: Elluminate 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76 Personal Comfort Checklist (Sidebar 6-2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .116 Executive Summary: Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .128 Table of Checklists and Key Information Links to free online trials (Sidebar 2-1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71 Host/Presenter Technical Checklist (Sidebar 6-1) . . . . . . . . . . . .

and some are more often seen in marketing copy than in practice. We couldn’t improve on the current selection. No such comprehensive advice for practitioners existed at the time. their satisfaction with each. number of learners. will find a wealth of ideas that they can use to improve or enhance their current processes. to list just a few of them. Synchronous e-Learning By Bill Brandon. We now see (although the numbers change a bit week-to-week with the addition of more data) that overall two-thirds of the respondents online are using synchronous e-Learning “often” or “sometimes” to deliver learning. The importance of this notion is borne out by the fact that there are dozens of Web conferencing applications. Compare this to 90% for classroom delivery. how to convert existing classroom content for delivery online. It will be interesting to watch the trends develop between these three legs over time. the infrastructure. and information to significantly reduce the amount of time required to produce online learning events. The eLearning Guild decided in the fall of 2006 to put together a handbook to support development and production of synchronous e-Learning. and online presentations. Another indication of the importance of synchronous e-Learning is seen in The eLearning Guild’s live. and how to promote these events to obtain maximum participation. With these facts in mind. some are more about delivery than about collaboration. perhaps because of the speed with which the technology is evolving. it is only in the last five years that organizations and individuals have had the technology. online learning is an important third leg of most organizations’ instructional strategies. or promote live. and 85% for asynchronous (self-paced) e-Learning. interactive learning events on the Web. we believe the contents of our Guide will serve readers well. we are getting a much better picture of the adoption patterns. or in various combinations of factors. Web conferences. Some of these names are more common in the education community. Together with the information available in The Guild’s periodic Research Reports on synchronous e-Learning.INTRODUCTION The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Who should use this book? The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning is intended for anyone and everyone who wants to produce. real-time Guild Research database. We have enlisted the aid of four experts who are themselves leaders in the field to create this little handbook. which kinds of training and education are best suited to it. online at http://www. how to lead effective and compelling live learning events on the Web. including experts.elearningguild. With thousands of members reporting which products they use. Novices will find information on what other people are doing in this medium. “Synchronous e-Learning” will have to do for now. interactive (more or less) learning events delivered on the World Wide Web. all fighting for market share.com. examples. references. and the modalities in which they support learning. and the bandwidth to make it practical for widespread adoption. and the up-to-date information on products and on actual projects in our Live Research online. More experienced practitioners. Although synchronous e-Learning has been around for almost fifty years in more primitive forms. industry. We can slice and dice the data by organization size. All readers will find job aids. What all of the descriptions have in common is the use of Web conferencing software to support live. so we chose to stay generic rather than add another designation. S The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning viii . lead. and you can see that live. Webinars. Editor ynchronous e-Learning goes by a variety of names: virtual classrooms.

and has written approximately 30 articles. book chapters. winning three CINDY awards. She has presented at many conferences.D. an Intranet learning portal that provides a gateway to learning services for an internal network of 150 company locations. April 2007. and was one of Multimedia Producer magazine’s Top 100 Producers. Ron created the Learning Universe. Her clients include AMS. in Instructional Technology from USC. In the past 19 years. and eLearning Guild Conferences on the subject of virtual collaboration.INTRODUCTION About the Authors Karen Hyder Karen Hyder has been using technology to teach about technology since 1991 when she began offering applications software courses for Logical Operations and for Ziff-Davis Education at the crest of the Windows and Microsoft Office explosion. Karen has coached hundreds of speakers to prepare for Online Forum sessions using Elluminate and Acrobat Connect Professional (formerly Adobe Breeze). The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning ix . He has facilitated sessions at several TechLearn Conferences. A frequent speaker on synchronous training topics. Most recently he developed LearnNET. Ron is a member of the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD). Ron Miazga Ron Miazga is Director of Learning and Intranet Services at Univar USA. and wrote The e-Learning Producer seminar. She is co-author with Ruth Clark of the book. and taught at UC Irvine. Karen is part of the team developing CompTIA’s eTrainer Certification (CTT+e). Ann holds a Ph. Karen recently presented at The Guild’s DevLearn Conference and Adobe MAX in October 2006. consults with clients on training design and strategy. was a research fellow at ETS. teaching classes to help trainers improve skills and earn certification. She has served on CompTIA’s Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) Advisory Committee since its inception in 2001. Karen will also present at ASTD in February 2007 and The Guild’s Annual Gathering in Boston. real-time connection that provides for virtual collaboration. In 1995 she was promoted to Director of Trainer Development. where she teaches courses in instructional design and e-Learning. At Univar USA. Microsoft and Morgan Stanley. a series of online conference sessions for e-Learning development professionals. Karen helped launch and manage The eLearning Guild Online Forums. Ron earned an MA in Human Resources Development from George Washington University. manages the e-Learning Certification program. WBT Producer Conferences. and reviews. Compuware. In 2003. The New Virtual Classroom. Ann has worked on over 25 e-Learning programs. an online. North America’s largest wholesale chemical distributor. Cigna. Ann Kwinn Ann Kwinn is Partner and Director of e-Learning for Clark Training & Consulting. In 1999 Karen began a consulting firm to offer train-the-trainer courses including using synchronous online software tools. He has more than 25 years of experience in the learning design and development fields.

broadcasting history. and internet media. Matthew spent over a decade teaching. new media. Prior to joining PwC. researching. He has a Ph. He has delivered dozens of presentations and written numerous articles on distance learning. and producing media and e-Learning at the college level. Karen Hyder would like to recognize Ray Jimenez for his contribution to Chapter 7. and a background in Webcasting.ABOUT THE AUTHORS | INTRODUCTION Matthew Murray Matthew Murray is a Learning Solutions Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers.D. where he oversees virtual classroom operations. Web conferencing. Mary Keith Resseau. and Jeff Gordon for permission to use their materials. and media theory. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning x . in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She would also like to thank Deborah Kenny. Acknowledgments Ann Kwinn would like to thank Mark Bucceri and Brian Mulliner for permission to quote them in Chapter 3.

Decrease costs and increase revenue. and even pass control to attendees to demo applications. Set up hands-on labs so students can practice and review before. Track performance with robust testing. and venue costs from your training budget. Increase business opportunities and revenue.99% reliability. Reduce live and on-demand delivery costs with the industry’s leading online classroom. and test trainees to ensure retention and track productivity. rental. You’ll save a bundle. scalable service. Your information is never persistently stored on our servers and 128-bit SSL and AES encryption ensures all your training sessions are private and secure. With only two trainers and WebEx Training Center. You can even transform your training program into a strategic revenue center by using WebEx Online Classroom’s self-service registration and payment features. — Sandy Kennedy Zachman. WebEx Training Center is delivered on demand over the WebEx MediaTone™ Network. Engage learners with interactive. interactive instruction. and polling tools. Create and manage multimedia content for easy on-demand delivery and access. Educate your channel partners and field reps regularly. Make every class a success with WebEx Training Center Online Classroom. stream media modules or live video. our retail branch was able to train 2. or after your training sessions. No new software or hardware is required. making it easy to implement and easy to scale as your training needs grow. anywhere without spending your budget on venues and travel expenses. poll. New Century Mortgage Corporation . Corporate Training Manager. And WebEx is SAS 70 and WebTrust™ certified. TM Drive product adoption by offering your customers easy access to web-based training.300 employees in 68 national offices around the world in just 3 weeks. Slash travel. engaging classroom experience over a web browser. Quiz. Provide training for anyone. so they always have current information. as well as robust security. The MediaTone Network offers better than 99. Count on WebEx for secure.Training Center Online Classroom Deliver a rich. Whatever your training goals. Then leverage your investment by creating a digital archive of training sessions for self-paced study on demand. media-rich online instruction. Share powerful presentations. during. Train global employees to advance their skills or push revenue-generating initiatives to market faster. Engage learners with lively. grading. WebEx Online Classroom will help you provide an exceptional training experience.

Q&A Boost interaction with threaded Q&A showing questions and related responses. and Korean. or after live training sessions to reinforce learning with hands-on activities. Mac. file transfer capabilities. Multiple Panelists Maximize productivity. Registration and Reporting Cross-Platform Support Simplify session registration and easily track attendance.2 Polls and Surveys Measure session effectiveness and gather feedback for future sessions.Provide a compelling online learning experience using powerful features.4 or higher. Integrated Telephony Choose toll or toll-free global teleconference with call-in or call-back options. All rights reserved. and Solaris operating systems. JDE) or Solaris 8 or 9 with Mozilla 1. Q&A.. Give trainers and learners the ability to participate from different environments.435. NT. JavaScript and cookies enabled in the browser. and sketch ideas on a whiteboard in real time. e-Learning Standards support: SCORM 1. Minimum Windows system requirements: Windows 98. .2 or higher with Safari 1. detailed tracking. Assess comprehension. deliver and access on-demand training. Chinese (Simplified and Traditional). Microsoft® Outlook™ Integration APIs and Standards Support Testing and Grading Streamline scheduling using existing enterprise processes. CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS: WebEx Communications. WebEx supports Windows. For the latest platform requirements. DS332 1106 WBS25 US . Other platforms supported: Mac OSX 10. Learners get an engaging full-screen view with a discreet toolbar for navigation. Information Sharing Share documents. 3979 Freedom Circle. Linux (RHEL3. Santa Clara.0.x or 2. Find more information about WebEx Training Center and other web meeting applications at www. during.com/applications. Leverage web-based test libraries for pre. WebEx and the WebEx logo are registered trademarks of WebEx Communications. Hands-On Lab Connect remote learners with remote computers. Stream recordings within live sessions or post for learners to play back at their convenience. Trainers can “walk around the room” and see how each group is doing.4 or higher or Firefox 1. with intelligent search capabilities.7000 Fax: +1. SuSE 9. applications. Languages supported: English. Netscape 7. demonstrate software. Intel x86 (Pentium 400MHZ +) or compatible processor with 128MB RAM. and simulations before. and other online classroom activity — but are invisible to learners. Flash™ 3D objects. Streaming Video Integration Engage learners and improve interactions by sharing video from a web or video camera. Japanese. and integrated testing. View sessions from the viewer-friendly player. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.4353 ©2006 WebEx Communications. Add interest by creating data and annotating on the fly. 2003 server or XP. and review poll results. Spanish. respond to questions presented in chat. German. Firefox 1.408. Inc.408. Multimedia Training Content Engage learners with PowerPoint™ presentations complete with animations. Extend your learning technology investments and ensure interoperability. and streaming video. French. Breakout Sessions Promote active learning by conducting multiple. Linux. Record and Playback Record training sessions for reuse and review. 56K or faster Internet connection. 2000. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6. PowerPanels™ Deliver full-screen views for learners while you manage your training sessions behind the scenes using floating panels to track attendee activity. Automated e-Commerce Create revenue-generating programs with self-service registration and payments. Inc. CA 95054 USA Tel: +1. Mozilla 1.496. simultaneous small group collaborative activities.and post-session training. transitions. and share correct answers within a session. visit our web page. Floating PowerPanels allow the trainer to view attendee list. or VoIP. Turbo Linux.x. Bring in trainers from different locations to train collaboratively. track individual performances. Inc. On-Demand Module Get everything you need to create. manage.webex.0.

• What is synchronous e-Learning? Synchronous e-Learning has grown rapidly to become a significant com• Synchronous e-Learning technology categories ponent in most organizations and training environments. product demonstrations. you’ve already logged many thousands of hours in a synchronous learning environment. This might take place at a course Contents level: for example. Creating and attending a synchronous e-Learning session can involve asynchronous experiences (pre-registering or conducting a diagnostic technical check). For clarification. I’ve emphasized “learning-oriented interaction” in order to differentiate synchronous learning from lecture.com.CHAPTER INTRODUCTION TO SYNCHRONOUS E-LEARNING | CHAPTER 1 1 Introduction to Synchronous e-Learning By Matthew Murray A lthough you might never have consciously considered it. the familiar standard against which all other learning models are compared and measured. mixing asynchronous e-Learning modules and synchronous sessions. facilitated instruction and learning-oriented interaction. Synchronous learning is distinguished from self-paced asynchronous learning. It’s the traditional foundation of the school and college experience.elearningguild. (See The Synchronous • The business case for synchronous e-Learning • Integration points and challenges e-Learning Research Report 2005. the interaction is essential to learning. which students access intermittently on demand. Synchronous e-Learning is synchronous learning that takes place through electronic means. integrating In Chapter 1 you will find information about: self-paced exercises within a live virtual classroom session. and more generally to approaches to course design and delivery that combine different modalities (e. but the learning experience is live and real-time. and other “knowledge dispersal” activities. accompanied by printed job aids.g. A September 2005 • The roots of synchronous e-Learning eLearning Guild research report indicated that about 90% of respondents • The learning needs for synchronous e-Learning had participated in a synchronous e-Learning event. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 1 . These terms don’t always apply cleanly to specific examples. self-paced Web-based training. and supplemented by virtual classroom follow-up sessions). Or it could occur at the session level: for instance. Table 1-1 on page 2 compares synchronous e-Learning to asynchronous e-Learning.. In my opinion (backed by plenty of research findings). followed by classroom instruction. What is synchronous e-Learning? Synchronous learning is live. available through The eLearning Guild Research Archives at http://www. The term “blended learning” can refer to a combination of synchronous and asynchronous experiences. real-time (and usually scheduled). As of November 2006. blended learning is also applied to mixed online and face-to-face training.

and deliver for this medium. It outlines the technologies employed. audioconferencing and videoconferencing. electronically-enabled learning. Synchronous vs. Synchronous e-Learning • Real-time • Live • Usually scheduled and time-specific (but can be impromptu) • Collective and often collaborative • Simultaneous virtual presence (with other learners and facilitators or instructors) • Concurrent learning with others • Intermittent access or interaction • Self-paced • Individual. Despite the growing presence of synchronous e-Learning. identifying the main categories of synchronous e-Learning technologies is a good place to begin. New tools appear with regularity.elearningguild. and summarizes the most important factors to consider when developing a business case for its deployment. real-time. Web conferencing. or intermittently collaborative • Independent learning • Usually available any time • Recorded or pre-produced • Instant messaging • Online chat • Live Webcasting • Audioconferencing • Videoconferencing • Web conferencing Asynchronous e-Learning • E-mail • Threaded discussion • Boards • Web-based training • Podcasting • DVD • Computer-based training The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 2 . or by one of the myriad modes that it can take: virtual classroom. interactive. We’ll sort through the terminology and types of tools available.INTRODUCTION TO SYNCHRONOUS E-LEARNING | CHAPTER 1 Table 1-1 almost two-thirds (63%) of e-Learning Guild survey respondents reported using synchronous e-Learning “Often” or “Sometimes. You might just know it by reference to a particular vendor. although employees at mid. • Gaming and simulations. Webinars. Respondents from large organizations were the most likely to use synchronous e-Learning. asynchronous e-Learning Distinctive features Examples Synchronous e-Learning technology categories The spectrum of synchronous e-Learning technologies and options can appear overwhelming at first. eConferencing. And while the tools are morphing. videoconferencing.. This chapter provides an overview of synchronous e-Learning and identifies its key uses and benefits.” at http://www. You may know synchronous e-Learning by another name. The field has developed so rapidly that best practices are only now starting to emerge. there is still uncertainty about how best to plan.” (See the “Live & Interactive” section of “Guild Research. Synchronous e-Learning sessions can usually be recorded and played back. and • Web conferencing. but that’s not their primary strength or purpose. . tool or software program that enables the creation and delivery of synchronous e-Learning.) Its use was particularly marked in high tech sectors like computer manufacturing and telecommunications. live e-Learning. . and reconfiguring. design. the terms and labels associated with them become more loosely applied and flexible — further adding to the complexity associated with comprehending and discussing the field. and existing tools are frequently upgraded or expanded to improve performance and incorporate new features. You may wish to refer to the Executive Summaries of some of the more popular tools in Appendix A. • Webcasting. Even though the rest of this book deals with what I will refer to as the “Web conferencing” category. Webcasting. lists the typical learning needs that synchronous e-Learning fulfills. converging.com. Our focus is on the live and the collaborative.and small-size companies were also using the tools in large numbers. A lack of clarity and consistency exists over exactly what synchronous e-Learning is and how it is delivered. Although synchronous e-Learning is about utilizing tools to achieve effective training and education.. it is important to differentiate these terms: • Teleconferencing and its major sub-categories. but let’s first reiterate our definition: Synchronous e-Learning is live.

Best practices? Audioconferences are often used in association with other delivery means (such as sending out slides and materials through e-mail. Webcam-driven audiovisual communication. and provide abundant opportunities to integrate feedback and knowledge sharing (in the mode of an educationally-oriented “call-in talk show” or “ask-the-expert” format). But although it is often overlooked as a limited. Data signals are transmitted over high speed dedicated telephone lines (ISDN model). this is audio-only interaction via telephone. either point-to-point or bridged multipoint. The move from ISDN.to IP-supported videoconferencing has reduced line charges and permitted easier integration with desktop systems. and standard definition integrated desktop and suite systems that provide full screen. the form has undergone something of a renaissance recently — driven by easy access for mobile workers (through cell phones). bridging together classes in Toronto. Videoconferencing What is it? Full screen video and audio. Videoconferencing currently appears to be diverging into two directions: high definition “telepresence” (particularly well suited to training fields. To avoid confusion. While a specialized market for high definition. Once the preserve of expensive. most organizations can easily implement synchronous training this way. hardware-dependent systems will always remain. or guest speakers and class exchanges between educational institutions. Its full screen video and high audio quality make it the form that most closely emulates the face-to-face experience and human co-presence. The approach has been largely superseded by more recent technological advances. Its historically high initial capital investment had limited its use to large organizations with dispersed learners (for instance. and the lure of quickly repurposing recorded conference calls as downloadable Podcasts. through “smart classrooms” with daisy-chained microphones that pick up all partic- The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 3 . Why use it? While the tool is primarily used for meetings and project updates. videoconferencing holds great potential for synchronous learning. supplementary text Chat. or over the Internet (IP model). Since it is relatively inexpensive and readily available. Some associate “tele” (a prefix to signify “at a distance”) with the telephone and use it synonymously with audioconferencing. and is used differently by different people. high-end conference and boardroom suites. or simultaneous integration with Webcasts and virtual classroom sessions). videoconferencing has become more portable and less hardware dependent. Portland. others associate it with television and use it to mean videoconferencing. It’s also employed as a blanket term to reference all technology-enabled conferencing. and Phoenix with learners and instructors in Atlanta). Best Practices? Videoconferencing is well suited to group training split between two or more locations. improved audio quality and call management options. such as desktop sharing. Why use it? Often employed as an executive meeting tool. I recommend adopting the terms audioconferencing or videoconferencing instead.INTRODUCTION TO SYNCHRONOUS E-LEARNING | CHAPTER 1 Teleconferencing What is it? This term is context specific. Videoconferencing works most effectively when the classroom environment can be reproduced remotely. Both threads are progressing towards fuller conferencing feature integration. training that utilizes audioconferencing can achieve impressive results. Audioconferences can draw from radio design and delivery techniques to engage learners. it’s reasonable to assume that the distinction between standard definition videoconferencing and Web conferencing will continue to blur and eventually disappear. such as medicine. Audioconferencing What is it? Also known as conference calling. Most systems also permit screen sharing and document camera source inputs. where visual clarity is crucial). etc. low-tech option.

making Webcasts an appealing option for reaching diverse groups of learners at varying bandwidths. information delivery approach which is the hallmark of live Webcasting. Webcasts are typically most practical for reaching large volumes of learners simultaneously. Best practices? Training Webcasts have been derided in some circles for taking on a lecture format that offers little in the way of learning appeal: static video of a presenter expert who pontificates endlessly on minutiae. Recorded Webcasts replay well in playback mode. this term is applied variously (sometimes incorrectly) by different users. so the opportunities for complex interaction with learners are intentionally restricted. passive learners who fall asleep. As this etymology implies. providing more sophisticated communication options that are synchronized with the audio-video stream — most commonly presentation slides.g.INTRODUCTION TO SYNCHRONOUS E-LEARNING | CHAPTER 1 ipants’ comments. It is sometimes employed as a generic reference to all Internet communication technologies that transmit audio and/or video. and animations. This is inaccurate. or DivX). delivered to isolated. In other words. accompanied by text-heavy slides. Flash Video. fuller features and opportunities for interactivity have been introduced into some Webcasting services. since only a limited amount of learner interactivity is lost. Webcasting as a term was derived from the concept of broadcasting over the Web. multitask. split screen. the tool can be used extremely effectively with the prerequisite instructional design. real-time text captioning. government agencies reaching field units. knowledge-dispersal types of learning. RealMedia. These media streams are encoded and decoded using a common system format (e. for example. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 4 . numerous services and tools have emerged. While it’s obviously important to avoid the trappings of a boring Webcast. This can extend the shelf life of a synchronous learning Webcast as a repurposed job aid or knowledge object. or lose interest. polling. However. the expression originally referenced audio and video sent from a single source to multiple passive receivers. Webcasting What is it? Again. Learners in many industries and workplace roles benefit from the didactic. and multistream video feeds. legal professionals. For instance. challenging its differentiation from Web conferencing. Windows Media. with limited or restricted interactivity features. although it is true that the features and vendor offerings in both spaces are converging. either live or on demand. the form is very popular among specialized communities and disciplines that thrive upon rapid dissemination of current and dense visual information (e. Nevertheless. QuickTime. Webcasting utilizes streaming media to transmit audio/video efficiently over the Internet. text Chat. and a distinction should be retained between Webcasting and Web conferencing (described below). etc. and file downloads. Although the video window of a Webcast is typically quite small. it is still appropriate and valuable to use Webcasting to refer to unidirectional (one-way) point-to-multipoint synchronous communication. This also reduces demands on computer processor performance and network activity. engaging audio (background music and transition bridges).). Why use it? Webcasting is principally utilized for presentation-style. Webcasts can be designed and delivered very quickly and at relatively low cost. Webcasts can draw upon established media techniques to engage learners and improve the delivery of materials through panel formats (multiple perspectives). high quality motion graphics.g. that is based around high quality streaming audio and video. Its unparalleled full screen video capabilities also provide integration opportunities for videoconferencing with other technologies: routing in high quality audio/video of remote presenters for live Webcast feeds. Webcasting can refer simply to one-way audio/video streams. practitioners in medicine and the health sciences. the image quality can be very good — well suited to talking heads and pre-recorded video scenario roll-ins.

law enforcement. immersive learning environments and “realistic” problem-based scenarios. risk-free practice and simulation opportunities. the terminology in this area is a little fuzzy. public/private text Chat). socialization. Simulations permit participants to learn through practice.” they are typically referring to Web conferencing. Sophisticated games and simulations are particularly appealing to high risk industries and occupations (such as aviation. ask follow-up questions. teaching methodology. When people discuss “synchronous e-Learning. rather than didactic.” “Internet collaboration” and a slew of vendor-inspired monikers. long regarded as a field of instruction requiring face-to-face demonstration and practice.INTRODUCTION TO SYNCHRONOUS E-LEARNING | CHAPTER 1 Gaming and simulations What is it? Online virtual environments or challenges that respond and dynamically adjust to learner input. it is advancing rapidly and has strong support from those who advocate the myriad benefits of verisimilitude. Best practices? Of all online e-Learning formats. hand raising and emoticon responses. audio/video from presenters and learners. policy readings). Web conferencing technologies offer tremendous potential for robust interactivity and collaboration through their versatility and rich feature options. Note that the commonly trumpeted “Webinar” can refer to a Webcast or Web conference: usually one promising an expert presentation on a specific knowledge topic. or build consensus among groups. It also carries numerous secondary benefits. It is capable of scaling from small groups to hundreds or thousands of simultaneous users. whiteboarding and markup tools. financial services. legal elucidation. analysis. and participate in practice exercises and case study discussions. and medicine). and others consider Web conferencing to represent the business end of synchronous usage. acculturation). quizzing. Its interactive architecture is especially well suited to smaller class sizes and a facilitative. Other terms that are used synonymously with Web conferencing include “live e-Learning. Its “flat” multipoint-to-multi- The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 5 . presenting the possibility of truly immersive virtual campuses with synchronous training events and advanced. Web conferencing What is it? Highly interactive. breakout rooms. or only synchronous e-Learning delivered to larger participant groups). or multiplayer and asynchronous. and to measure the consequences of actions in a safe context (rather than on the job). But the advent of MMLOGs (Massive MultiLearner Online Games) is close at hand. slides and media.g. military.” “synchronous e-Learning. Why use it? While this field is still in its infancy. Internet-based applications with a rich collaboration feature set (e. use virtual classroom to refer to asynchronous online course technologies. Why use it? Web conferencing allows for highly collaborative online learning among geographically dispersed employees. such as community building and networking. application sharing. Web site tours. It permits instructors to illustrate the diversity of knowledge among participants. Web conferencing excels in the development of “higher order” learning skills (such as synthesis. where the potential fiscal and health dangers associated with an unskilled workforce are especially high. Again. The tool lends itself nicely to attitudinal subjects that require interpretation and mutual understanding (such as ethics issues. typically in academic environments. Web conferencing permits learners to easily share ideas and experiences. polling. Best practices? Most games and simulations are currently single player and self-paced. The distinction between “virtual classroom” and “Web conferencing” is largely subjective (although some people. Games and simulations also promise to facilitate the online learning of psychomotor skills.

mockumentary scenarios. solicit feedback and provide clarification. video. expert panels. at the same time that many Web conference services are offering gateway integration between VoIP and regular PBX/PSTN telephony. Do your research. stepping out. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 6 . (See Figure 1-1. The metaphor of the classroom also helps to structure the learning experience and provide a familiar context within which participants and presenters can interact. but speculation about future trends doesn’t add much value in and of itself.INTRODUCTION TO SYNCHRONOUS E-LEARNING | CHAPTER 1 Figure 1-1 Synchronous e-Learning has roots in the classroom. and presenter.) As the name “virtual classroom” indicates. highly interactive forms of synchronous e-Learning were developed to emulate the classroom experience. the greatest advantage of Web conferencing is the ability for instructors to present content in a number of different ways. narrative threads. larger memories and higher bandwidth cellular networks. community of practice development. online conferencing. facilitator. and serialized episodes with recurring characters and examples). Overall. and dialogic exchange. It’s best to consider which approaches to real-time voice. and mass media formats. Instructors have been quick to draw upon training room techniques to create engaging synchronous e-Learning. we need to be able to move with the times and anticipate new directions. Knowing that the field is a constantly moving target. and then facilitate learner practice and collaborative problem solving.” Move forward with enthusiasm. The roots of synchronous e-Learning Like most successful technology areas. Mobile devices are rapidly adding features that exploit their visual interfaces.) and mass media devices (layered audio. The virtual classroom also permits the successful delivery of risk-free role playing exercises. Application sharing features make this tool especially attractive to software trainers and proponents of real-time team exercises. perspective. it’s easy to get caught up in the technology itself and lose sight of the learning objectives you are trying to realize. point structure encourages knowledge sharing among participants and collaborative learning projects. synchronous e-Learning Producers are beginning to draw on mass media formats (talk shows. but for large audiences and limited interactivity events. The roots of synchronous e-Learning derive from three main influences: the classroom. and confidence. This is evident also in the nomenclature of some of the functionality: hand raising. This area is still maturing. indicating that videoconferencing and Web conferencing integration is close at hand for the mobile learner. the media. etc. hypothetical scenarios. Telephony and audioconferencing services at many organizations are moving to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) handsets. attention grabbing introductions. and data-based learning best suit your organization’s learning needs and most appropriately fit your technology environment. whiteboarding. As e-Learning professionals. As previously noted. Trainers are increasingly recognizing the value of mass media techniques for presenting effective and stimulating e-Learning. but avoid “analysis paralysis. The declining cost and increasing ease-of-use of media hardware and software has encouraged more organizations to incorporate more sophisticated audio-visual design within their training delivery. the synchronous technologies identified above are currently undergoing significant convergence and redefinition. and the conference. synchronous e-Learning emerged to fill a need and then expanded to provide options previously unavailable to early adopters.

video. and. Synchronous e-Learning is most fundamentally about connecting people through technology to enhance competencies and promote understanding. The social dimension of synchronous tools creates a learning synergy. Synchronous e-Learning is live. and collectively develop best practices. and you’ll be forced to re-evaluate your delivery systems. synchronous e-Learning is its own form of communication. synchronous e-Learning tools permit instructional designers and facilitators to create truly engaging learning experiences. most importantly. Real-time interaction and collaboration: Synchronous tools allow us to engage with other people in real time. you may have a nationwide audience of regional sales representatives who need updating on product features and enhancements.). the early adoption of audioconferencing and videoconferencing as a means to reproduce that face-toface interaction.INTRODUCTION TO SYNCHRONOUS E-LEARNING | CHAPTER 1 Figure 1-2 The business case for your selection of delivery mode arises from the combination of organizational needs and organizational readiness. Firms with telecommuters and remote learners will also realize tremendous advantages by reaching these employees at their own locations. but long term targets won’t be achieved if they are used inappropriately: learning effectiveness will decrease. Designed effectively. designed to generate ideas or disseminate information among a group or division. etc. fun and effective. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 7 . Answers to questions are immediate and clarification can be provided directly. With this caveat. training objectives won’t be realized. collaborative and participatory. Some of the key advantages to using synchronous e-Learning include: Connecting dispersed learners: Synchronous methods are especially well suited to organizations with geographically distributed learning populations. Your needs assessment and learning objectives should drive the selection of an appropriate delivery approach and align more generally with your business case. I use “conference” here to imply an opportunity for exchange and collaboration that might range from small and closed (internal. there are plenty of great reasons to adopt synchronous e-Learning approaches. the media. the internal conference refers to something more formal than a meeting or discussion. Chapter 3 addresses the issues of delivery approach selection and design. audio. share ideas. conference room) to large and open (public conferences and industry expositions. multimodal (combining text. Anyone who attempts to simply reproduce instruction from the classroom. Determining whether a learning need for synchronous e-Learning exists is rooted in its core definers. synchronous e-Learning energizes and enables participants to enhance competencies and develop their skills. For most organizations. you should determine whether a “learning need” exists and whether your organization is ready to implement this approach. imitate styles and genres from the media. and the conference as forms of influence. or recreate the conference environment will fail to excel. graphics. Used appropriately. including conversion of existing classroom materials for use in synchronous e-Learning. The learning needs for synchronous e-Learning Before you consider building a business case for synchronous e-Learning in your organization. Or you might have global franchisees requiring orientation around standard customer service skills. But while it is indebted to the classroom. Synchronous tools also lend themselves well to structured collaborative assignments. attitudes and behaviors. For instance. the conference has been another formative influence on the development of synchronous e-Learning technologies and practices. and education. Hence. (See Figure 12. As an organized opportunity to network.) Implementing synchronous e-Learning approaches might generate some short term economic savings. real-time. versatile. collaboration. interactive. a very natural process that permits a spontaneous and flowing learning session.

Adult learners. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 8 . A major advantage to synchronous e-Learning tools is the development of a sense of connectedness and community among learners. mini-challenges. Extending application demonstrations and Web safaris: Organizations that provide software and desktop training can benefit tremendously from the real-time application demonstration features of synchronous tools. synchronous e-Learning tools can overcome some of those barriers and level the field (although technical literacy can create imbalances among learners if not accounted for correctly). Access to valuable Subject Matter Expert resources: Many training organizations face the challenge of accessing subject matter expertise from highly experienced (and incredibly busy) senior members of the firm. It can avoid the power dynamics of the face-to-face learning environment. On the other hand. and the formation of a collective identity. etc. The use of anonymous feedback tools (such as polls and surveys) can increase the comfort level of online participants by reducing the fears that adult learners often have around answering incorrectly in front of their peers. But the collaborative nature of synchronous tools makes them well suited to permitting learners to synthesize complex ideas and address “grey” areas. Polling tools and other synchronous features can be utilized to build a sense of consensus. on-demand training or reference materials. Synchronous tools permit firms to tap into the deep knowledge and sharp minds of SMEs without significantly disrupting their schedule.) provides numerous options for connecting with diverse learners with different learning styles. Application sharing allows for rapid and easy group work. More generally. Many tools also provide integrated virtual lab components. Long term impacts can include better teamwork and collaboration skills. where extroverts can dominate and where gender and other personal identifiers can impact group activities. respond positively to peer support and opportunities to bond with their colleagues. Train the Trainer: Synchronous e-Learning is especially well suited to training dispersed instructors (who might oversee regional training centers) and ensuring standardized training for all trainers. Fostering a learning community: Learners benefit from sharing ideas and experiences with their colleagues. Whiteboarding and markup tools can permit class exercises that can be easily saved and recalled. Unique functionality: Many synchronous e-Learning tools include features and functionality that offer unparalleled opportunities for fast and effective learning. the variety of tools and communication choices available in synchronous e-Learning (text Chat. These SMEs are usually the ones who are most aware of recent and emerging developments in their market area. Used effectively. and thoughtful reflection. audio. problem-solving exercises. improved employee retention. the warm learner experience that is generated allays anxieties about the mechanical or depersonalized nature of technology-enabled learning. Synthesizing materials and concepts: Process-oriented tasks and information-heavy materials are best taught through asynchronous. or to identify a respect for the diversity of ideas among a workforce.INTRODUCTION TO SYNCHRONOUS E-LEARNING | CHAPTER 1 Sense of immediacy and co-presence: Synchronous tools are ideal for conveying late-breaking and time sensitive information. the use of tools that do identify the originator (such as text Chat) can permit participants to shine in front of their colleagues and create a healthy competition. Balancing learning dynamics: Synchronous e-Learning can reduce imbalances and create a more egalitarian learning experience. polling. Synchronous e-Learning provides an online means for group learning techniques through discussions and dialogue. Web tours can guide learners to specific points of interest. It provides numerous opportunities for reciprocal training. permitting supervised simultaneous practice sessions and “online sandbox” learning. in particular. etc. Large scale events ensure that a consistent message is delivered by senior management to all levels of the organization. Since the human presence is so “front and center” when using these tools. fishbowl exercises. stronger morale. and synchronous training provides the opportunity to rapidly convey that information.

Make no mistake. Scalability: Many synchronous tools thrive upon smaller learning groups with a high level of interactivity. By focusing on facilitated learning and short.INTRODUCTION TO SYNCHRONOUS E-LEARNING | CHAPTER 1 Informal learning: Once adopted by an organization. the true value of synchronous e-Learning is its live. not driven by short term cost savings. Remember that ROI should be measured by learning effectiveness. Productivity and workflow benefits: Synchronous e-Learning improves employee productivity by reducing travel strain. Internally. Most synchronous e-Learning tools permit reusing the same content in a series of sessions aimed at multiple learner groups. But the availability of playbacks (for those who missed the live session. But it’s increasingly true for medium and SOHO (Small Office and Home Office) businesses as well. or compliance deadlines). optimizing face-to-face. etc. synchronous e-Learning is typically more learner-centric than many conventional training programs. This is especially true for larger organizations that require participants and/or instructors to travel to central training locations. seasonal training initiatives. synchronous tools can also contribute to improved knowledge sharing across departments and functional units. Many offer increasingly sophisticated opportunities for editing and repurposing (into portable and/or offline formats). and connecting with learners at their point of work (rather than in unfamiliar classroom environments). But some methods (Webcasts. Benchmark your competition and see where you stand in relation to their use of these approaches. realtime delivery. end-of-year HR updates. let’s consider some of the economic and productivity advantages to using synchronous e-Learning: Cost effective: Synchronous e-Learning is usually far more cost effective than face-to-face instruction. eliminating unnecessary time away from home. synchronous collaboration tools create points of exchange in everyday workflow behaviors that generate moments of informal learning.) will recognize advantages in bringing new workers up to speed quickly. The business case for synchronous e-Learning Having established the learning need. thus reducing The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 9 . Extending the reach: Synchronous tools are especially effective for expanding into new markets and generating new learning communities. or as an ondemand refresher) expands its reach and long term ROI potential. asynchronous and synchronous online delivery methods. since numerous lower-cost options targeting non-enterprise clients have entered the market in the last few years. Recordable and replayable: Most synchronous training sessions can be easily recorded and played back. providing competitive business advantages for organizations concerned with shorter production cycles and faster time-to-market rollouts. Competitive business advantages: Synchronous tools permit rapid training development and delivery. Organizations can reach new prospects and build an extended client base through Webinars (collecting contact information on attendees that feeds into a Customer Relationship Management database). Avoiding conventional pitfalls: The versatility of synchronous e-Learning allows trainers to avoid the pitfalls often associated with conventional face-to-face training. Timely delivery and reusability: Synchronous sessions can provide relevant and succinct just-intime training for employees when coordinated with the business calendar (e. Most organizations are moving towards a blended learning approach. Often the cost of travelling results in marathon residential training programs where knowledge retention suffers. Organizations experiencing frequent employee turnover and workforce changes (through mergers and acquisitions. timely sessions.g. for example) are typically less interactive and can scale up to large volumes of simultaneous learners and realize significant cost-per-user savings. Synchronous e-Learning can improve Quality of Service benchmarks by ensuring a consistent standard of content and instruction.

Most Web conferencing vendors provide a suite of products that range from supporting instant workflow collaboration meetings.INTRODUCTION TO SYNCHRONOUS E-LEARNING | CHAPTER 1 redundant design and development time and encouraging easy customization. instructors. Extending training budgets: Organizations invested in face-to-face learning typically spend about 70% of total training costs on travel. For example. remote management presentations. lodging. project kick-off sessions. The first decision is whether to use an existing service or product or build one yourself. It’ll also save you enormous headaches in the long run if you achieve consensus among all stakeholders with an interest in supporting and utilizing these technologies: typically the IT department. Ensure that your strategic objectives are achievable and can illustrate real and measurable advantages that reinforce the projections in your business case. But the growing availability of freeware. Common sense and practical reality usually mandate that a phased transition is more effective and less disruptive than a major overhaul of your delivery methods. and open source software in this area does make it a viable option for organiza- The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 10 . shareware. mobile workforce connectivity. It’s crucial not to consider synchronous e-Learning methods in isolation from the rest of your organization’s needs and operations. This automated reporting reduces administrative inefficiencies and can typically be integrated with other internal record keeping systems (such as Learning Management Systems. Automated learner recording and reporting: Many synchronous e-Learning services track learner attendance and participation. Performance and Talent Management systems. but these tools provide significant opportunities and benefits for improved teamwork. there are clearly a multitude of factors to take into account. and quite possibly a number of other interested parties depending on the size and structure of your organization. and a clear projection of mutual benefits will help to build support from the various constituencies that will be affected by a synchronous e-Learning roll-out plan: curriculum designers. Our focus in this handbook is on e-Learning. Develop a program around a series of synchronous events — it takes a few sessions before instructors and participants really start to feel comfortable with the new tool. this is not a decision that should be undertaken lightly. Significant economies of scale can be realized if you can leverage the demand for these tools outside the training department. Some organizations with specialist needs have created their own custom solutions. Integration points and challenges When developing a business case for synchronous e-Learning. coaching/mentoring. the Communications and Marketing departments. Solicit feedback and support along the way. through classroom sessions. Given the complexity of these systems. Synchronous e-Learning also eliminates meeting space requirements and numerous fixed and variable costs (which can range from property overheads to catering to projector rentals). Human Resources. HR. etc. IT. and a host of other business functions. interviewing.). and you’ll want to eliminate any kinks during a trial period. Sales. and a myriad other uses. Change management is crucial. and catering. certification assessment programs. and other stakeholders. Some tools provide opportunities for seamless integration with Content Management Systems and learning content authoring processes. virtual meetings. to larger-scale scheduled events. Adult learners have a low tolerance for technical problems and time-wasting during training. Identify advocates and pilot projects that will adapt well to the new approach. Your cause will be made significantly easier if you can persuade senior management to champion the transition. improved productivity. A number of options exist around selecting and implementing synchronous e-Learning technologies. course designers. videoconferencing is frequently mobilized for board meetings.

Part of your implementation checklist should evaluate how well a synchronous e-Learning solution integrates with your LMS. or externally hosted by a vendor (commonly referred to as an Application Service Provider. Many e-Learning vendors provide integrated service and product suites that cover a broad range of learning technology needs and might provide cost savings. reduce the burden on your existing IT resources and infrastructure. and whether you select a full-service or selfservice model. authentication. and other potential points of data exchange. and reporting. ASP solutions are fast to activate. While there are numerous advantages to adopting synchronous e-Learning. but many smaller organizations find the ASP model more realistic. but there is usually an accompanying learning curve associated with understanding how to successfully prepare and run a session. If you have a largely mobile workforce. presence/IM/collaboration tool. Typically you won’t replace another training strategy completely. determine whether synchronous attendance is the most appropriate method for reaching them. while larger enterprises tend to prefer the internal hosting option. server control. firewall protection and security considerations. An additional decision with Webcasting is whether to choose a self-service or full-service model. Self-service requires your trainers and staff to prepare and upload materials and run an event. whereas others offer only one or the other.INTRODUCTION TO SYNCHRONOUS E-LEARNING | CHAPTER 1 tions with the necessary in-house resources. and long term cost savings with high volume usage. Webcasting and Web conferencing services can be internally hosted within your organization’s IT infrastructure. a full-service provider will. and fewer customizations to out-of-the-box solutions. making it even more appealing to smaller organizations and training operations. Working with your IT unit. and eliminate the need for upgrading and patching the software. provide specialist staff to deliver those functions. you should conduct a feasibility analysis of potential vendors. Integrating with your other internal systems may be crucial. Pricing models for synchronous technologies vary widely. Prices for synchronous e-Learning services have generally declined over the past few years. These range from the logistical to the pedagogical to the technological. A few of the most common pricing structures are: • Monthly subscription: a monthly fee for a certain number of simultaneous seats on an external ASP system • Annual fee: a yearly license charge for internal hosting and unlimited volume • Per minute. require low initial investment. Most Web conferencing systems assume an integrated self-service model. at a price. The typical advantages to internal hosting are integration with your other internal systems. you may need to have resources capable of also providing face-to-face and asynchronous online methods. LDAP directories. You’ll typically want as seamless an end-user process as possible for learners and system administrators. there are also challenges and limitations to consider. the number of users. especially for global events. • Logistical: Time zone differences are significant for live training. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 11 . and are affected by whether you host internally or use an ASP structure. Learning Content Management System. Whether to host internally or externally is a complex issue. or ASP model). CRM. evaluation and assessment system. offer helpdesk support. simplified vendor relationships. Some vendors offer both models. Additional discussion of these points in Chapter 2 may be useful to you. sometimes offer better performance through integration with specialist global content distribution networks. • Pedagogical: Synchronous e-Learning requires the resources and know-how for effective design. per user. pay as you go: a popular ASP structure for low volume users or new users testing the water.

synchronous e-Learning tools are extremely flexible and adaptable to many different learning opportunities. You’ll find additional discussion of these points and many others affecting production in Chapters 4. Respect global cultural differences. How can I best integrate these systems technologically? How can I best implement and operate these systems within my organization? And how can I best create and deliver engaging and effective learning? We will address these questions in the chapters that follow. and 6. firewall.” “facilitators are not usually skilled in synchronous remote delivery techniques. most require stable connections and high bandwidth. Although some online synchronous tools can scale down for modem users. As this chapter has described. The biggest benefits for learners were listed as.” “collaboration and social learning with other learners. protocol. • Technological: Bandwidth is crucial.” The subject areas reported most commonly covered were technical training. or connections.” and “reduced time away from work or home. Identify your audience.” The biggest disadvantages were listed as “technical problems with hardware. set-up.” “reduced travel costs. 5. identify and embrace how trainees respond variously to virtual synchronous approaches. software. Their personalized nature and collaborative potential will continue to advance the increasingly mixed formal and informal learning patterns and progressively more network-oriented workplace environments of the future. and company policies and procedures — although it is pertinent to note a focus on soft skills development and HR-related issues as well.INTRODUCTION TO SYNCHRONOUS E-LEARNING | CHAPTER 1 Existing face-to-face course designs will need to be repurposed for the more interactive requirements of the virtual classroom. product knowledge.” and “bandwidth limitations. and file type policies with your IT representatives. The widespread and rapid adoption of synchronous e-Learning approaches indicates the significant advantages that they offer. Will you need a cross-platform. business skills. Consider also the firmwide impact on your network of multiple simultaneous users. The challenge they represent for us as learning specialists remains threefold. Summary The September 2005 e-Learning Guild research report I referenced earlier indicated that about 90% of respondents had participated in a synchronous e-Learning event. desktop applications.” “too little learner engagement or interactivity. “immediate interaction and feedback from live instructors and SMEs. “Death by PowerPoint” will reduce learning effectiveness and create negative connotations among learners. Expect to invest in a program for training trainers on designing and developing use of these tools. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 12 . cross-browser solution? Coordinate any reconfiguration or restrictions on port.

Inc. Event Center. “Since ABOUT CANON U. Imaging Systems Group Canon U. Headquarters Lake Success. The sales people can then use the software as if it were on their own desktops. Director and Assistant General Manager. accelerates time-to-market with WebEx. Marketing the new products through its existing dealer network. I knew it was the answer to our training problem.S. “I immediately requested that all computers be shipped to Canon headquarters so I could set up our own remote training lab. Canon began reformulating its Imaging Systems Group objectives to address a mature copier market. we’ve accelerated our time-to-market at a rate that our competitors can’t match. a solution that was too inefficient. they were reluctant to outfit their showrooms with software to conduct training at each Canon dealer location. then easily train by enabling the dealer sales people to connect to the machines remotely. Canon also maintains a deep commitment to social and environmental responsibility. —Mitch Bardwell. The only other choice was to send sales reps to a Canon regional training center.000 sales professionals at Canon business technology and office product dealer companies. Support Center and Meeting Center Canon U. the Imaging Systems Group supports a sales force of 8.” recalls Mitch Bardwell. Inc. INC. is an industry leader in professional business and consumer imaging equipment and information systems. Bardwell was able to simultaneously connect dealers across the country to the lab computers located at Canon headquarters and conduct interactive trainings on both software and hardware solutions. but they are hardware-oriented and didn’t have strong software competencies. The applications include using WebEx Event Center for product launches. Canon U.000 TARGET MARKET Businesses.S.S.. NY Number of employees 11. With seven regional centers located throughout the Americas. Canon has adopted the entire suite of WebEx solutions for a number of applications across its enterprise. expensive. While comparing several products. This involved developing document management and workflow solutions that would provide an additional revenue stream while also driving copier sales. Meeting Center for customer meetings. Imaging equipment and information systems LINE OF BUSINESS WEBEX SERVICE IN USE SUMMARY Training Center. Sales Training Division. “When I realized that Hands On Lab would make it possible for Canon dealers to access computers with Canon software remotely. Canon now brings sales of new software applications to market faster than ever. Using the Training Center Hands On Lab feature. he discovered that WebEx Training Center had a unique feature called Hands On Lab.WebEx Customer Success Story Because WebEx allows us to train large numbers of dealers effectively.A. our dealers were not experienced in selling software. Inc. and dealers WebEx Customer Since 2004 . Canon had computers installed in dedicated training rooms at three corporate regional training centers.” says Bardwell. needed to find an effective method to provide easily accessible training of its new software solutions to its 8. and impractical to implement across its dealer network. “The WebEx Training Center Hands On Lab feature gives us the ability to load the appropriate software on our lab computers.000 people in a dealer network. The following story focuses on Canon’s initial implementation of WebEx Training Center and how its integration dramatically transformed the company’s business processes.A. however. Ranked as one of the top 100 US brands.S. was challenging. WebEx Training Center makes it possible for Canon to deliver hands-on training to thousands of dealer sales professionals throughout the Americas while optimizing critical company resources. At the time.” The Challenge In early 2000.. Director and Assistant General Manager of the Sales Training Division at Canon’s Imaging Systems Group. Bardwell says.. resulting in increased revenue streams and a greater competitive edge A subsidiary of Japan-based Canon.” The Solution The training challenge led Bardwell to investigate online training solutions.A.” he says. consumers. “Our dealers had been very successful selling our copiers and digital MFP’s.. and Support Center for remote support and product demonstrations.A.

408.” He adds. innovative technology. To accommodate the increase in training demand. has been continually impressed by the WebEx commitment to customer service. blended training approach that leverages different learning methods according to content type. All rights reserved. the dealer calls a Canon field analyst for assistance.” We cut our instructor-led application workshop from three days to one by creating a hybrid event that’s much more effective than the original multi-day in-person event. Bardwell reports.200 sales people in 30 days so Canon software products can be included in this quarter’s sales. Santa Clara. • Canon used WebEx Training Center to implement a new blended training approach that has accelerated and improved training. elevated the level of knowledge of its dealers and instructors.S. field analysts now conduct detailed online demonstrations that answer dealers’ and end customers’ specific questions.496. They deliver one-or two-hour trainings to approximately eight dealer sales people at a time. The Future As a result of Bardwell’s successful WebEx training strategy and the resulting increased adoption of document management solutions. field analysts had to travel to assist with each sale.” says Bardwell. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. There’s less need for travel and we’ve improved instructor knowledge of customer applications.” Bardwell remarks. and optimized its field experts’ time. “Because WebEx allows us to train large numbers of dealers effectively.A. HIGHLIGHTS • To provide new software training. Our analysts perform the virtual demonstrations online from wherever they are. made learning more manageable for trainees. Inc.435.” Canon has taken advantage of WebEx to adopt a new. “WebEx lets us do things faster. regional training centers. is designed to give all attendees the opportunity to delve further into specific topics of the application workshop via WebEx. it was not feasible or cost-effective for dealers to send all of their sales people to Canon U. When a prospective sale involves sophisticated applications.S. “We have been called upon to train 1. which takes place after the instructor-led workshop.7000 Fax: 1. so their exposure to real customer applications was limited. CA 95054 USA Tel: +1. Two selfpaced online courses with quizzes prepare trainees for the face-to-face instructor-led event.Canon also uses Training Center to conduct virtual product demonstrations that are key to the sales process with its end customers. the instructor gains tremendous insight to customer needs and Canon solutions. Canon U. Bardwell plans to expand the number of WebEx Training Center Hands On Lab computers “We also intend to start nationwide dealer launch training on new software solutions as they’re introduced. • Virtual demonstrations saved Canon significant travel costs.” says Bardwell. “Using WebEx. “We cut our instructor-led application workshop from three days to one by creating a hybrid event that’s much more effective than the original multi-day in-person event. “In the past..” he says.” states Bardwell.” he says. Inc. The only way we can do it is with the WebEx Hands On Lab solution. —Mitch Bardwell. Bardwell recalls. 20 Canon field instructors have been trained on WebEx. we now train approximately 40 sales professionals at Canon dealers each month. Conducting virtual demonstrations with WebEx helps Canon improve the knowledge of its instructors while optimizing its field experts’ time. Inc. With WebEx. “Knowing we had a solid training solution like WebEx in place to train an unlimited amount of representatives with no travel costs eased our dealers’ apprehension about selling the software products. The instructor can then bring that customer experience right into the classroom. This approach has accelerated training rollouts. Imaging Systems Group The Benefits WebEx has transformed Canon’s training model.408. One of Canon’s dealer channels recently included the document management solutions products in its President’s Club incentive program to ensure salespeople focus on the new product line.A. “Now when a virtual demo is set up and conducted by the field analyst we always have an instructor on the call. 0309SS0806 . Director and Assistant General Manager. we’ve accelerated our time-to-market at a rate that our competitors can’t match.4353 ©2006 WebEx Communications. Today. which is the most important competitive advantage for any company. which means we’re training many more dealers in a lot less time at a lot less cost. Sales Training Division. “In the past.” WebEx avoids lost opportunity costs that constant traveling can create. The next part of the course. 3979 Freedom Circle. and improved the overall quality of training Canon delivers. ”Many of our dealers were resistant to taking on Canon’s document management products. demand for training is quickly growing. increasing the speed with which the company trains dealer salespeople while saving tens of thousands of dollars a year in travel and lost opportunity costs. saving Canon a tremendous amount of time and money. “Now our field experts spend their time doing more important things than traveling. it was very difficult for field instructors to go on sales calls and demos. By observing the demo. WebEx and the WebEx logo are registered trademarks of WebEx Communications. CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS: WebEx Communications.” he says.” he says.

ask and answer questions. I found that synchronous collaboration software products did not automatically create good training. that the software does provide good instructional resources. and messages on screen. Based on their practice exercises and test scores. This chapter is an extensive overview of synchronous e-Learning and how to get started with it. I prepared and loaded my materials and tested everything in advance. Since then. and demonstrate the software features on screen. Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional Some philosophy about synchronous e-Learning Not everyone “bought into” synchronous e-Learning right away. It’s up to me to create a new style of learning environment and effective learning relationships. distance learning has appealed to me. Let’s look at some of the reasons. I experimented. I’d say they’ve learned quite a bit in a short time. Students in California or Hong Kong can see the files. It’s going well. but I didn’t think it was possible for this new technology to re-create the kind of learning environments I could build in a classroom. It took some time for me to feel competent in using the functions of the synchronous online software tools. Elluminate 7. and review common objections to synchronous e-Learning and how to answer them. demonstrations. An uneven beginning Ask 20 people in your organization what they expect from training and you’ll get 20 answers. however. Now. help you evaluate the different Web conferencing features popular for e-Learning use. examples. Indeed. What makes this class different from any other? After three sessions online. share my ideas about your role in this new world. WebEx. I did find.CHAPTER 2 G E T T I N G S TA R T E D | C H A P T E R 2 Getting Started By Karen Hyder I ’ve been teaching a group of analysts from a financial services firm how to use their new contact management software to track customer contact. practiced a lot. I’ve also included executive summaries of a few of the Web conferencing tools. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 15 . and that my students couldn’t or wouldn’t participate. which you will find in Appendix A. with a few clicks of my mouse. and none of us have to leave our desks. Managers are eager for employees to improve skills. I feared that the interface would seem sterile and cold. Contents In Chapter 2 you will find information about: • Some philosophy about synchronous e-Learning • Synchronous e-Learning application features • A new role: The Producer • Objections to online training • Executive Summaries from: Centra. and was soon ready to go. I’ll begin with some philosophy. I still haven’t met any of my students. I’m teaching a synchronous online course. and my students are in offices around the world. I’m here in upstate New York. I can teach anything from right here in my office in my house. How I learned to love synchronous e-Learning I worked as a training road warrior for Ziff Davis Education in the mid ‘90s and taught technical and soft-skills courses in thirty-two states and twelve countries. I invited students to a real session. I display the PowerPoint file that came with the courseware. I use a variety of instructional methods. in much the same way that using Microsoft Word doesn’t automatically create good documents. in the middle of a cornfield.

” At the same time. They just lectured. and drop off. They reframed their job. We thought it was obvious that we’d never be able to walk around to a student’s equipment to observe problems and offer solutions. Many trainers and educators didn’t like the virtual classroom. educators. and managers. Endless PowerPoint slides and hectic schedules ensured that learners would “log in. they are part of the context of how we learn. They prompted attendees to mute their phones and type any questions in Chat. Desks. employees who touch customers most frequently — technical support staff and sales engineers — quickly adopted online tools to answer questions and solve problems. They lectured and advanced slides. They created live sessions. magic pills rarely live up to the claims. They could present slides and demonstrate features of their products in real time. so the presenter could respond to them at the end. Other trainers logged on and lectured using the minimum of what was available. Early adopters of synchronous online tools had mixed success. virtual classroom tools. check out. Many training managers dismissed the online tools as unusable or impractical due to the high costs of licensing. Few of us believed that we could ever recreate the “feel” of the face-to-face experience. Engineers found that they could do more demos per day. Sales engineers found that online tools made their work easier because they could control what the user was seeing. and they make it possible for online distance learning to emulate a classroom learning experience. Those who were most successful worked with the online tools in order to support what they wanted to do. Synchronous online training software. because they felt they couldn’t connect with learners. They make it possible for many students to meet online at the same time with an instructor. and connect to buyers quickly and directly. and fully functional place to deliver their message clearly and effectively. Users and trainers would need dedicated technical support. The instruction was lower quality than oldfashioned CBT (Computer-Based Training) tutorials and required more setup. learners. comfortable. Technicians could correct problems remotely. but the learners found the sessions horribly boring and slow. We’d miss the subtle cues of body language. there were many who ignored the features of the tools and never looked at their content from an instructional design point of view. the learning curve for trainers and users. CFOs want to reduce the costs of sending everyone to a classroom for eight hours at a time and they want to improve productivity. The trouble is that decision makers know that. It’s natural for us to imag- The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 16 . Eventually eager trainers looked at the strategies used in both successful and unsuccessful online sessions and adopted some best practices from what they saw there. The notion of doing this has long been a fantasy of trainers. Sales and help desk technicians don’t consider what they do to be training. and we’d never be able to tell whether the learners were actually learning. chairs. Help desk calls became less frustrating when technicians could instruct callers to share their own application and could obtain a direct view of error messages and anomalies. for hours at a time. and Web conferencing applications are three different names for essentially the same thing. even among the eager adopters. Unfortunately. and books have been fundamental elements of our learning environments. from being a content provider to becoming a context creator. The managers decided the tools weren’t worth the cost and the effort required. too. while things look great in the ad. and bandwidth problems — especially in the “last mile” between the network and the users’ connections.G E T T I N G S TA R T E D | C H A P T E R 2 while employees want to understand new concepts and to be able to apply them confidently. They created an entirely new. Instructors are context creators We’ve been taking desks for granted. People often saddle training with expectations that make it the magic pill for all the organization’s problems — just like the magic pills in infomercials. or shared applications.

discuss. it can be challenging to capture the level of “connectedness” that comes naturally in the classroom. Like every training modality that has come before — classroom. But a high “smile” rating is no guarantee that students will be able to apply what they have learned back on the job. Amazon. We must measure results on a new scale. When the door closes. not only do we not have desks in a classroom. In online sessions. We must trust that they will focus on the lesson. and can create a comfortable and engaging learning context. In online training sessions. Synchronous e-Learning application features Here’s a quick introduction to the range of features and resources available in synchronous online learning tools. CBT. like relationships with a remote teammate or distant family member. and test drive the software with your materials to ensure functionality before you sign a licensing agreement. In online sessions. humor. To create an appropriate context for an online session. The only key to effective synchronous e-Learning is held by two groups of individuals: instructional designers and instructors. books are rare. for the most part. Learning relationships. there are certain established ground rules for how learners behave and interact in that environment. and correspondence courses — there’s no guarantee the online training session will automatically translate into learning. We can’t even see the trainer or each other while we learn. Instructional designers create the structure and the goals and provide tools that support the trainers as they deliver and evaluate learning. everyone else listens. but if you’ve ever seen a great classroom trainer. Because we cannot rely on body language to indicate subtleties in meaning. although we might sometimes feel it hinders it. you know that what they do is way beyond what’s written in the book. and plan activities to engage learners and confirm learning. and adaptability to a session. Trainers need to think beyond the outmoded physical aspects of a classroom. We cannot keep learners locked in a classroom or compel them to participate. so be sure to carefully compare feature availability and importance to you. Quick-thinking trainers rework instructional design on the fly when technical problems limit participant activities. learn to use the online tools and resources that are available to you and to your learners. and eBay. learners are easily distracted from the online session by an unimaginable number of things that never affected the in-person classroom. the trainer cannot physically establish his leadership role. There are new ground rules. The trainer speaks and. new vocabularies that are unique to new modalities for learning. and we sit in seats and face the front. and in many cases. Many of the products allow 14-day free trials as well as live demonstra- The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 17 . Hiring managers admit that subject matter expertise and a good personality are key factors in the selection of trainers. we must be more direct. Instructional designers identify learning objectives. Distance does not prevent communication. We understand these conventions. Training builds on solid instructional design. require special effort and different tools and resources than the ones we use when in the same room. and instead create learning relationships with session participants using the resources that are available to them in synchronous online software or virtual classroom tools. Many training organizations evaluate learners and trainers using “smile sheets” so that a “fun” class in which time flies often equates to a successful learning session. A trainer can bring real-life experience. Every product is different. everyone is isolated (if we’re lucky) from the world for eight hours of immersion in the topic of the day. develop materials. In traditional instructor-led classroom training. and practice.G E T T I N G S TA R T E D | C H A P T E R 2 ine ourselves sitting in classrooms where learners and teachers come together in one room to observe. Only a click away from e-mail.

Third party entrepreneurs such as Encounter Collaborative (www. such as Centra Live and Saba. too. If you’re not sure what volume you’ll run at. Forecast how regularly you’ll use the online software. look at Learning Management Systems. InterWise.com/uc/livemeeting/default. Smaller groups might choose a hosted model where they just use the software. If you need help getting set up. However. and what’s it worth to get it. every month. how to prepare for using the features. supporting it with internal IT staff members. This is perfect if you only present an online session once in a while.elluminate. ask for ramp-up pricing so the licensing grows as user adoption grows. but don’t maintain it.G E T T I N G S TA R T E D | C H A P T E R 2 tions on demand. LMSs provide ways to communicate with learners before. Sidebar 2-1 Links to free online trials WebEx Free trial http://www. you will see these functions again and again. Event Producers can post supportive materials and independent exercises as well as generate reports on registrations. and the number of participants you’ll have every session.adobe.webex. Learning Management System considerations While shopping for software. Large corporations might license and install the online software so that it runs from inside the company.mspx Elluminate Live! http://www. Elluminate.microsoft. or unlimited use. compared to the names I use here. interfaces like Centra. • A whiteboard to brainstorm a list of ideas.jsp Adobe Acrobat Connect https://onlineservices. they may also offer event services.com/account/?prod=Adobe-com Making the connection Unlike basic audio conference calls. As you read this book. To streamline your processes.net) and communiqueconferencing (www.asp) are an option where you can sometimes find less expensive rates than licensing directly from the software publisher. they will be in a different context — how to design an event with the features in mind. or every year. and after synchronous online sessions.saba. most products tend to address the various functions. to monthly limited. Your vendor can offer pricing from a few cents per minute per attendee. Learn more about linking to an LMS in Chapter 7 of this book.) The different Web conferencing software products package these features in different ways. and WebEx offer standard conferencing tools that support effective instructional methods to appeal to a wide variety of learning styles. in between. • Application sharing. (See Sidebar 2-1 for links to free trials and demonstrations. each time you see them. LearnLinc. Licensing Vendors offer flexible licensing plans and a broad range of pricing to suit small and uber-large groups. consider products that are designed to work together. Live Meeting. how many sessions might be running at the same time.encounter.com/products/centra/trial/index. Discuss with your team what you need.com/webinar. attendance. and how to manage the features during the event. Some examples of the functions available and a few of their virtual classroom uses are: • A slide or file display that allows the instructor to show students PowerPoint slides or other files.com/free_trial.communiqueconferencing. so the instructor can do a software demonstration from one computer that can be seen by every attendee. Tip: Synchronous software providers often have a preferred LMS partner. and test scores. You may find that certain features have different names across the range of products. These third parties also offer conference call services you can roll into your agreement.asp Microsoft Live Meeting http://www. a team of Producers to help you ensure a great session. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 18 .com/go/choosetrial Centra Live Free Trial http://www. Nevertheless.

• Annotation. photographs. Ann Kwinn will talk about some of them in a design context in Chapter 3. to allow sidebar Q & A. Often referred to as informational cycle slides or “tweens. • Instant feedback. students and presenters can attend your virtual classroom on the Web in the same way they would go to any other URL. In fact. Another use of slides is similar to the advertising and trivia shown at movie theaters before the lights are turned down and the preview clips begin. • The same files and poll questions can be reused from one session to the next. to give you an idea about what each is like. by using this feature the instructor can also show sample documents created in Word. • The process of setting up a new session need only be done once. Everyone has done these things by now. Here’s a closer look at these functions and features. 5. • Polling. Slide or file display You can use slides to help organize your content for presentation and to manage the flow of ideas. remember to be very clear about the instructions and log in information. most products let you use the slides you already have.G E T T I N G S TA R T E D | C H A P T E R 2 • Tool access. There are several advantages to using persistent meeting rooms including: • Files and activities can be loaded days or weeks in advance. graphs. This is similar to having a conference call number and pass code that never changes. user ID and Password for each session. Often. without requiring the instructor’s immediate attention. (You may need to convert files to a format that can be used by the software.” this is a PowerPoint slide set created to run automatically and provide instructions and information to learners joining a synchronous or asynchronous session. (See Figure 2-1. • Peer-to-peer Chat. Hold this thought: When you prepare information packages that will go out to learners before the class. Here’s another thought: More software vendors are now offering an “always on” or “persistent” meeting room option that an individual or team can use and reuse for every meeting. Then I’ll expand on these ideas in Chapters 4. to confirm the appropriateness of the pace and the content. I will have more to say about this in Chapters 5 and 6. and they may support custom animations in PowerPoint. or HTML format. to focus students’ attention on a specific area of the screen. (Your login interface may be different.) Using only a browser.) What it’s like: PowerPoint slides. • Student and trainer Chat. and several others. Flash. Familiar log-in Figure 2-1 Login to a virtual classroom is very simple. Anticipate that 5%-10% will still need assistance on the phone or in Chat. I’ve also made some suggestions (“Hold this thought”) that might get you thinking now about things you can do in order to use them most effectively. and 6. • Participant privileges and custom settings will remain set continuously. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 19 . to get students to connect with other students. so the instructor can share the ability to use tools and functions of the online interface with students or other trainers.) What it’s like: Shopping online and logging into an account. to gain consensus or perform quick learning assessments. • Participants use the same Login link. Bulleted lists. and screen captures help participants follow along. Cycle slides make use of that awkward pre-start time by welcoming early attendees and helping them get set up.

elearningguild. What it’s like: It’s like writing on the whiteboard in a physical classroom. can select the access level for each of the invitees so that two or more trainers can take turns delivering.G E T T I N G S TA R T E D | C H A P T E R 2 Perfect for those frantic five minutes when the instructor is handling a tech support call or stepping out to use the loo. You. In Chapter 6.swf. See Figure 2-2 for the annotation toolbar. Post the agenda. you will want to be sure the co-presenter roles. show reminders. What it’s like: Team teaching. You can save the data to review or reuse later. and provides clarification for others who may not have heard the answers. sketch. With a whiteboard. we could’ve used this to solve that problem that came up last week. except the instructor has to draw with a mouse pointer. Peer-to-peer Chat Chat gives participants direct access to each other via text messaging. annotate important points. offer links to bandwidth tests. You can also lighten the tone by adding music or comics. instructors can encourage students to share ideas and comments through brainstorming. What it’s like: It reminds me of passing notes in third grade. There are also options that give all participants (almost) equal control. The instructor can also use the whiteboard to sketch or annotate your visual examples. similar to coffee break comments. Here’s another thought: To ensure smooth transitions. It’s also like nudging your coworker in the ribs saying. This promotes interaction. ask questions. When instructors are sharing the stage. Simply type your response back to the student. Students can contribute verbally. Whiteboard Figure 2-2 Whiteboard annotation tools allow users to type onto the board. or the training coordinator who sets up the session. and create quizzes or polling slides. and type their responses on the whiteboard. Logging into an online session is a much smaller commitment than attending a class in person. I’ll show the instructors who are reading this how to post an image to annotate instead of sketching. Hold this thought: You can say a lot in 10 slides. More about this in Chapters 5 and 6.net/tweens/OLF36Tweens_nl. you can also create “break out” sessions where students work through a scenario and report their results to the group. Tool access and sharing The leader or leaders of the session control the images and tools that all online participants see. Student-to-trainer Chat Students are able to direct questions and ask for clarification without interrupting the flow of the class. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 20 . Hold this thought: Tap into your resources and invite an expert to share their insight with the class. like time limits. thus providing a forum for sidebar conversations and comments. “Hey.” Hold this thought: Some products allow you to turn off the Chat feature to avoid inappropriate use. validates student input. In some tools. and erase. Hold this thought: It’s not as easy as you may think it is. are defined and agreed upon in advance. which is quite different from drawing with an actual pencil or pen. We’ve put the tween set we use for Guild Online Events on the Web at http://www. but cannot control the tools. They can display files. to draw lines and geometric figures. prompt for last-minute questions. they have to make agreements about who will cover which portions and when they’ll switch roles. give instructions for using basic features of the software. but is ideally used for course-relevant side conversations.

you can invite a fellow trainer or subject matter expert to moderate the Chat questions on your behalf. speed up. circling or underlining words. (See Figure 2-4. or clarify. It’s a good idea to use a polling slide about every ten minutes to build interaction. students can respond by clicking on the option of their choice. or just when you need it. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 21 . A poll usually consists of a question and two or more possible answers. participants can give presenters instant feedback without interrupting the presentation. Click on the slide when you’re ready to use it. When the question is set to Multiple Answers.) What it’s like: Observing body language that indicates a student needs help. What it’s like: Quizzing. Are there specific questions I can answer?” or send a Chat message offering assistance. students can change an option on their screens to alert the trainer to slow down. Chat allows them to do this without having to un-mute the phone. Create impact with annotation tools by drawing arrows to a particular object on the screen. how each participant responded. or adding text on the fly. Hold this thought: This is sometimes called an “on-the-fly Poll. gathering opinions. in some cases. or to share comments such as how they might apply the new skill or use the feature at work. Instructors can manage the content and sequence efficiently by not addressing every question immediately. Hold this thought: This is essentially the same as using the whiteboard. setting questions aside with the intent of answering them later. See Figure 2-5 on page 22. The instructor can say. To keep the session moving along quickly. If your mouse drawing skills are limited. this dialog allows the instructor to create a poll slide. You can create a poll prior to the session. (Status feature from Adobe Acrobat Connect. “I see a red indicator telling me someone needs clarification on that last section. you can create a slide with the graphic partially completed. and simply make annotations or allow the participants to do so.) Once it’s displayed. respondents can choose every option.G E T T I N G S TA R T E D | C H A P T E R 2 What it’s like: Parking of questions — that is. The Multiple Choice option will limit the number of possible answers to one. Some tools limit the number of answers to six or seven. What it’s like: The coach showing the offensive and defensive plays. The interface will display the percentages of the responses and. Instant feedback Figure 2-3 By using “Status” icons. Participants can also use annotation tools in interactive exercises. Hold this thought: It’s a good idea to give a basic intro to how Chat works and encourage students to ask questions of the instructor or of the moderator. quick needs analysis. It also reminds me of a flight attendant call button. (See Figure 2-3. Annotation Figure 2-4 In Live Meeting. Hold this thought: You can plan and create polls in advance to build meaningful lesson introductions and evaluations.” Polling An easy way to create interaction is to display a poll that students can respond to.) The comment I hear most from trainers about teaching online is that they miss being able to connect with students by observing behavior and asking “How’s it going?” Using instant feedback features.

portions of asynchronous training tools. VHS tapes. Programs with sharing features let you see a student’s screen to coach his performance or reach right through the interface and make adjustments on his PC once he’s given you permission. and it also increases engagement. “Why would you want to keep track of this contact’s ID/Status?” This promotes learning. or your own examples. if you want students to complete an online form. you know that there are times when it would be particularly useful to be able to see what the caller is trying to explain. Like demonstrations. group surfing lets you move around on your machine. include questions you can ask that will prompt students’ verbal participation.G E T T I N G S TA R T E D | C H A P T E R 2 Multimedia content Vary your instructional methods and engage student interest by showing AVI. Group Web surfing Figure 2-5 A PowerPoint slide with a customized Word Search game. or demos. VoIP users may experience a choppy audio sound most frequently attributed to their Internet connection speed. it’s possible to snap wandering students back from the Web and into your session with a single mouse click. Integrated telephony and VolP You can handle the audio portion of the course — that is. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 22 . What it’s like: Filmstrips. Flash. What it’s like: Using a projector or big TV screen to walk through the steps before students try on their own. They will directly link to the form. Hold this thought: When you design a live demonstration that may be lengthy. such as touring complex dialog boxes. marketing materials. When you navigate to a Web site. Over-the-shoulder application sharing If you’ve ever worked on a Help desk. some software applications support Voice over IP (VoIP) technology where voice is transferred over the Internet making use of the microphone and speakers on each user’s PC. Keep the clips short and highly relevant. WebEx participants were invited to use annotation tools to review vocabulary words. Also. Hold this thought: In some tools. displaying to your students what you see on your screen. you can take them to the URL and drop them off. the voices of the presenter and the participants — with a simultaneous conference call. or other action clips. Hold this thought: Assure participants they can take back control and end the share access at any time. Teams can view and make changes to shared files. Participants see how software functions as the trainer performs the actual clicks. For example. What it’s like: Providing technical support to someone when deciphering the “whooziewhatsit” and “thingamajigger” breakdowns from a hundred miles away. Check your software product information for a list of supported file types. Hold this thought: You can use clips from Help files. each student can interact directly with the site. Participants tend to surf away to something else if they lose interest. Live demonstrations This feature is useful in software training. What it’s like: Being a tour guide in a brewery and providing samples to visitors.

their test scores. You’ll be amazed by the difference waiting longer after questions can make. LMSs can also provide places and formats to support additional materials including assignments. and Chat rooms (an interface where individuals type messages to those who are logged in and those who will log in later.G E T T I N G S TA R T E D | C H A P T E R 2 Using either method (or both) participants see and hear the same thing at the same time and can participate as they would on a phone-based conference call. Hold this thought: You’ll want to keep the focus on the learning. Hold this thought: This recording can be added to a Web site and used asynchronously. Remember that. many learners The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 23 . or LMSs) Built-in and proprietary tools are available to track test scores. three seconds to get the courage to answer. You can find out which courses this student has taken. Formalize your evaluation process by generating. In addition to registration and tracking. clips. At the beginning of the actual session. For example. tutorials.) What it’s like: A teacher’s grade book and school transcripts. Plan questions to ask that will create mild interaction. What it’s like: A conference call. rather than your “diligent-typist-who-needs-new-prescription-lenses” face. and three seconds to “unMute” their audio and answer the question. Record and play back the video and/or audio portion of the session Many Web conferencing tools allow you to digitally capture a visual and audio record of the session for review or reuse. To better prepare students for an online session. three seconds to think of an answer. What it’s like: Star Trek. Hold this thought: Provide call etiquette information as part of the invitation you send to each participant. administering. Registration. The images are much smaller than the View Screen on the Bridge. Figure 2-6 Use a tip slide to help participants use VoIP Audio controls in Adobe Connect. The reason for this is that it takes students three seconds to realize a question was asked. after the session. If you want to see multiple participants. Provide a slide that explains how to use VoIP controls (see Figure 2-6). testing and grading (Learning Management Systems. and find out who’s attending online sessions. ask each participant to state his or her name before asking questions or making comments. Video integration Video integration allows participants and instructor to both see and hear each other on screen. If you’re going to be seen AND heard. automate registration. attach a pre-course assessment tool directly to the automated confirmation email. Hold this thought: It’s a good practice to make a note of every question your students ask in this course. wait twelve seconds for response. “What data points would you want to collect that Act! does not already have a field for?” When you ask a question. just change channels. not the production. Start with that list when writing test questions. What it’s like: Videotaping your class with the camera focused on the slides and demos. Also called threaded discussions. show students your supportive-customer-service face. but the idea is the same. along with your customized agenda and online etiquette guide. Talk to your software vendor about how to best support your learners and trainers. and their completed assignments. and scoring quizzes and practice exams and by tracking student assignments.

making a plan. as well as the participants. Set the date for the pilot To begin with. I’d like to ask you to put yourself in this new online session Producer role. and you’ll have time to strengthen any weak spots in the design. I’m referring to the role responsible for the functional and administrative aspects of the overall event. Map the process My recommendation is that the Producer should immediately begin to create a list or mind map of all the steps. Also. the Producer is always ready with Plan B in case of emergency. (Note: a mind map is an organically grown and organized group of ideas used to facilitate and support brainstorming. panelists. When I refer to the Producer. The Producer will rework his or her thinking. What does a Producer do? The Producer has a long list of responsibilities. or use a physical whiteboard to lay The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 24 .) Creating a mind map will help you organize a very detailed. Microsoft Live Meeting. but the pilot performance will not impact “real” learners. the Producer sets a reasonable target date for a pilot session. This is in contrast to delivery of training. the content. A new role: the Producer So you think you’re ready to tackle the challenge of delivering training and presentations online? Are you itching to try a synchronous software tool like WebEx. or any of the many other products now available? Welcome to a new world! In the training or education world you have been used to. there were instructors. The objective of the pilot is to have a “dry run” session with a select group of colleagues or volunteer students.G E T T I N G S TA R T E D | C H A P T E R 2 need help applying what they have learned in class back at work. In synchronous e-Learning you will find that a new role or position is called for: the online session Producer. non-linear production process. Adapt methods to the virtual classroom The Producer knows that very few of the traditional classroom processes and methods will work the same way in the virtual classroom. successful session. Thinking things through. the content. and there were (if you were lucky) media specialists to help you prepare all the support materials. the designer/presenter/trainer/speaker will often play the role of Producer. As you read the next part of this chapter. The Producer’s job is to be sure that the software. With support from an LMS. I’m going to shorten that to just “the Producer” and I’m going to capitalize the title because it is a key role. and assigning roles and tasks will improve your likelihood of getting it right the first time. can get up and running and have a relevant. it is simple to follow up with previous students to offer additional support and training opportunities tailored to their specific needs. Realistically. tools. too. there were designers. Use software such as Mindjet (http://www. the presenters. Adobe Acrobat Connect.com/us/). Centra. I’m going to list the bigger ones here. “to-do’s. A mind map shows visual relationships between entries. in more-or-less chronological order.” and general housekeeping duties. The pressure of a target date will develop a certain momentum for the real event. Elluminate. and adapt traditional classroom methods to the new environment. and obstacles to overcome.mindjet. and speakers. or the instructor preparation before the debut.

I recommend accepting 90%. You will find it in Appendix B of this book. the Producer manages the technology to allow the presenter(s) to focus on the content and the learners. and whether participants will register though a Learning Management System (LMS). aka speaker. as a guide for your own map. that all files are available. or list. Support the event The Producer supports the synchronous software interface before and during the event. This mind map. that is: what happens next when something fails. The Producer supports the presenter. students. aka learners. During the session. The Producer confirms that all participants can log in to the session. about the need to create invitations. software. by ensuring that they are prepared to learn in this new environment. The Producer sends invitations with critical installation and log in information. Everyone will be looking to the Producer. and being realistic about the factors you cannot affect. such as.INTRODUCTION TO SYNCHRONOUS E-LEARNING | CHAPTER 2 out your mind map. users are added. The Producer and presenter rehearse. The Producer will also follow a script or storyboard that indicates when to perform certain steps during the session. The level of detail can extend to decisions about how to present information. see Chapter 3 for more about developing and adapting materials for synchronous online sessions. and connectivity and audio are optimized. the Producer should treat that as a separate area of consideration or a separate project. Start developing Plan B wherever you see an opportunity for something to go wrong. you must have a well-thought-out plan ready in the wings or you will have dead air. polls are set up.” Whether your training materials need to be created new or just need tweaking. not necessarily the content. Examine what attention each area will require. If the instructional design calls for a small group discussion. attendees. The Producer ensures that the presenter can do what he has planned. or training material that needs to be attended to in the preparation in order to create an environment where learners can be successful. must be as detailed as the Producer can manage. “Move to Slide 5 and start application sharing. and situations and will likely include the same general areas as the example. Even experienced trainers often need an extra pair of hands when presenting online. and the Producer will fill it in as his or her perspective broadens. For example: What if a participant can’t view the PowerPoint slides on screen? Plan B might involve having e-mailed the file to all participants ahead of time. Or it could involve asking the participant to follow along on the audio portion of the call (teleconference) until his machine reboots. or mind map. and see and hear to at least a 90% quality level. Producers will need to create the polls the design calls for. The Producer supports the session content by ensuring that the software tools support all learning activities. for example. files are converted and uploaded. the Producer decides how to manage it in the actual session. The Producer supports the participants. Review the three “LMS Tips” eBooks The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 25 . Think of every person. but the delivery. ensuring that everything works: sessions are created. The list. users. will vary for different Producers. As the Producer. aka trainer. and that the presenter is sufficiently competent in using the interface tools. or clients. The Producer is responsible for Plan B. connection. Prompt learners to click the Full Screen button. Get the LMS installed and thoroughly tested before scheduling synchronous sessions or adding users and content. I’ve provided a basic version of the mind map for my role as Producer of The eLearning Guild online events. Deal with the Learning Management System If also implementing a Learning Management System.

Live Meeting. I can even ask for low-level but specific feedback to impromptu questions such as. otherwise they are learning or not. I wanted to know how they planned to use the tools I would teach them . however. relying on body language and eye contact are very low-level feedback methods. probing questions and asking for specific responses. but have a solid foundation in human you’ll have better evidence that they are “with you” and whether performance technology and instructional design.” My response: Nope. or remote team members you’ve never met. to select responses in a poll. Also. It’s not impossible to build rapport. they cite the following objections to this new model for training and learning. it does require different activities. if they grow up organically. Invariably.” My response: You’re right. I need to ask questions that elicit a specific feedback response. Consider the relationships you have with out-of-town family and friends that you talk to on the phone. Learning & Development Rep. Kaiser-Termanente “Information architectures should be planned for. I like to ask questions such as. They reveal basic information such as: the learner is awake. That is. A trainer doesn’t need to wait for each person to take a turn responding. However. or the learner appears to agree with something. Send a survey by e-mail or ask participants to complete an online form declaring their learning needs for the course. Back in the days before my learners had e-mail. “How will you use this?” or “How is this LMS Implementation Tips like something else you’ve used?” You’ll be amazed at how much relevant information you can find out from your learners. Breeze (now Adobe Acrobat Connect). This means asking more challenging. Senior Systems Programmer/eLearning Strategist. We must figure out the ‘pain points’ around worker performance and see how an LMS can meet those needs. in order to get any feedback at all. the whole group benefits when no one participant can hijack the session by talking too much. Try this: Try not to set the expectation that it will be the same as the classroom. Look at the resources you have available to communicate better with your learners. Use a threaded discussion database and invite participants to post specific topics of interest or their own experience with the subject. I can’t argue with them — all these concerns are warranted. it’s a mess.” using emoticons or status indicators. It’s not the same. write out polls or open-ended Chat response Sidebar 2-2 questions to ask at predetermined points during your session. you cannot observe those things. GEICO Objection #2 “I can’t connect with learners and build rapport like I could in the classroom.” Katica Jacob. “Are you able to hear me? Please show Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down. Try this: “Seed” five new. and “Make sure that the people who are implementing an LMS are not just technical people. or to respond verbally using audio. But there is hope if you try the strategies that work. In online sessions. You’re right. Objection #1 “I’m not able to observe participants’ body language or eye contact to ensure that they are ‘with me’ and learning. the LMS becomes a database instead of a strategic tool. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 26 .G E T T I N G S TA R T E D | C H A P T E R 2 from The eLearning Guild for ideas and best practices.) Objections to online training I’ve introduced hundreds of subject matter experts and trainers to virtual classroom tools such as WebEx. Consider these additional benefits: participant responses using Chat and Polling come in all at the same time. and Elluminate. I can prompt learners to type responses in Chat. (See Sidebar 2-2 for two example tips. I wished I could send out pre-course surveys and ask them why they wanted to attend the session and what they hoped to learn.” Kathy Napierala. relevant questions.

Effective trainers use Chat. polling. Learners don’t want to stay logged in and listening to someone talk for eight hours. During these sessions. Learners can listen to this type of recording. They don’t like to be humiliated. see Chapter 3 on instructional systems design. The trainer can observe the learner’s discussion in the learning process. For more information on how to develop session content for online sessions. how to access materials. How will they know what to do or not do unless you tell them? Teach them how assignments are given. They only know classroom-style and cannot imagine how this will work. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 27 . the group can focus on the most discussion-oriented aspects of the course. and they can become frustrated if the process is slow or confusing. You ask: How do I cover the rest of the material? Practice activities. some learners have never learned this way before. Try this: Evaluate your session materials to determine which segments NEED to be delivered online with the trainer and which can be done independently. and reading assignments can be reworked into asynchronous (aka homework) activities where learners don’t need the support of the trainer and other students. often called a “Podcast” because learners download it and play it later using an Apple iPod™ or other MP3 audio playback device. Then. and audio features to compel participants to share ideas by typing. e-mail or post the recording for learners to view at their convenience. and answering polls throughout the session. tutorials.” My response: This reminds me of a favorite quote from Kevin Kelley of Wired Magazine: “The only factor becoming scarce in a world of abundance is human attention. Try this: Outline the ground rules up front. If just listening to a lecture might better serve your learners. They lose momentum when they feel their time is wasted or when they are not involved in what’s going on. Objection 4: “My students don’t want to share their ideas or do homework. An eight-hour classroom-training course might only need two two-hour blocks of premium time.” My response: Learners are typically willing to do whatever the trainer invites them to do as long as they are properly prepared and treated respectfully. Learners prefer clear learning objectives. Learners can ask questions and find out more about how what they are learning applies to their work. trainers can schedule less “premium time. Allow flexibility for students who have other commitments to manage by offering session recordings as an alternative to attending in real time. Focus your online sessions on engaging learners directly. how to use the tools — create a tutorial for how to learn in your class. Ask learners to suggest appropriate adjustments and agree to the ground rules. and clarify or correct when needed. simply record the presenter alone.G E T T I N G S TA R T E D | C H A P T E R 2 Objection #3: “Learners don’t have the attention span to stay online and stay interested. how the online sessions will run. Remember.” or online sessions when learners and trainers are all logged in at once. verbally responding.” Learners have a tremendous capacity to stay interested in things that they find relevant or fun. at their own convenience. Sessions can spread out over time allowing time in between to apply learning and to do independent assignments. They will. The design of synchronous online software tools supports human-to-human interactions. With fewer tasks to do together. Invite them to contribute their own ideas and experiences to the conversation. they like easy access to resources. Establish dates and times for online sessions and assignments. Move these activities to times before or after the online sessions.

and you can improve what you’re already doing. I have to manage the software tools. you’ll also find you can very quickly get new insights into what typical users’ tasks look like. You’ll see opportunities to customize for individual areas of interest. Then wait and listen quietly. Try this: Employ an online session Producer to help set up and manage the session and let you focus on what you need to say and do to teach the content. Know that it gets easier when you turn objections into preparation. Show the file only if needed. Beyond that. Having trouble with application sharing? Create screenshots in a separate file. ask. I can’t do it. apply proven strategies to use the great resources you have. Objection 6: “It’s hard to keep track of everything that’s happening during a session. you’re ready to move to the solution and keep working. It’s possible to master it. I apply them consistently. Objection 7: “I don’t do training. and try to engage the learners. and relax.” My response: Yes. “How would you use this?” Ask them to verbally respond or type answers in Chat. In the meantime. Are some learners on a low bandwidth connection? Send assignments and presentation files ahead of time so they can still follow along with audio if the connection drops. It takes at least as much practice as it did to learn to drive a car or dial a cell phone. Try this: Worried about the Internet connection? Test participant connections in advance. sharing polls and applications. I do sales demos. Try this: Read and apply each of the “Try this” items above. We derive more information from what they say. stay on time. here’s another suggestion.” My response: Who said it was easy? The only difference between what you’re doing and what I’m doing is that I’m applying several good strategies in every stage of my planning. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 28 . we find out more about how to serve them. Try this: At the end of each section of your demo. no matter what the issue. Each message that comes in will confirm that people are able to understand concepts conveyed in this online format. not to mention focusing on the content. Objection 8: “It’s easy for you. and I practice them a lot.” My response: Yes. You CAN do it.G E T T I N G S TA R T E D | C H A P T E R 2 Objection 5: “Technology can fail in the middle of the session. and delivery. preparation. and you’ll have feedback that says people are really out there and listening.” My response: Many of the most effective training strategies we use online serve similar evaluative and rapport-building uses when selling. it can and it does. I recommend you prepare a Plan B and a Plan C for each aspect of your session so. reading participants’ Chat messages and reacting to technical problems can feel like a full time job. We recognize that when we let the “client” or learner contribute to the conversation.

and manage deployment to ensure optimal performance. Extend your training reach — and maximize results from your existing resources. Create the ideal training blend. . Count on our proven eLearning expertise to reduce your risks. WebEx makes it easy. and ensure your success. including a web-touch training program. Engage our professional consulting team to evaluate your unique situation. to accelerate knowledge transfer and drive business growth. develop a plan.WebEx Consulting Services Optimize your eLearning program —and improve business results.

repurposing your content and initiating continual improvement strategies are the ingredients to ensure your success. partners. and providing a hands-on experience for the learner. models. retention and interactivity while minimizing resource utilization. The opportunity is Web-touch enabled eLearning. Objective: Transfer knowledge to as many learners as possible while efficiently utilizing your resources. In this knowledge economy. The opportunity is having the right eLearning environment. you can ensure a rich learning experience. Combining the experiences gained through implementing eLearning for thousands of customers. If you are not reaching all of your audience. WebEx Consulting Services has the answers. To achieve breakthrough business results and gain a competitive edge through training requires careful alignment of your business objectives with your training programs. the reach of your high value Instructors and Subject Matter Experts is extended across geographical boundaries and through limitations of time. regardless of where they are located? Many of our clients are finding that their knowledge is so valuable to their business partners and customers that they are able to produce new revenue streams with their training departments. processes and metrics to ensure your implementation of web-touch eLearning delivers rapid and dramatic business results. preparing your staff. However. Simply implementing an LMS or purchasing asynchronous training from a third party is only part of the answer. what value do you place on ensuring that your staff has the right information. By providing engaging. Enter the era of web-touch eLearning. interactive web-enabled training that fully utilizes the technology to obtain real time feedback. Selecting the appropriate technologies. WebEx Consulting Services represent the culmination of decades of collective experience and wisdom in delivering knowledge over the web effectively. at the right time. and do so effectively. monitoring the results. In order to accomplish this objective your organization must continually strive to extend its reach while enhancing the richness of the learning experience. The Opportunity Whether you want to completely transform your learning environment or simply solve a specific learning challenge. Technology has provided a vast array of tools to help you and your team meet this objective. Through web-enabling your training effectively. Whether you’re responsible for training employees. you are leaving money on the table.Does your Company have a competitive eLearning plan? The Challenge You’re familiar with the directive: Maximize reach. speed. Your competitive success is ensured when you combine maximum reach and an optimally rich training experience that is perfectly aligned with your business objectives. knowing how to use it. the results can be dramatic. having the infrastructure is one thing. 2 . Savings in time and travel cost. WebEx has created a methodology of best practices. is another. customers—or all three—you need to transfer knowledge to as many learners as possible while using your resources most efficiently. while substantial. are only a fraction of the value you can realize. This is the challenge faced by every corporate training department as companies come to recognize that knowledge means competitive advantage.

WebEx Consulting Services Utilize WebEx domain expertise to move toward the optimum on a proven. • Change Management: Behavioral change and process change is managed to ensure success. Are they effective. Implementing a web-touch training model is a proven method for driving business growth. Engagements follow a proven approach: • Assessment: The current situation is examined in terms of business goals aligned to your current processes and learning product offerings? Are the metrics you are currently using enabling you to monitor your performance against your ROI goals? • Instructor Preparedness: We will take a look at their tools and skill levels with the various tools. taking into account your existing process and the specific requirements of your business. Checking the effectiveness of your feedback loop is an important part of this process. The Approach The WebEx Web-Touch eLearning Consulting service helps you design the optimal approach for your needs. • Implementation: We provide the roadmap. and the proven Course development process from the Needs Analysis to the Metrics gathering. Specific business result domains are identified. • Recommendations. • Course/Content Development: We will examine your dissatisfactions and opportunities. examine their use of best practices in eLearning. WebEx will also examine the learning aids that are developed. and study their interactions with Course/Content Developers and Subject Matter Experts. Initial and recurring management reviews generate alignment — everyone involved understands the highest level objectives of the project in terms of specific expected business results. We will look at the different audiences you are instructing and their comfort level with eLearning. We will be capturing their concerns and documenting your successes. The eLearning audience is maturing and thus a moving target. Desired outcomes are clearly defined at the project outset. Statement of Work and Project Plan: The optimal path to success is determined along with specific roles. improvement programs are established. engaging and appropriate for the delivery method? • Audience Analysis: Understanding your audience is ability to get you to your destination. Contact your WebEx Account Manager for more information. The project activities are executed. predictable and expedient path. responsibilities and timelines. WebEx Consulting will deliver the business results you need. 3 . and resources are coordinated to achieve those outcomes through professional program management methods. We will look at the tools you use. For each stage of the process we consider: • Organization Preparedness: How well are the company’s Engagement WebEx employs a proven engagement model to ensure alignment and coordination between your organization and the WebEx project team throughout the life of the project. managed and delivered in alignment with the project plan. • Metrics and Optimization: Ongoing measurement and imperative to your success. the staff that are engaged and the reusability of the content.

work effort estimates.408. Quick-Start Have us TELL YOU how to develop your roadmap. Your Action Plan includes necessary tasks and actions to accomplish business objectives. Inc.408. Santa Clara. Inc. Successful Custom Consulting engagements have included the following deliverables: Custom Consulting Let WebEx develop and execute your roadmap FOR YOU. based on the support you need and the results you desire. » Delivery of customer opportunity document Strategic Account Plan recommends steps to develop your eLearning Roadmap. CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS: WebEx Communications.com. or email psconsulting@webex.496. CA 95054 USA Tel: +1. 3979 Freedom Circle. Inc.7000 Fax: +1. All rights reserved. customers. COnSuLTIng PROgRAM DELIvERAbLES Discovery session & interviews Conduct a minimum of 15-20 individual interviews with your C-level executives. and audience. and attendees. course and content development. WebEx and the WebEx logo are registered trademarks of WebEx Communications. » Delivery of customer opportunity document Strategic Account Plan documents specific executables for implementing an eLearning Roadmap and an Action plan customized to your unique environment.WebEx eLearning Consulting Service Offerings Choose from three program levels. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All Quick-Start deliverables.. CS-EL-0606 . but your stakeholder presentation will be delivered live: Pro-Start Let us shOw YOU how to implement your roadmap. » » » » » Training your trainers — Presentation techniques for eLearning — Optimization of WebEx tools Optimizating your course designs — Methods to increase interaction and optimize delivery Designing effective class materials — Design/repurpose materials Integrating your existing processes/systems Measuring your success — Constant evaluation of efforts and improvement opportunities Contact your WebEx Account Manager for more information. findings and recommendations are presented in a WebEx Meeting. and determination of roles and responsibilities.4353 ©2005 WebEx Communications.435. stakeholders. instructors. 2-Day stakeholder onsite workshop Approximately 3-weeks following interviews the customer sponsor & stakeholders are presented with findings and recommendations and your Action Plan is developed collaboratively. WebEx analysis of findings Use interview and discovery findings to analyze your organization. Stakeholder presentation [via WebEx] Approximately 3-weeks after interviews.

The danger is that designers and instructors (often the same person) may stick too closely to the old classroom instructional model and fail to recognize that this new high-tech situation calls for a rethinking of the teaching process itself. an LMS. but one thing I also like to tell people moving into design for this new medium is: Consider the “model” you bring with you. audible students. In fact. I use the two terms interchangeably. T How you see it may depend on where you’ve been Early e-Learning designers who started in the time of laserdiscs know that e-Learning can support video. After all. Later entrants who never experienced interactive media before the Internet was ubiquitous might say: e-Learning is like Web pages — you know. breathing. with participants logged in from their own office computers. or Microsoft’s Live Meeting. This means that we are delivering something that was not very interactive to begin with (the lecture) without even the fun of checking out what the teacher is wearing. or what I call “old school” posted courses (and there are and will continue to be plenty Contents of these courses around). in this case. We develop these asynchronous courses in tools such as Authorware or Flash. or as rethinking the content for this new medium. the Internet. Some people speak of the transition from being a standup instructor to being a virtual instructor. • Visuals — the journey of a thousand pixels As a consultant. I’ve also • Media selection — to VC or not to VC led many hours of classroom instruction conducted in the same physical • Interactions — alone but engaged space as my living. or on CD-ROM. I am in a position to peek into many organizations and The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 33 . It is unlikely. we call them “pages. there is a nasty rumor circulating that a lot of folks are porting lectures and demonstrations over to the virtual classroom. with lots of text. And simply highlighting text doesn’t count as interaction. They might say: e-Learning is like television. That’s fundamentally why The eLearning Guild decided to create this book. Centra.CHAPTER 3 How to Design for the Virtual Classroom By Ann Kwinn he virtual classroom — also called synchronous e-Learning — is a same-time any-place event led by an instructor in a Web-conferencing tool such as WebEx. I belong to the camp of people who have done more of what is now referred to as asynchronous e-Learning.” perhaps a contradiction in terms since the physical classroom space is exactly what we have eliminated. visible.” Now we have this “virtual classroom. and make them available for individual study In Chapter 3 you will find information about: through a company intranet. that these designers and instructors will take advantage of the full potential of the virtual classroom experience.

everyone is trying to “do more with less. Let go of your old baggage . Have you ever tried to write when someone was talking to you? Did they just not take the hint when you weren’t paying attention? Now suppose this person was an instructor and you were their student. in part. Although there is certainly still a place for asynchronous e-Learning. The new paradigm circumvents some of the problems of the prior media. With no instructor present. virtual classroom requires a different set of resources. Call me a geek. is the topic of this chapter. With their desktop open. but presents its own challenges. connection. but I love Venn diagrams. or complete an exercise. An asynchronous e-Learning program that runs without need of an instructor can also provide the necessary quiet. Sure. you can’t assume that you can do the same things you used to do in either the physical classroom or traditional e-Learning. An instructor can provide this in a synchronous environment by resisting the temptation to keep talking.HOW TO DESIGN FOR THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3 see what they are doing. which. This chapter will cover when to use the virtual classroom. Toto. in a nutshell. YouTube and IMDb just too loud during these sessions for any effective training to take place? The answer is that old standby of consultants. access to information. Media selection — to VC or not to VC? One common mistake novice instructors make in the synchronous e-Learning environment is that they feel like they have to be “instructing” all the time — and that means verbalizing. cool graphics. compared to old school e-Learning. how to design new content or convert existing classroom content to make best use of its features. the virtual classroom demands technological and psychological resources from both instructor and student. you have the instructor-driven pace of the physical classroom that will leave some students behind and will bore others. is the siren song of eBay. The synchronous. once you choose it. But at the same time. on the designer making the proper choice of media and techniques. the virtual classroom can provide some very interesting options if approached judiciously. Compared to traditional classes. determining whether a synchronous or an asynchronous delivery medium is the better match. “It all depends. You need to have the instructor scheduled and on the payroll and all students available at the same time.) The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 34 . How do you think you’d feel about the quality of the educational experience? Many activities require contemplation and therefore a quiet environment. we first need to understand the characteristics of synchronous e-Learning as they relate to the other models.” It depends. In this case. take notes. plus the sense of alone-ness learners may get from staring at the illuminated rectangle where they already spend so much time.. There are some possible pitfalls in selecting a synchronous approach. the virtual classroom offers some exciting opportunities for collaboration. Although this new medium can save on travel money. the separation of instructor and student also represents a kind of cost. to be published in 2007. Handled carelessly. trying to process information. The New Virtual Classroom: Evidence-Based Guidelines for Synchronous e-Learning.. We’re not in the classroom anymore. virtual classroom solution? To answer this fundamental point. “Media selection” is the name for thinking through the instructional content and desired teaching methods and making a fundamental design decision. Some of the content comes from Ruth Clark’s and my book. (See Figure 3-1 on page 35. So the question is: How do I know if my teaching situation is an appropriate one for a synchronous. and getting people quickly up to speed and productive. Let’s draw some big ovoids and see where they intersect. the virtual classroom can combine the worst of both the traditional classroom and asynchronous media. and.” which is often a driver of technology. the student is on the honor system in terms of their attentiveness.

Their virtual classroom sessions provide short classes on special software features. But thanks to the computer delivery. in The eLearning Guild’s survey of synchronous learning users. The small army it takes to develop good asynchronous e-Learning must be paid and fed. but expensive to deliver to a large. Less travel also means less lost opportunity for those employees engaged in training rather than their more financially productive jobs. Since synchronous e-Learning is instructor-led you need an instructor. Some organizations have tried to ameliorate this problem by reporting student completion to supervisors. There are technical opportunities and hurdles involved in both synchronous and asynchronous e-Learning. Some asynchronous e-Learning clients have reported higher dropout rates than those for scheduled instructor-led learning events. although you can fit a lot of cyber behinds into a synchronous training session. the system crashed when 800 people tried to log on. Figure 3-2 is a diagram of some very simplistic relative plots of the cost of design. And consider the quality of life issue: frequent flyer miles are poor compensation for the fatigue and time away from home. Synchronous e-Learning falls between the two in terms of cost. and tested. Therefore. Two categories of factors drive the decision of what medium to use — logistical and educational. synchronous learning shares more with the traditional classroom than it does with the older instructor-less asynchronous e-Learning. for example. but the consistent interface of synchronous e-Learning is a brilliant money saving invention that asynchronous e-Learning never quite got to.HOW TO DESIGN FOR THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3 Figure 3-1 Where do computer-delivered and instructor-led learning intersect? In my humble opinion. The need to quickly update a distributed sales force on new products and new product features makes the virtual classroom an ideal delivery vehicle. The classroom is cheaper to design and develop for. it’s basically free to deploy it. depending on the topic being taught. lists the typically dispersed sales and marketing departments as the leading users of synchronous e-Learning. electronic media are typically more expensive to produce. Figure 3-2 The relative cost of the three delivery methods changes depending on the stage of creation and production. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 35 . sales demonstrations. Let’s look at an example of taking advantage of any-place training. and delivery of the various training media. and all of the students must be concurrently logged in. dispersed audience because of the travel and the need for facilities and an instructor. probably no more than 25 participants should be included in a true interactive learning experience. development. For an information dump. there’s no travel involved. you had better do your schoolwork. Logistical media decision factors Even though for dispersed audiences the delivery of electronic media is cheaper and faster than it is for traditional training. and troubleshooting sessions. Joe Pulichino. small numbers of students in the same location do not justify e-Learning unless they don’t work at the same time or can’t be simultaneously off the job. Another pragmatic benefit to any instructor-led medium is course completion. But. This situation might recommend quick and dirty asynchronous e-Learning. Synchronous e-Learning might be faster to deploy than traditional classroom training if you have the technical infrastructure in place to support it. Getting done is a beautiful thing — whether it’s doing your Christmas shopping or finishing assigned training. and tested again. but once the program is running. on the other hand — come on down! Note: When I was to present a Webinar recently. When the teacher is watching.

you may have better luck putting under-motivated or over-worked students in a virtual classroom — as long as the course is interactive and engaging. you can feel socially present. if your boss gives you a 20-minute brain dump of your assignments. depending on the delivery system. © 2007 Figure 3-4 Synchronous learning has various attributes. You can’t stop for very long at one The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 36 . replay. For example. you will probably forget some of them. All of the students are in the same boat. Can your students self-regulate. Pfeiffer/Wiley. If an instructor plays a dense one-hour movie and sneaks off to get a sandwich. When others are around only virtually. manage their own time. by Ruth Clark and Ann Kwinn. Working memory is your conscious information-processing center. and stare at those awful shoes. And companies surely don’t want to spend money on courses that students don’t complete. etc. (See Figure 3-4.) This one shows the attributes of Computer-Delivered and Instructor-Led Environments. An electronically delivered lecture. used with Permission by the Publisher. would engender little sense of presence. Let me start the review of this diagram by explaining the terms under “Instructor-Led. Cognitive load Cognitive load is the amount of mental work imposed on working (short-term) memory. especially when you can shake hands. there is a risk of high cognitive load (or cognitive overload). talk. Educational media decision factors Making sure students complete a cost-effective course returns nothing on the investment if the students show no behavior change as a result of the training. Let’s focus on the educational justification of the various delivery media and take a different look at the Venn diagram. and you don’t get a chance to write them down.” Social presence is the warm fuzzy feeling you get when actual people are around. as opposed to the learner-driven pace of reading or taking an asynchronous e-Learning course where the student can pause. for example. “Instructor-led” means the presenter is running the show and controlling the pace of instruction. It can only handle a limited amount of data at a time. provided that the facilitator helps. In instructor-driven media. Each of us can only remember a finite amount of information without practice or memory aids such as documentation. traveling at the same pace. and the students feel like someone on the other side of the network cares whether they are alive or dead. Figure 3-3 is a take that my sister and I gave on one cause of non-completion: environmental distractions. or finish looking at. even if there is little social interaction.HOW TO DESIGN FOR THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3 No one wants to make something that no one will look at. continue. All of these attributes are present in Synchronous e-Learning. and process information on their own? If not. while an in-person one would at least allow you to actually sit next to other people. Social presence Figure 3-3 What does it take to complete e-Learning? Art from The New Virtual Classroom. again — the students will remember little of the content presented in the movie.

consider providing documentation or a Website. relevant (job-based) interactions. but for now consider the worst. you may get access to help such as remediation. But in general. and fabrics — blending. What about the “Computer-Delivered” side of the diagram? Visuals The virtual classroom loves graphics. Such a student will have to fumble through. you can watch every episode of “Dancing with the Stars. your muscles will never get the skill. and there you have e-Learning without interactions. It can also provide individual drill and practice of skills that must be learned to high degrees of accuracy or speed. and • Moderate social presence. he can ask a question. especially for simulation of rare or expensive systems. I remember in the earlier days of e-Learning. most boring college lecture in your life. repeat sections and maybe go back and run the course again later. Virtual classrooms only work when instructors employ frequent. Your students will feel a pressing need to make a grocery list. however. or content that can benefit from the use of video animation or simulations. This makes either type of e-Learning a poor choice for practicing non-computer-related motor skills. You can go at your own pace. Asynchronous e-Learning allows for individual study. in the skill that must be learned. Blended solutions Collaborative exercises can help get over the problem of a heterogeneous audience by letting the experts within student teams shine. play Solitaire. you are not allowing practice of job skills. milkshakes. many clients were appropriately skittish about using technology to rally the troops in a change management initiative. Use the virtual classroom when the things this medium does best can best realize your learning goals: • Computer application demonstration and practice • Visualization of content • Real-time interactions between instructor and participants • Collaboration among participants. but if he really doesn’t have the background to complete the course. a glossary of terms. Interactions I’ll cover the types of interactions in a later section. And even then. For example. If a student doesn’t get it. Blending is the watchword for a growing number of organizations. This is why you may at times want to turn to what is done to martinis. or at different levels. It needs graphics. with the results of many different types of software training. each of which may interpret The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 37 . or see if their name has an entry yet in Wikipedia. learners can usually do either in e-Learning or in a traditional classroom. but without hands-on practice of this or any other motor skill. or distributing your content across or through diverse media — choosing the best medium for each topic or learning objective.HOW TO DESIGN FOR THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3 port or another. Asynchronous e-Learning can be a good choice for audiences who are heterogeneous. no one is going to wait for him to get up to speed. You could follow this by a question-and-answer session in the virtual classroom. depending on the skill. the virtual classroom has a hard time on its own handling a diverse audience and complex tasks that require contemplation. They were quite pleased. etc. If the best you can do is text only. Depending on course design. Some skills and content areas don’t work well when taught remotely.” or every cricket match on the cable sports channel. which. and remove the cute guy (or girl) down the aisle.

Only your imagination and resources limit the number of ways to blend media. This can help to make sure everyone is at the pre-requisite level of knowledge. but you do need practice. During the virtual sessions. used with Permission by the Publisher. I like to say. After each live session. and then use the virtual classroom for wrap up/final or follow-up training. activities. But let’s start with a definition. but it does not have to feel like a classroom. Ask yourself: What is better to do alone? Helping participants attain knowledge and skills through reading “articles. You don’t need other people to learn. They need to know you are “keeping an eye” on them. interaction in training does not refer to interacting with people. Your students are there to learn the content. Wells Fargo starts asynchronously with self-study and then gets everyone together synchronously. In the virtual classroom. or Web sites” and through asynchronous project work can combine well with virtual classroom sessions. Frequency of interactions Including interactions is one of the most important things you can do for learning and engagement. I also like to use people’s names when I can — Bueller? Bueller? This is easy given the list of participants in the participant window. Brian Mulliner. participants review two short virtual classroom recordings and note their differences before attending the first live session where they will meet in breakout rooms to discuss their findings. — it is essential for learning. but rather with the content (just as we introverts would have it). meeting. The pre-work is the ticket in. an instructor will drive this interaction. it ain’t training. Blended learning solutions typically cut travel budgets and time out of the office. etc. Art adapted from The New Virtual Classroom. exercises. attend a live classroom-training event. the instructor can provide discussions and interactions to expand the pre-work or review and refine project work completed outside of the session.HOW TO DESIGN FOR THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3 the term in a unique way. if there’s no practice. In this example. Pfeiffer/Wiley. make sure people focus on and understand the content. and will help to get rid of the folks who bog down the class with basic questions. books. but with the limited time that you typically have. Some gabbing is fine. or cocktail party. With apologies to extroverts. Interactions are essential to the virtual classroom. The self-study is sandwiched in between two slices of virtual classroom. Call it rehearsal. a real win-win for managers who need to cut their budgets and for participants required to maintain their sales goals. Figure 3-5 A blended design that combines synchronous e-Learning and offline private study. If you get to know something about The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 38 . by Ruth Clark and Ann Kwinn. For Clark Training’s “Leveraging the Virtual Classroom” course. © 2007 Interactions — alone but engaged. participants apply the skills learned by completing their own individual project which they post on the course Website where the instructor and other students can review it. e-Learning and Development Consultant at Wells Fargo reports: Groups at Wells Fargo are using blended learning solutions quite regularly. Frequent participation will keep students from turning into zombies. Individuals may start out with a Web-based training course (typically Flash or Breeze launched and tracked via an LMS) for pre-work. Figure 3-5 shows an example in which the instructor prefers to meet the students first in a virtual session before sending them off to do solo work and then getting together again online.

Information about using these response facilities effectively during an event appears in Chapters 4 to 6. And if the analogy “Here are the tools in your tool box” doesn’t work for the women in the audience. I’ll address each of these nuances.) Response facilities in the virtual classroom The virtual classroom offers many opportunities for interaction. and (b) to assess whether they are “getting it” or not — as I don’t have the benefit of seeing their faces (and seeing the light bulbs or confusion). such as: Is what’s in the picture a gadget or a thingamajig? Some VC tools display the students’ responses anonymously and some attach them to the students’ names. how about: “These are the things you can carry in your purse. used with Permission by the Publisher. it might refer to participation in discussions. In either case. where Karen will provide you with guidelines and examples from the instructor’s point of view. I will describe them from the designer’s point of view. that various individuals are working on. job aids for the learners. either during the introduction or through some pre-work. Figure 3-6 shows the tool features you can use for interactions in many. etc. Polling Although the word “polling” tends to connote presidential approval ratings or favorite dog food. you will want to provide the instructor with the appropriate cues and content for the polls that are The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 39 . which Karen Hyder wrote for managers and others who are considering their options. (I never knew I was supposed to be looking for subtle signs of confusion. you can offer more explanation if people don’t seem to be getting it. or it might refer to collaboration between participants. “How many of you still believe in Santa?” If you have your “designer” hat on (whether permanently or interchangeably) and you are preparing a kit of materials (traditional instructor guide. beginning with the individual interactions with the instructor and the content. you can use this feature for exercises and tests. Figure 3-6 Synchronous e-Learning provides a number of interactive response features. I add multimedia to provide more pizzazz and to provide opportunities for interaction with the content.. © 2007 Individual interactions The term “interactions” might refer to interactions between individual participants and the instructor or the content.” In this section. software applications for synchronous e-Learning. Principal Education Specialist for Saba Software says: I’ve added increased activities to (a) keep participants’ attention. After you set up a poll. each student can click on their choice — from A to E. I can’t flirt either. you can periodically relate your content to the types of projects.). I will describe the various response facilities so that you can decide which to use as you design or convert courseware for synchronous e-Learning. PowerPoint deck. You don’t have to be asking for opinions. Pfeiffer/Wiley. if not most. by Ruth Clark and Ann Kwinn. Polling can also be a way to get to know people at the start of a session.e. polling in the virtual classroom just means multiple choice or true/false questions — something we can all relate to. Art adapted from The New Virtual Classroom.HOW TO DESIGN FOR THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3 your participants. Mark Bucceri. exercises are easier to execute and be done with in the virtual classroom since they require no rearranging of tables or looking for easels and smelly markers. When appropriate (and when budget allows). The multiple choice options can also be visual. In fact. You have already seen these (and others) listed in Chapter 2. as they tend to multitask. i. etc.

In whiteboard activities. Art from The New Virtual Classroom. such as “the little ‘A’ icon. Each student’s name precedes their statements.HOW TO DESIGN FOR THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3 critical to your design. label parts of a diagram. If the tool allows. © 2007 The whiteboard is the area of the screen where the instructor displays PowerPoint slides. by Ruth Clark and Ann Kwinn. Pfeiffer/Wiley. You should use it sparingly but it can be a good way for students to respond to open-ended questions.” “I will not misbehave in school” . however.. circle items. and type in answers to questions. etc. They can type.” Chat capabilities vary from one tool to another. used with Permission by the Publisher. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 40 . and then you had to do a lot of writing on the chalkboard: i.. participants typed in the “thoughts” in the bubbles. Such as: “Why would anyone buy our product?” Responses in Chat are not anonymous. plot data on a graph. Again. Everyone likes to write on the whiteboard. Your instructor guide and instructor preparation session should address this. All of these responses are anonymous.” for the typing tool. The nice thing about the virtual classroom is that people can annotate at the same time if that’s the direction the instructor gives them. The learners typed in the “thoughts” in the bubbles over the characters’ heads. draw lines. If you are working with one or more instructors who will actually deliver the synchronous e-Learning. It’s best to discourage off-topic conversations between students. In addition. Chat is murder because the comments scroll up quickly in the window. students can also use Chat to ask the instructor questions. prepare them to use your kit by having them practice setting up and executing the polls. have the instructor ask students to type in their answers but not to press “Send” until the instructor says: “Send. etc. cover some options for grouping in the instructor guide and the preparation. Reference the tool the learners should use. In this case. the instructor can group people by asking all the Scorpios to take the next question. Figure 3-7 is an example of a whiteboard activity presented after a short video of the characters is shown.e. It’s so naughty. but be sure to provide your instructors with a set of clear directions they can give to the learners. Most people do behave themselves as adults. Chat Chatting has been with us for a while in other forms.: “I will not misbehave in school. . With a lot of participants. and some suggested cues to let learners know when to start. etc. If you don’t want people to “cheat” by just entering the same thing as the last person. Whiteboard Figure 3-7 In this whiteboard exercise. students can identify where they are located on a map. You got in trouble if you wrote on the chalkboard in school without permission. be sure to provide the instructor with an “out” or “Plan B” in the event that a technology failure prevents execution of the poll as planned. Try to construct your questions so that students can answer briefly.

people will wise up to it and start stream- The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 41 . Consider activities that involve as many students as possible. Audio questions allow new voices to be heard. No one likes them. where they can feel like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense — they think they’re alive but no one reacts to them. Instructor: “What about the question did you not understand?” Pause. For example — asking one person to use the microphone doesn’t require everyone to have an answer. outside the virtual classroom — which is great for demonstration. If you do this a lot. This can help instructors working in the sometimes-silent vacuum that is the virtual classroom. can be fraught with problems. but it’s cute and yellow and I use it a lot. The great thing is — only the instructor needs to actually have the application on their machine. but.: Jason raises his hand. raised hand..” Pause. drag — everything. The crummy thing is that only one student can work at a time. confused face. Application sharing.. more so than the designer. You can also use application sharing to show asynchronous e-Learning programs — or anything that can be run on the instructor’s computer. they only allow one person to respond at a time. How to maximize participation As you can see.e. just remember that too much back and forth can bog down a session: i. Be sure that your instructor guide contains a Plan B for the inevitable times that the technology will fail the instructor. such as Excel. Effective use of this capability depends on the instructor. Avoid the bane of classroom discussions and group projects — the slacker and the control freak. but they can also respond in other ways — such as with icons. Your design should allow as many people as possible to work with the content in an efficient way. Instructor: “OK. and are a good way to get longer answers to open-ended questions. Use of icons is another type of interaction that you should spell out in the instructor guide. clapping hands. Heavy software application practice is probably best to do individually.) Icons Asking students to answer questions can help to keep them engaged. some interaction features allow simultaneous users and some do not. so to speak. Some systems allow multiple speakers. They can actually type. some do not. depending on the Web conferencing program you are using.” Most virtual classroom software includes icons such as the smiley face.” “Click on the smiley face if you’re happy and you know it. For now. The best practice is for the instructor to limit the response to one person at a time. to the students so they can operate the application. as opposed to polling and the whiteboard. etc. maybe. and pass the baton. and be sure to lead instructors through practice sessions with both the application sharing and the Plan B.HOW TO DESIGN FOR THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3 Audio The instructor can ask students to raise their hands (by selecting an icon. which allow students to give quick feedback or interrupt the action when they need to. For example: “Click on the smiley face after you have read the passage. Application sharing For you relay running fans. Don’t create a design that will allow them to flourish in your virtual classes. which leaves a bunch of people wishing you had called on them .” “Click on the smiley face if you are ready to do the exercise.. Jason: “The last part. application-sharing lets the instructor run an application. Jason: “I didn’t understand the question. click. Is it a smiley face or a happy face? I don’t know. and that instructors should practice during their preparation. which I will explain in the next section) to ask or answer questions via audio. Let me re-phrase it.” (etc.” Pause.

At Clark Training. you can pair people working on similar projects or working in similar industries. Group activities can be a little tricky in the virtual classroom. you don’t necessarily need to establish a number of breakout rooms. we find that people really throw themselves into group exercises and often rate these activities as the most beneficial in a course. Also. start with polling and then have the instructor ask students for the rationale behind their answers. And with a smaller group.” It takes more effort. etc. complete short written assignments. Let your students speak! (Or at least respond. and My Space. Research has shown that with correctly structured learning activities. The pace needs to be fast. say two to five participants. the moderator. Depending on what your Web conferencing application allows.and close-ended questions. You can certainly use a mix of open. And while the learners are working in their groups. If you want. but that’s what you want. You don’t get credit for killing time and no one will like you for it. you can assign pairings.e. students may learn more in collaborative groups than they do alone. you can use audio more freely. People like to contribute. i. and time tends to be in short supply in the virtual classroom. (As in Figure 3-8. and so on. role play. b) Shaq c) Magic. you can <Alt> <Tab> over to see how your stocks are doing.HOW TO DESIGN FOR THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3 Figure 3-8 Keep the pace up. To you. but it takes a long time. However you structure your interactions. The classroom is a democracy.: “Wallace. open-ended audio questions only allow only one student to answer at a time. you could ask a polling question such as: “Who was your favorite player?: a) Kobe. Collaboration You can take classroom democracy a step further and incorporate collaborative exercises.e. “How about those Lakers?” This can start a conversation going in the traditional classroom. Attend to your students or they start dropping off. the moderator The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 42 . Rather. a spokesperson from each group can report to the larger group once everyone has moved back into the main room. Art from The New Virtual Classroom. consider the do-it-yourself impulse behind YouTube. by Ruth Clark and Ann Kwinn. For example. it will look like chaos since you can see all Chat messages. Paired Chat If you want students to work in pairs. In paired Chat and breakout rooms.) Avoid the tyranny of the lecture. but the students can only see messages directed at them. © 2007 ing Jon Stewart instead of paying attention. Students can discuss case studies (using their own whiteboard to take notes). used with Permission by the Publisher. Instructors may overly rely on open-ended questions: i. Wikipedia.” You can have fun playing matchmaker — another good reason to know something about your participants. Pfeiffer/Wiley. but it’s possible to create even more of a sense of a community than you would have in a traditional lecture class.) Give the instructors specific questions (and alternatives) in the instructor guide. group novices with experts. you can use virtual breakout rooms for most of the small group activities you would do in the physical classroom. Then ask students to direct their Chat messages to their partner only as they work through whatever problem you have given them. Breakout rooms Depending on the topic and the objectives. you work with Grommet. Rather. and the questions go by fast. d) The Laker Girls.

by Ruth Clark and Ann Kwinn. Perfect practice makes perfect. but forgetting to provide feedback is a lost learning opportunity. Chat is rather infeasible for assessments since students can see each other’s answers. such as the whiteboard and application sharing. consider giving model answers as feedback. Make sure your artwork. the instructor can then give them feedback with a slide containing the answers. Some universities have students grade each other based on their contributions. do double duty as interaction tools and visualization tools. but following Siegfried and Roy’s principle of “Be prepared and keep it moving. Probably the best way to do an assessment is with an external survey tool or by asking students to e-mail or post answers to an assignment or quiz. The space devoted to the whiteboard is typically only a portion of the screen. I like to say: While you’re designing. © 2007 You can draw on the whiteboard directly. used with Permission by the Publisher. etc. Text-heavy presentations spell nap time for participants.” If there is a written component to exercises. diagrams. will be large enough to “read” within this space. You could also think of designing visuals for the virtual environment as turning your course into a comic book. Peers in breakout rooms can also give each other feedback. doesn’t it? Web cams Use of the Web cam brings into question the model brought to the virtual classroom enterprise. tables. Makes you want to get glasses. Visualization facilities in the virtual classroom Figure 3-9 shows the virtual classroom features available for visualization. or have elements removed. Not all synchronous e-Learning systems support all of these features. Visuals — the journey of a thousand pixels In the virtual classroom. Figure 3-10 on page 44 is an example of a size violation. Interactions without feedback may let the instructor assess the students but misses a chance for students to know if they got it right.HOW TO DESIGN FOR THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3 can only monitor pieces of the conversations and ask students to raise their hand if they have a question — which is no different from a physical classroom. A dance teacher once told me: “Practice doesn’t make perfect. you must use interaction tools that are not anonymous. in that there is some artwork for each piece of content. it’s payback time. There is too much tiny text on the whiteboard. reduced in fidelity. If someone wasn’t contributing. If you want to assess the students individually. Working in this medium requires that you develop your visual literacy or visual chops.” it’s best to have PowerPoint slides created ahead of time for the instructor to load into the system. Some very detailed images may need to be either broken into multiple images. with the dominance of the whiteboard. Art adapted from The New Virtual Classroom. Feedback and assessment Using the above interaction tools and techniques will make a session effective and engaging. It doesn’t have to be Manga-quality to be effective. Simple is good. a picture’s worth a thousand pixels. If you have students complete a list of items on a printed worksheet. Pfeiffer/Wiley. If The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 43 . Some features. close your eyes and imagine what the student is seeing. The whiteboard Figure 3-9 These are the tools you may have available for presenting visuals. Polling and the whiteboard are typically anonymous.

applications are visual. Types of visuals The various visualization facilities allow you to show many different types of visuals or graphics. If you have a long piece. The authors reported that a large proportion of visuals in instructional materials serve no useful learning function. Rather than decorating your screen. Sometimes less is more. include artwork that is germane to the teaching topic. In fact. for example. Your course doesn’t have to look like a video game to be effective. used with Permission by the Publisher. Application sharing. Here are some suggestions. They are also a cheap visual. Both the glasses and the eye chart in The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 44 . distributed ahead of time. multimedia. only the instructor needs to actually access the Web pages while the participants watch. it’s better to shoot ahead of time so the instructor can just roll ‘em at show time. Those who tempt fate by not preparing will be rewarded with technical glitches. what better way to teach an application than to show it? This is the first item in the category of. “Steal from others — you don’t have to make it yourself. you will want to see the instructor. or how graphics can convey information. Just be mercifully brief. A better use of the camera would be to use it as a document camera — showing documents or demonstrations. But the only reason that we ever saw instructors in the physical classroom was because they were the repository of the information. poor performance. and so on. so be sure that you address this in your instructor preparation. But a pig in a suit is still a pig. Don’t dress up the pig. Oftentimes a line drawing is easier to see and understand and can help to focus the student’s attention better than a photograph. The last great option for people who want to steal from others is the Web tour. © 2007 you think of synchronous e-Learning as a classroom. they are merely decorative. but they don’t help learning in and of themselves. Web tours Ever since the introduction of the graphical user interface. Ruth Clark’s and Chopeta Lyon’s Graphics for Learning book describes at least three “communication functions” of graphics. Worksheets. Pfeiffer/Wiley. Omit extraneous visual noise from your graphics. and therefore application sharing is a form of visualization.” Second are videos and animations an instructor can play in the multimedia window.HOW TO DESIGN FOR THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3 Figure 3-10 Remember that learners must actually read what is on the whiteboard! Art from The New Virtual Classroom. break it up with interactions. by Ruth Clark and Ann Kwinn. As with application sharing. could drive these interactions. This is particularly apt in cases where you are teaching students to navigate to a Web page. or when someone else has put together something very close to what you wanted to show in the first place. Representational visuals look like the object in question. used in the hope of beautifying the materials or to add interest or humor. needing the trappings of a classroom. but even then. Assess the kind of visuals that will best communicate your message.

Summary In summary. Proper uses of this type of art include software screen captures. Pfeiffer/Wiley. Some of the “how to assemble” directions from the IKEA furniture store have only drawings with arrows. like my Venn diagrams or quantitative ones. and especially group activities. Ex-planatory art is especially powerful for learning because it helps learners form relationships among lesson topics. Art from The New Virtual Classroom. Explanatory visuals are drawings of things you cannot see in real life — unless your CEO really sits just above the VP in the office as he or she does in the organization chart. This flow chart is simple but effective and efficient. This type of artwork can show qualitative relationships. Crack open Excel to see what it can do: line graphs. taken from a class teaching the needs-assessment process. used with Permission by the Publisher. visuals and interactions provide opportunity and potential pitfalls in the virtual classroom. for example. etc. Use them well and often. Now let me amend how I led off this section on visuals — a good picture is worth a thousand pixels. and don’t overload the student with too much information at one time. and photographs or illustrations of relevant equipment or products.HOW TO DESIGN FOR THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM | CHAPTER 3 Figure 3-11 Simple flow charts work well online. © 2007 Figure 3-10 are examples. Good luck and have fun. Consider too the type of picture shown in Figure 3-11. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 45 . Take the opportunity to create social presence through learner participation. pie charts. and do a pretty good job of teaching you how to assemble a bookshelf. bar charts. by Ruth Clark and Ann Kwinn. like the graph to show the cost to develop various media. and your classes will be successful.

or a coworker.CHAPTER 4 Preliminary Planning for Your Event By Karen Hyder I came across some old Windows 3. not a marker. Contents Who is your audience. Everything has changed. I still use visual aids to teach. and where are they? • Are you going to have co-presenters? Where are they? • What equipment and facilities will you need? • Plan to support the instructional design • How will you handle handouts and supplemental materials? • Are you going to have a Producer? Back in the day. I still post an Agenda and a Schedule. but I make them available for download rather than distributing physical copies. and Word for Windows 2. Schedule.0 Levels 1. I can still annotate an image. or the board. In this chapter. compared to classroom delivery? I saw my Trainer Checklist written on the inside of one cover showing the items I would need for that course. when I taught thousands of corporate students how to use computer programs. When I think of my current Checklist. The pages were filled with notes to remind myself what to say. They’re artifacts from the early 1990s. What’s different about a synchronous online event. not clip art. “Agenda. the ChapStick is the only thing that hasn’t changed. I have electronic substitutes for everything else.” This was to remind myself what to write on the whiteboard before students arrived. 2. PowerPoint overheads. I’d have a roster of names and companies. but I do it with a mouse pointer. My first goal of the day was to meet as many students as I could while they were enjoying coffee and bagels. and in which dialog box to remind students “DO NOT CLICK OK. and 3 courseware manuals in the back of my closet. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 46 . I’ll discuss the pre-planning and information-gathering that you must do in order to properly prepare yourself and your content. I rarely knew who would be in my class or why they were there. printed sample documents and spreadsheets. which file to open. but they are video clips.” There is a little yellow sticky note that says. and ChapStick®. but no specifics on learning objectives or needs. Excel spreadsheets. I provide sample documents for learners. but I send it in an e-mail and post it on a Web site. The list includes: spare floppy disks to format. broken floppy disk. Let’s begin with the learners themselves. index cards. I was fishing for anecdotes so I could adapt my examples or storylines to better suit them. Learners came in and sat down. Nothing has changed. and where are they? In Chapter 4 you will find information about: • Who is your audience. Students chose seats to be close to the door. The big concerns were parking or inclement weather. I’d ask each to introduce himself at the beginning of the session and declare what he was most interested in learning today. markers.1 Orientation.

but didn't provide used the old software. It would have been easier to create an appropriate example if I had more time. right now. apply what they learn back but also support. Surveys can include quesThey think it will help clari. Students are not in one room. etc. request information about Yes Five years. My online students’ issues aren’t parking. I work on the help desk. three weeks. Live Meeting for three Yes. at work. more of the e-mail funclook at how to use the a pre-course survey file attions. product and a chance to tached to an e-mail. vey asks each participant It is my lifeline to my All contact informaDay-to-day. and icient with the mess I have I have. or folding the laundry. Two years. and intentions for the sesspend five hours a day sion. some not at all. Learners Yes. the to the product and have it management software for training coordinator. network firewalls. I send also like to understand Others want a structured ment. Even more critical are technical needs. managers. technical considerations that The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 47 . Trainers in this situation may feel a zero sense of control because. Needs assessment and analysis Table 4-1 Collect relevant Questions Who is the audience? What do they know already? What do they intend to learn from this training session? How does the organization see this group using the product? Experience using a browser and accessing Web sites? Synchronous online learning experience? In which product? What do they most need to learn? I’m so grateful for innovations like e-mail and Web forms. similar tools. in other time zones. of client information ups. These days. weather. Yes/No/Some or four meetings. I tion in one place. I've had this for lot. but logging in and using passwords. The surtry it and ask questions. there’s no guarantee. and text. in school. whether we’re meeting in a classroom or online. I once gathered this inforOutlook. but in cubicles or in their home offices. BlackBoard audio cannot participate. (See Table 4-1. They are primarily brokers. who cannot connect to the session or cannot hear the Live Meeting. I just need to fy things they are strugof the huge amount hardware and software setknow how to be more effigling with. shopping online. what they already information about learners ahead of time know and what they want to learn in our training sesResponses from Sample response: Sample response: coordinator Student “A” Student “B” sions. I can ask each of them. marketing.PRELIMINARY PLANNING FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4 It was useful to gather that information. I'd want to fill in the gaps. Now. Participants might actually be reading e-mail. while it’s possible that students are sitting at desks and looking at the demonstration. they I'm just using it the way I More on e-mail and ation. but I wished there was a way to know these details before the class started. This installed. or coffee and bagels. and their managers. questions about his skills clients and my leads. anecdotal information helped me get a sense of the situSome are self-taught. I can find out more about how students will Financial services. I can find out relevant information about learners in advance. contact managehard examples. Yes job tasks and knowledge of other. images.I don't need to start at the How to keep track tions about their individual beginning. Some use it a six years.) I using it. They've been introduced I've been using contact mation from my client. Sessions might take place at a time of day that is not business hours in every locale. WebEx Centra.

PRELIMINARY PLANNING FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4

learners should address well in advance of the session. I also invite learners to express concerns and intentions they have about participating in this new environment. For large training efforts, individual e-mail and attached files quickly become cumbersome. Webbased forms can tie to the registration process, perhaps through the Learning Management System (LMS), so that trainers and registrars can view learner information as needed. Keep in mind, if your goal is to build rapport, a Web-based form will not likely make the connection you’re looking for. For that, you need to look beyond the confines of a single online learning “event” and connect with learners before, during, and after online sessions. Encourage them to communicate, too. Use group e-mails or threaded discussions as seen in chat boards. Teams are using “blogs” (short for “Web logs”), wikis (Web sites that allow users to create, edit, and comment on entries), and collaborative management software of many kinds (from Lotus Notes and Groove to the latest Web mashup) so everyone in the group can contribute to the discussion. You can get more insight into learners’ needs from these sources. Bring your own bagels.

Adapt content or make adjustments to materials based on learner needs and technical setup
When an instructional designer hands you a course that you can load and run, be sure to say thank you. As you’ve seen in Chapter 3, several new factors need to be considered when designing for online learning. Sequencing and flow have become less linear. Materials have multiple formats and can require special players to run. Sessions can be any length. Communication is a whole new game. Rooms, desks, and gravity are irrelevant. Your course doesn’t fit between the covers of a book. Teaching online means accepting these things and finding ways to do what you need to do to get the message through, while staying flexible to deal with last-minute issues around technology or learners’ interests. When a client recently asked me to deliver two sessions, two hours each, on Act! 6.0 for her financial services team, I ordered a courseware product designed for instructor-led classroom training. The course has six lessons and is a full day long, so I had to make some hard choices about what to cover and how. I didn't believe that going faster or simply asking the students to keystroke while I observed would cut it. To keep students interested, I focused training on what they most needed. The surveys indicated that most students had already used contact management software, but not Act! 6.0. I scanned the course workbook for content on these subjects and planned 60 minutes of activities focused on contact management features, differences, and shortcuts including Contact Activity Lookup and Active Libraries. I planned 30 minutes on e-mail with Outlook integration and some practice time. Part of delivering online is respecting the time available. It's not, "Cover everything you can," but, "Cover important content well in the amount of time you have." To compel learners to pay attention and participate, create an “intentional design” for your online sessions. Plan what you’ll say, what you’ll show, and what the learners will do at every point in the program. Don’t wing it! Make use of a variety of features to get the most from your online tools. If I can find out what they need to learn, what will keep them motivated, and what obstacles need to be removed, it’s a start.

Are you going to have co-presenters? Where are they?
Imagine the practicality of inviting a guest speaker to your session, an industry expert whose forte is exactly what your learners want to know more about. You can have more than one expert. You can

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have a panel. You can send the guest speakers a link to the session, test their connections, teach them how to use the audio functions and they’re ready to go. Surprisingly, I find it cleaner if co-presenters are in different places. If they are sitting next to each other, they might also need to share a headset and a keyboard. This requires constantly readjusting their hardware. If they are in the same room, and they both open their microphones, the audio of one speaker can often be heard in the background of the other, causing an echo. Co-presenters can take turns speaking and using software controls. Leadership roles equate to privileges for controlling the audio, annotating the whiteboard, advancing slides, application sharing, and setting participant privileges. Some tools allow upgrading any user to have presenter privileges at any time. Other tools attach privileges to login type and only allow one presenter to have control at a time. Some tools have a variety of roles available, all with slightly different privileges. Hosts might choose to restrict the control that a guest speaker has so that an untrained user can’t negatively affect the session by closing the file or changing the settings. Co-presenters can support each other by fielding learner questions entered in Chat. Text can flow quickly in Chat, making it difficult for the primary presenter to read. An informed co-presenter might type responses to each question as appropriate, or alert the primary presenter to respond verbally. The smoothest co-presented session is one where the presenters have practiced together in advance. They practice turning controls over to each other so that the process is seamless during the actual presentation. An important step in production planning is to determine who will take the lead, how to introduce activities, and who will cover each topic. If there is any confusion about which slide is whose, I recommend adding a visual cue to every slide; e.g., if the title text is blue, it’s my slide; if the title text is black, it’s yours. If I’m supporting a presenter as an online session producer, I meet with him in advance to teach him the software and the interface, set up and test his system, and make sure audio and other issues are taken care of. I use a Speaker Tracking Form to document what we’ve done. You can download a Microsoft Excel template for the Speaker Tracking Form, in an archive with a Storyboard template, at http://www.elearningguild.net/ebook/Worksheet.zip. A printed version is in Appendix C.

What equipment and facilities will you need?
In order to present an online session, each presenter will need a minimum setup that includes the following items and services: • A quiet, comfortable place to work • A computer and, if possible, a backup • A wired Internet connection for the primary computer, and if possible for the backup computer • High quality audio • Access to the session room and materials

A place to work
Each presenter needs a workspace, including a desk and a chair. I’d like to say I can do my job from anywhere, but sandy beaches and village bistros just aren’t practical, yet. You need a place to be and to put your equipment — a place where you can sit comfortably for a long time. Find a comfortable chair and a desk or table that positions your keyboard and mouse at an ergonomically appropriate height. If your own audio line will be open, be sure to keep your background noise to a minimum. String a “Do not disturb” sign across your cubicle door, and turn down the ringer on the fax machine and pager. If you’re at your home office, put the dog in the kitchen or in his crate.

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Adjust the blinds to limit glare, and set the temperature. Bring in some light. Remember your bottle of water and ChapStick, too.

Two computers
At least one, if not two, PCs or Macs suitable for running the selected online software. (Some tools do not support Mac, so be sure to do your research.) You can use the second computer to display the participant’s view, that is, what your participants are seeing on their screens. A second machine can also be an emergency backup in case your primary machine fails during the session. Remember, you’ll need power. Don’t count on your batteries alone if you are using a laptop. Here are the average setup requirements for presenters (check the specifics for your particular software): • PC: 256 Megs RAM (more if you need to open several applications) • Pentium processor • Audio card • Windows 98 or better • Internet Explorer, Netscape, or Mozilla • Proprietary plug in to allow the second machine to connect to the synchronous session • Minimum 56K connection speed for the second machine, but if the session will involve heavy media files or application sharing, you’ll want more speed. (See the next heading, “A wired Internet connection.”) • Certain functions enabled or disabled (as required), such as JavaScript settings, or cookies and pop ups. • Macintosh and Solaris users: check your vendor’s system requirements. Some don’t support Macintosh and Solaris systems, and some provide a less functional interface than what PC users see.

A wired Internet connection
The presenter(s) must have a wired Internet connection. Yes, I know that, technically speaking, wireless should work just as well, but if you’re counting on application sharing and Voice over IP, make sure you have the best foundation possible. Participants, who are mostly receiving information, can get away with less upload speed as long as they can download quickly. If you’re presenting, your concern is with upload speed, not what your Internet provider tells you in their marketing collateral material, but your ACTUAL connection at that moment. Figure 4-1 shows the results of actual speed tests (http://www.Internetfrog.com/). Software vendors post preferred connection speeds for their products. The minimums are usually 28.8K and 56K, but most users will prefer to work on a wired cable or DSL connection. Your biggest consideration will be continual connection to maintain consistent flow of audio and data. Some software tools have an internal indicator to warn you when your connection speed is reduced. Think of connection speeds this way: When you’re driving on a four-lane highway late at night you have plenty of room because there’s very little traffic. If there’s an accident, though, it doesn’t

Figure 4-1
Internet Frog speed test results show your internet connection’s actual performance. This may vary considerably from what you expected.

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and a support call waiting list. To the VoIP user. it can be difficult to listen to a degraded-quality phone line. you might never notice that the flow stops and restarts. and the participants need to have high quality and consistently audible sound. When you’re downloading e-mail or files from a network to your local drive. Your software may have particular requirements that affect connections. You can allow all participants to speak openly.PRELIMINARY PLANNING FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4 matter how little traffic there is. but might not like it very much. Establish the best connection possible. As with telephone conference calls. Larry will not be joining on time. When all participants enjoy an uncongested broadband connection to the Internet. the audio might seem to cut out and drop words the way a cellular phone call does. In sideby-side tests with an open phone call. Patient listeners will be able to follow along. This can take extra time if you intend that all participants will frequently speak and respond. accidents. and regular traffic can affect your ability to get through or to send and receive continuously and consistently over a long period of time. which is installed on many (but not all) machines. congestion. Participants have reported headache symptoms after a few minutes of listening to a line with a hum or buzz. More likely. which allows multiple speakers to open their microphones and talk at the same time. Will Voice over IP be good enough? VoIP requires that each person who will speak on the session must have a PC headset with a microphone. and mute and unmute their lines. Elluminate also connects on one of two ports – 2187 or 80. testers reported a two. you still need to slow down and sometimes stop.to ten-second delay in receiving the VoIP audio. You need to find out ahead of time what your presenters (and your participants) have. there are options that can restrict or facilitate opportunities for verbal interaction. Take very seriously your decision about how participants will join the audio portion of the session. When participants rely on being able to hear in order to get the information they need. policy. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 52 . During rush hour. and then play it a few seconds late. they’re not stealing corporate secrets. If listening to audio. but with random gaps in between. Conflicts can occur when corporations don’t allow students to use those ports for Elluminate. High-quality audio (whether VoIP or telephony) Minimally. it’s very obvious when that happens. Rest assured Elluminate is just doing what is needed to run the session. Beyond input and output devices. but allow participants to comment at times when the operator opens the line. the presenter needs to have very high quality audio output. Be realistic about your connection to the Internet. The small microphone and speakers in a laptop usually don’t provide good quality. For example. Elluminate runs on Java. the system will download and cache the audio stream. content flow. Speakers often report a slight delay in audio and have a tendency to speak over each other. These options can affect session timing. citing security. bandwidth limits VoIP technology. Listeners hear all the words that were said. Last Minute Larry faces an obstacle when his IT staffer requires a trouble ticket and a three-day lead to open the port — not to mention the protocol meeting where IT decides if they are willing to subject their network to unknown traffic through the firewall. VoIP audio can sound as good as a call on a hard-wired telephone — remember those? Many synchronous online software tools support fullduplexing. and interaction types and should be considered in the instructional design process. You can let only presenters speak.

and you’ll post the right poll at the right time. Learning content — The learning objective of this segment (more granular than lesson). Be sure to include new phrases such as. language doesn’t flow easily. Method — How will you deliver this learning content to learners? You can’t just have a blank screen and talk. this very specific. or initiate an activity. you’ll remember to open files BEFORE you need to share them. 4. What will you be showing or doing? 3. or both ways? Which feature(s) will you use to deliver the instructions? What missing classroom elements will affect the lesson? What can you use instead? Once you’ve worked out the highly interactive sections. develop independent tasks for learners to complete offline. Label your spreadsheet columns as listed below and then fill in every detail. Start application sharing. 5. presenters can upload slides and share applications and other visuals. somewhat odd. Plan to post polling or open-ended questions. Convert and load PowerPoint files.) The beauty of using a spreadsheet is that you can write as much as you need to and not worry about margins. A storyboard captures what often feel like chaotic details in a more linear structure. “Click your Hand Raise button to request permission to use the Talk button. Talk track — Fill in who will speak and what they will say at this point. encourage Chat. By incorporating these adaptations into a storyboard. you must plan ways to engage learners with the tools that are available online. or in place. Create touchpoints that will confirm that learners are alive and with you.” For most presenters. visually. Go back to the less interesting content and plan ways to keep it engaging. Because body language doesn’t exist online. trainers. for this to work. Content might also include introductory instructions and ground rules. Some online software tools allow presenters to load materials in advance and leave them there until it’s time to present them. they all have their own way of doing things. you can always hide and unhide columns. discussions. The Tech check serves as a to-do list. start with sections that are best delivered in a group setting (role plays. you’ll start to see how things work. If you want to print the storyboard. The script helps everyone get used to the new terminology. Build a storyboard You can use an Excel spreadsheet to create a storyboard that helps instructional designers. Consider how the lesson will work. Tech check — Identify the technology that will have to be turned on. (See Figure 4-2 on page 55 for an example. list the filename here. Once logged in. and converting existing materials for use in synchronous sessions requires forethought and planning. What instructions will the learners need? Will you give instructions verbally. 2. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 53 . If online time is limited. typically need to log in to a session by following a link to a Web site and then entering a unique user ID and password assigned by the session Producer or training administrator. and producers keep track of every aspect of the delivery. Q&A). like participants.PRELIMINARY PLANNING FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4 Access to the session room and materials Presenters. every message to participants. These “ways” are not the same as the ways in which one does things face-to-face in the classroom. 1. The time to do this planning is well in advance of the actual session. When adapting content. Plan to support the instructional design Even though synchronous online software tools seem very similar. and every filename or link that will be used. Graphic — If you’re displaying a file.

You’ll rest easier if you’re proactive. When you’re ready to set up the session (Chapter 5). points of confusion on the activity. it’ll be a relief the moment nothing else exists. 7. However. text. “Please click on your answer in the polling pod you see on your screen. video clips. by using Web cameras. Read the notes attached to the column headings for more details. 8. if done intentionally and effectively. Set up a secondary solution to all key learning methods. polls. they probably don’t have anything else to look at. After all. and was able to keep the lesson afloat.” 9. and reminders about using software tools. Add your own learning objectives. PLAN B – The moment of dread will come. Flash animations. fill it in. and participants. Unfortunately. Include relevant graphics and diagrams that illustrate your point. You’ll try to share an application and your machine will lock up. the subtleties of body language are hard to observe on the little. including photos. “Log in to this site. By using this template.elearningguild. Be prepared to say. unless you’re showing something. The template has some content filled in so you can see what types of information to track. net/ebook/Worksheet. Don’t be shy about fleshing out a Plan C or D option either. they can ensure that each item is set up and ready to go when needed. blank screens prompt learners to turn attention away from the session. too. Intended response — The intended response lists what the participants are likely to say or do when you initiate the interaction. and you can adapt this to support your own sessions. This template will help instructional designers and trainers create a support plan for everything that will happen in a session visually. Like dead air. we are having technical difficulties and can’t give you the information you came here to see. download the file. A good storyboard is a gift to a new online trainer. You will move to an activity and the file won’t be there. in a archive with a Storyboard template.” “Please unMute your line and speak up. and technically.” I needed to refer to Plan D once. graphics. It’s true that it is possible to share video feeds of the presenter. Think ahead to what the learner will be doing or will need at that point. and sketching on a whiteboard has a new complexity.PRELIMINARY PLANNING FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4 6. grainy The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 54 . “Use more interesting visual aids. screen captures. PowerPoint slides. can contribute to knowledge transfer and retention (see Chapter 3). We cannot pass around a hard copy example of a document. Schedule regular (every 5-15 minutes) relevant interactions. List likely answers to an open-ended question. throughout the session. A printed version is in Appendix C. Plan to share visuals When classroom presenters would ask me what to do with their hands when standing in front of an audience. at http://www. my answer was. why not just use a conference call? The presenter’s body language and hand gestures can no longer serve as the default visual aid when there’s nothing else to look at. If people are looking at your hands. You do not want to have to say. You can download a Microsoft Excel template for the Speaker Tracking Form. especially if it’s easy to do.. Online. Response method — Head nods and audible sighs will not serve as communication methods. It helps them visualize the process and overcome the hurdle of managing many things at once. we can show or share nearly any image. use the Tech Check column to see what each activity requires. and open-ended questions. audibly. I promise. the bulk of what we do is share visuals with participants. “I’m sorry.” Even if the delivery option seems low-tech and lame. The ways we share images can vary depending on the file type and how we use it.” Provide a visual focal point for every part of your presentation. Interaction — Interactions will include instructions for activities. particularly questions. and advance the screen shot slides along with me. charts. These can bolster the visual appeal of any training session and. Plan how participants will do an activity and TELL THEM to respond that way.zip. and live demonstrations of software tools that are only installed on the presenter’s computer.

We're just getting settled in. "Please let me know which areas I should focus on most today." "Please say hello by typing in Chat and let us know where you're joining from. take into a breakout room. not familiar PPT with screenshots of Chat PPT tutorial file loaded and accessible "Please observe the screens I'm showing now. companies. Type on Whiteboard Learning Content Tech Check Talk Track Interaction Method Intended Response Response Method Welcome participants to the session. ET." What other comments or questions do you have? Poll They'll list expectations that I can prepare for or park. questions? Items you want to cover. Or type agenda item on whiteboard. let's practice.PT. or. somewhat familiar. please click Thumbs Up. Suspect mostly "somewhat familiar" PowerPoint slides loaded/Chat function on." Poll Aggregated responses will be displayed to all Poll Ask them to type experience level in Chat. or ring on the phone. Click the one answer that best describes your experience." "You can use emoticons to let me and the presenter know that you agree. or need help. Karen Hyder." Lots of messages in Chat Cities. disagree. remind them of the official start time. or to respond to an impromptu poll. type a private message to me. please click Thumbs Up now. if you're having technical issues you can send a private message to me. So. You can use Chat at any time to send a public message to everyone. PowerPoint slide Check audio PPT build or type in Chat Type in Chat or Whiteboard or add to PPT in advance "If you cannot HEAR me speaking. If you are hearing me now and my audio sounds clear. type on Whiteboard. type on Whiteboard.Figure 4-2 Storyboard for Session Intro — A storyboard will help you create a support plan for your event." Messages in Chat PPT and Chat Mostly Thumbs Up.multiple answer PRELIMINARY PLANNING FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4 The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning Create slide with question Ensure PPT file is loaded Fill in content details Firm up the agenda PPT Chat question Chat or verbal responses Ask participants about their current knowledge Participant responses Chat Lesson 1 Introduction PPT slides 55 . but not listed? Bullets and graphics Poll Create poll -. Clarify times. view out the window intermingled with pleas for help from last-minute Larry who doesn't hear the audio. a few Thumbs Down Emoticons PowerPoint slides loaded "If you're hearing me. Introduction to each other Audio and Chat Chat Introduction to synchronous software What is your experience using this online software as a participant? Very familiar. Slide: Additions. Graphic Plan B Text with start times in 3 time zones -. weather reports. countries." PowerPoint slides loaded "Thanks for joining." Talk through agenda points. assignments Poll and Chat Ask for verbal or Chat responses. GMT Thumbs Up and other Emoticons Click the Thumbs Up icon on the left side of your screen. respond verbally Firm up the agenda Show the agenda PPT Agenda slide No PPT? Take participants to a URL with agenda posted. Introduction to synchronous software PPT Tutorial slide No public Chat. contributions. click each item. Poll created and ready to show "Please use the poll to let us know what experience you have with this product. We'll officially begin at the top of the hour. Firm up the agenda Which Agenda items are you most interested in? Multiple response. If you think everything is important. respond verbally Introduction to synchronous software PPT with screenshots of the Emoticons PPT tutorial file loaded and accessible PPT Tutorial slide No public Chat." Not hearing ok? Chat privately.

When they each type a response to you. and plan out. what you’ll show at every point in the session.”) In the software you’re using. find a creative way to achieve the same result. Creative Solution: Have them type responses on the whiteboard instead of Chat. Showing a text document A presenter wants to show a PowerPoint slide deck with 25 slides and a two-page Word document. and isn’t free. No one else sees those 20 responses. but you can use a free trial. so the messages don’t layer on top of each other. 20 new text boxes open on your screen. Suppose your Web conferencing application will convert and upload the PowerPoint. If the instructional design calls for an activity that your software doesn’t support. and be prepared to make tweaks to activities or feedback options as determined by the software tool you use. and bullets and animations don’t display individually. this is a tedious solution. I also find that streaming video images from the Web camera requires a lot of bandwidth. Creative Solution: When using that tool. They may not be supported because the Web conferencing software just doesn’t allow them. you can count on having parts of the old design that the online setting won’t support. Alternate Creative Solution: Adobe’s FlashPaper software tool can convert the Word document to an uploadable SWF (Flash) file. but not the Word document. Think through. FlashPaper needs to be installed separately. I don’t need to see them live. Creative Solution: Application-share Word and the active document and all participants will see it. Find out if the bulleted text will build one line at a time the way you programmed the custom animation. Tossing a question out to the group You want each participant to type a response to the question “How would you use this?” so that all the participants can see what value the learning objective has to others. Showing PowerPoint slide animations and “builds” You want to show PowerPoint slides. the slide images become static. Here is my list of common problems in these areas. or they may not be supported because they aren’t practical for online use. they can only send it to one person at a time. you must make a separate slide for each of the animated items. Plan for incompatibility issues Know in advance how your online software tools handle your file types.PRELIMINARY PLANNING FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4 images. (In classroom design and instructor practice. I don’t find much learning value in being able to see the face of the presenter. Although I do like to see a photo of the presenter so I can assign a name to a face. suppose participants cannot use Chat to type to the whole group. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 56 . Admittedly. It’s important to determine early that the software tool you’re using will display your learning materials appropriately. Make sure it gets on the storyboard. You’ll need to control where they type. Low-bandwidth participants might find that images and VoIP audio cut out momentarily. Plan around unsupported instructional design If you are converting content from a classroom presentation. this is often called an “overhead question. and I’d prefer to reserve that resource for VoIP audio or desktop sharing. In some online tools.

If necessary. too. The Producer can do a number of functions in the planning phase that will help take the pressure off the presenter. who can type solutions to the participant privately in Chat. I’ll have more to say about them in Chapter 6. application sharing. assisting learners who fell behind in keystrokes. How will you handle handouts and supplemental materials? Presenters can provide a world of learning resources before. However.” Or. use. the Producer might call the person on the phone to identify the problem and solution more quickly. during. rather than having the Learning Management System send them automatically. but quietly moved around the classroom. post them on a Web site or a shared drive and ask participants to access them as they need them. so read this article carefully. which affect available features and options. The facilitator rarely spoke louder than a whisper. For one or two small documents. and after online sessions. That person takes on a new role online as Producer (I introduced this role in Chapter 2) or moderator and technical support rolled into one. The cheaper product might be missing some key instructional tools. Remember. be sure to check in with your instructional designers and trainers to confirm that each learning activity can be supported as designed. A Producer can take the pressure off one person having to do all the talking and manage the software. CLEARLY post the installation link to the required software on the same page. If you have more than five files. because planning is the time to bring this person into the picture. with brief instructions on how to use the software and then turn it over to the main presenter. Learning Management Systems also serve as easy-access storage. and backup files. Are you going to have a Producer? Our training center’s policy stated that if there were more than eight students in a class. they can call on the Producer. If participants find that their connection isn’t functioning. independent assignments.” If your files will require any extra software to open or play properly. Attach comments to files to indicate the purpose or assignment cues. Tips for supplemental files Create a logical naming or numbering scheme so participants can use files easily. such as. and they need troubleshooting help during the session. During the planning phase. reading materials. like polling.PRELIMINARY PLANNING FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4 Talk to each other If you’re the decision-maker for buying and implementing online training. those are pieces of the Producer’s role. online tools come from a variety of development companies in a variety of “flavors” or levels of service. This might require the designers and trainers to resort to a creative solution. especially if the group is small and the presenter or the Producer sends out course invitations. Even these small limitations could compel a serious rework of the instructional design. Supplemental files might include assessments or surveys. or participant privilege options. “This two-minute clip answers Dave’s questions about subnet masking. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 57 . You can make nearly anything accessible. Categorize files in order of date. e-mail is probably the best way to provide supplemental materials. The Producer might introduce the session. “There will be a quiz on permissions. you will want to decide whether you are going to use a Producer. we would assign a facilitator to provide extra support to the primary trainer and to the learners. or who were lost in dialog boxes. rather than disrupt the session. or topic.

panel members. and their hardware. and so on • Co-presenters. Java.PRELIMINARY PLANNING FOR YOUR EVENT | CHAPTER 4 Most of these planning-phase Producer functions have to do with collecting information about: • Hardware. and software issues • Any Learning Management System requirements for registration and tracking The Producer may also become involved in helping the presenter(s) deal with any matters of instructional design not supported by the Web conferencing software in use. connectivity. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 58 . particularly the hardware that the participants will be using • Connectivity issues for the participants • Software requirements for the participants: plug-ins.

Working with 600 dealerships nationwide. while offering quality training that its dealers love. It also includes a traditional classroom segment that Draper plans to replace with WebEx Training Center sessions in the near future. The program. while freeing my time to creatively develop new programs. Subaru’s National Customer Relations and Loyalty Training Manager. I spent seven months on the road. Despite the intense seven-month schedule. live chats. which uniquely focuses on predicting and fostering customer loyalty. FHI’s Subaru division currently sells more than 10 million vehicles a year worldwide. Draper was only able to reach dealerships in the Western region of the US. Inc. Implementing WebEx Training Center enabled the program’s sole trainer to reach 2. National Customer Relations and Loyalty Training Manager Subaru achieves industry first with WebEx Training Center. Draper was able to implement a crucial and unique component of Subaru’s OLP program: Customer Service Recovery.75 per person. After comparing four solutions. inC.” says Draper. The program. “Each prerecorded presentation lasts 10-20 minutes. “We needed a more effective way to deliver quality training to our 600 dealerships. “When we launched the program. polling. consists primarily of WebEx prerecorded and live online training sessions. Subaru was able to roll out the industry’s first customer service recovery program. and WebEx helped us do it. so a dealer can leave the sales floor and complete a session even during a short work break. Subaru of America is in the process of implementing WebEx throughout its enterprise. Meeting Center Subaru’s launch of its Owner Loyalty Program required efficiently delivering training to 600 dealerships across the US. LinE of buSinESS Automotive manufacturer Subaru of America.400 dealers within six months at a cost of $0. The Solution Draper searched the Internet for an online training solution. Using the on demand module in WebEx Training Center. (FHI) of Japan. Subaru’s Owner Loyalty Program (OLP) addresses the needs of a high-end market that expects premium customer service. Subaru of America works to maintain the value of the Subaru brand—long associated with quality and reliability—across the US. she chose WebEx because of its ease of use.” she explains.” To ensure dealers are qualified to participate in the Customer Service Recovery Program. First to introduce four-wheel drive passenger cars to the world. She continues. With WebEx Training Center. which teaches the dealers how to reverse negative opinions. With just a single trainer dedicated to this program.” she says. travel home and then do the same thing the following week. including attendee tracking.” says Darryl Draper. As a result. According to Draper. The company hosts the presentations on a Subaru-branded WebEx portal that dealers frequent. we notify the dealership and offer the dealer the opportunity to go back to the customer and fix the problem. abouT Subaru of amEriCa. is the exclusive United States marketer of Subaru products manufactured by Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. providing training to 600 dealerships across the nation proved challenging. Subaru requires each dealership to send at least two employees to an in-depth training program developed by Draper. “It was very intuitive and had all the features I was looking for. Draper developed seven OLP recovery presentations that dealers may access 24x7. requires the thorough training of Subaru’s dealers. NJ number of employees 800 TargET markET Consumers and dealers WebEx Customer Since 2003 . The Challenge Subaru’s launch into the luxury car market prompted the car manufacturer to evaluate the level of customer service it provided. and testing. “If a customer submits a negative survey. “Because accessing the presentations is WEbEx SErviCE in uSE Summary Training Center. I would spend three to four days a week teaching a class.WebEx Customer Success Story We’re the first car manufacturer to create a customer service recovery program to increase customer loyalty. Headquarters Cherry Hill. —Darryl Draper.

” says Draper.7000 Fax: 1. we trained 350 dealers in the first month.” The future On the heels of her overwhelming success with the recovery training program.408. WebEx Enterprise Edition is now being integrated throughout the organization for a variety of purposes.75 per person. “The course required dealers to retrieve data from the OLP site and to create an action plan that would resolve problem areas in their dealerships.” Draper has identified herself as a WebEx evangelist who would like to help other departments at Subaru adopt the solution. some dealerships have as many as 20 employees—instead of the two we require—participating in the trainings. Draper is also investigating ways to use the WebEx Sales Center communications portal for training purposes. Draper also requires the dealers to attend a live 45-minute WebEx session. 75 dealers had submitted action plans to me. Subaru Service Technical Trainers also use WebEx to deliver diagnosis and just-intime trainings to dealership technicians. “I’ve established an ongoing relationship with our dealers through WebEx. “WebEx has raised Subaru to a first tier level in the dealers’ minds. a crucial factor in increasing sales. For instance. Subaru now gets more attention from the dealerships. I now have more oneon-one interactions and know more about them than ever before. All rights reserved. measurable solution that dealers love.” states Draper. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.4353 ©2006 WebEx Communications.so convenient. WebEx has not only improved efficiency at Subaru but it has also helped the company strengthen its dealer relationships and the impact of its programs.” HigHLigHTS • The launch of Subaru’s Owner Loyalty Recovery required the program’s sole trainer to efficiently deliver training to 600 dealerships across the US. She concludes. converting to 100% online trainings by the end of 2007.408. • Subaru’s WebEx training is now considered the gold standard by which dealers compare other training programs. while regional vice presidents and training managers use Meeting Center to conduct meetings with dealers and salespeople located throughout large geographic territories.496.” says Draper.” Draper has also discovered that WebEx is an excellent tool for advanced learning. Subaru has trained 98% of its dealers. Inc.. She intends to transition half of her in-person classrooms to WebEx Training Center by the end of this year. WebEx presents a better solution to the way things were done before. She continues. “With decreasing budgets and increasing demands for efficiency. we trained 350 dealers in the first month.75 per person to deliver training. Now it costs approximately $0. WebEx and the WebEx logo are registered trademarks of WebEx Communications. Once again I knew I could rely on WebEx to drive important changes in my business. “Now the dealers use Subaru’s training as the gold standard to compare other manufacturers’ programs. “We’re the first car manufacturer to create a customer service recovery program to increase customer loyalty. Draper uses WebEx to start impromptu online sessions or conduct just-in-time trainings whenever necessary. CA 95054 USA Tel: +1.75 per person to deliver training.” As part of the recovery training.” explains Draper. “I’d like to upload relevant documents to the portal so dealers can easily access them. “Using WebEx. Draper already has plans for increasing the use of WebEx.” The benefits WebEx enabled Subaru to execute quickly on a customer service program unique to the industry. and WebEx helped us do it. She says. Inc. “Within a week. No other program in Subaru’s history has achieved these types of results. Now it costs approximately $0. —Darryl Draper. SS-128-0606 . “By enabling us to institute the Recovery Program. • Providing dealerships with better training and frequent interactions has strengthened dealer relationships and programs. Using WebEx. Draper has reallocated the time and money once spent on in-person training to an effective. At Subaru.” With its better training. Using WebEx. the IT department uses WebEx for internal application training. Since launching its online OLP recovery training program six months ago.435. • WebEx Training Center enabled Subaru to train 2400 dealers in six months at a cost of $0. WebEx is helping us foster customer loyalty that will increase both car and service sales. adding. National Customer Relations and Loyalty Training Manager As a result of using WebEx. 3979 Freedom Circle. Santa Clara. Inc. CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS: WebEx Communications. she recently incorporated a higher learning course into her training offering and had surprising results. The live online sessions optimize her time by making it possible for employees from multiple dealerships to attend the same session.

and you can advise particiThe eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 61 . the presenter or the Producer might upload session materials. I’ll go over the three major preparation areas (technology. user IDs. and data. Technical setup There are a number of technology details to verify. which can be tedious. Many Producers also serve as a coach to the presenters by rehearsing with them and providing feedback on skills and strategies. what time they logged in. Other software. and uploading it to the session room. their answers for polls and quizzes. it will be important to have each register and log in to the session using a unique name. In the latter case. the system prompts them to In Chapter 5 you will find information about: enter a name (or nickname) and admits them to the session as a Guest. Word. well in advance of your session. Producers set up and test everything in advance to ensure that all is in readiness. In this chapter. they can create Contents a generic login link and send the link out to an e-mail group or post it on a Web site. and to make ready. and passwords. others require that a software administrator add participants’ names. (See Figure 5-1 on page 62. Talk to your Training or IT department about the tools that are available to you. and customize session options.) Trainers can go back later and view reports on who logged in. permits uploading all the names and information at one time in a comma-delimited data file. set up polls. and get up to speed on how to use them effectively. and in some cases. Registration and tracking If your participants are students in a course and you need to track their attendance. Some tools prompt participants to complete a self-registration form. • Technical set up • Speaker preparation • Learner preparation and communication • Moderator checklist Connectivity There are three ways to reduce connection issues during your event. however. the Producer or the presenter will send an invitation and instructions to the participants. Many organizations use a Learning Management System to create and track session content. These begin with setting up the Learning Management System or other arrangements for registration and tracking of learners. or other formats. When interested participants log in. Finally. users. speaker.CHAPTER 5 Setting Up for Production By Karen Hyder P rior to the session. You can take care of two of them during your setup. and conclude with conversion of content from PowerPoint. and presenters don’t know for sure who will attend. participants) and provide you with a checklist and other Producer tools for this most critical step in preparation. some software requires adding names one at a time. When tracking is not an issue.

not a wireless connection. Excel. or install upgrades to players and add-ins. If a speaker needs to demonstrate how to use menus and screens from another software product (e. test everything! While you still have plenty of time to troubleshoot or make adjustments. In your invitation. Several online software tools offer VoIP technology instead of a phone call for audio. pants about the third in your communications with them before the event. or other pre-event communications. You can dramatically improve your connection to the internet by presenting from a corporate LAN rather than from a DSL connection in your home office (assuming you have a choice).SETTING UP FOR PRODUCTION | CHAPTER 5 Figure 5-1 WebEx attendee registration form.. Consider your audio options Think through the advantages and disadvantages of using Voice over IP (VoIP) audio instead of a conference call. Act!) or show a file created by that product. and all speakers (participants as well as presenters) require a PC headset or they will be severely limited in their ability to communicate with other participants. They use bandwidth and system resources. We spend a lot of time asking “Can you hear me?” Low-bandwidth connections often experience dropped audio. There is a small learning curve for using the interface talk button. you cannot upload and show files to participants from applications other than PowerPoint. Second. These are mini-applications that add menus or functions to tools.g. including memory. Software and services A key part of your preparation as presenter is to make sure you have control of the software and services you will be depending on. Participants might feel that they are losing information. VoIP does have its drawbacks. Be sure to open all the files and turn on all the features you’ll be using in the event. the solution is The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 62 . These plug-ins are free. or if audio fades or cuts out during the practice. For long sessions with large groups. it’s just delayed. test everything you want to do during the session. If anything behaves strangely. optimize resources during practice and during the actual event. suggest that all participants do the same. be sure to use a wired connection to the session. typically followed by speeded up audio. In either case. Prepare for application sharing With a few exceptions. You and your co-presenters will need to verify during setup that you have installed all the mini-applications you will need. Close unneeded applications. Clear temporary files and cookies. Recording functions integrate the audio without an extra step. but you can reassure them that they are receiving everything. Figure 5-2 illustrates an add-in that Live Meeting provides for PowerPoint. First. such as PowerPoint and Outlook. take steps to improve your connection or your equipment. Figure 5-2 Live Meeting provides an add-in for PowerPoint that displays a new menu. Here are three essential items to check during your setup. This is not a trivial decision. get wired. Lotus Notes. Finally. and the functionality can help you prepare materials more quickly with tools you’re already using. the cost savings can be huge. Plug-ins Software tools often have additional plug-ins or add-ins.

you can see yourself waving on the adjacent TV screen. and the speaker should allow some time for catch-up. as well as the audio component of the event. Many tools prompt users to install the software when they try to access the recorded file. If your purpose is to create a recording that will be used instead of a live session. so broadband connectivity becomes much more important. For others. the slowness would be intolerable. use an external recording tool such as Adobe Captivate to record the entire session. recording is a very good option.SETTING UP FOR PRODUCTION | CHAPTER 5 to “application share” the software. you’ll need to enter the number of the call into the session setup form (see “Setting up session rooms” below) so that the audio is connected to the recording of the visuals. It reminds me of video cameras in a store window. When you tell participants about the recordings (so they know they can access the recording after the event). If it takes two milliseconds for the speaker’s screen to change. Also. especially those that will rely heavily on VoIP and application sharing. including PowerPoint slides. This will allow you to clip out what you don’t need. shared applications. ask yourself how you plan to use the recording. Recorded lectures with hundreds of slides fail to keep participants The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 63 . In some cases. and 10 seconds for some participants to receive the change. If you simply want to keep it for review in case someone missed the live session. This shows the product or file to all participants. There is no opportunity to transfer content to participants’ machines in advance. Recordings are saved in formats that are unique to the software interface. VoIP audio recording is embedded automatically in the session recording. Encourage all participants to use broadband when connecting for sessions. Reassure learners that it’s OK for them to follow the download and installation instructions. be sure to tell them that they must install the required applet. Many Web conferencing tools provide a recording function that will capture the presenters’ visual aids. Anyone can play the recording back at any time. Some participants on dial-up connections at 56K or lower are still able to participate happily and successfully if they are willing to tolerate slower refresh rates. The main concern when using application sharing is that everything is real time. then you must reduce the number of changes. Figure 5-3 shows Jeff Gordon application-sharing Lectora (an authoring application) during an eLearning Guild Online Event. If you’re planning to record a session. Prepare for recording the event Figure 5-3 Jeff Gordon applicationsharing Lectora during an online event. consider the same instructional design guidelines that you follow for asynchronous delivery. If your session uses a separate conference call. and polls. If you need to be able to edit a session. When you wave. speakers must consider what the streaming data looks like to participants. you cannot edit recordings made by online software tools.

The system pulls invitation information directly from this form. Converting a file also reduces the file size so that the file transfers more quickly. Each Web conferencing application handles external files (your PowerPoint or Word content) a bit differently.) Your first decision might be to choose the type of session you’ll need. WebEx’s Meeting Center and Support Center do not have all of the options and tools found in the Training Center. (See Figure 5-4. Vendors provide tools within Web conferencing applications. and what format the session room will use.SETTING UP FOR PRODUCTION | CHAPTER 5 appropriately engaged.”) Start times and end times are critical if you choose to have the software generate e-mail invitations for each participant. (See discussion of persistent sessions in Chapter 2. Lower level and less expensive “flavors” also limit the number of participants in a session to five or ten. These tools offer different levels of support or “flavors” for different audiences. testing. and ask questions well in advance of the start of the session content. WebEx).) In most cases. privileges and settings can be set or changed both as the room is created. but differ on features such as polling. how attendees will join. You’ll need to fill in a form with several key details that affect the session audio options. You might choose to build in 15 to 30 minutes of lead time so that participants can log in early. the setup forms are extensive. or audio capabilities. and if participants will have privileges to type in Chat or print session documents. and possibly in other software applications as well. Figure 5-4 Adobe Acrobat Connect Meeting Information screen Converting and loading content You will almost certainly be displaying content that you have created in PowerPoint. offering options for how participants will register and log in to the session. They have the same basic functionality. “Familiar log-in. PowerPoint files lose some function- The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 64 . This method reduces late starts due to last-minute trouble shooting by 80%. Session start and duration times (items on the setup form) may not be relevant if your session is persistent and can be accessed any time. You might chunk the information in small segments with independent exercises balanced in between. You will have to convert this content to a format that your Web conferencing software can send to session participants. test their connections. Typically. In some online software tools (for example. For example. Be sure you know which flavor will support the communication type you want and the activities you have planned for your session. be prepared. what the session password is. and once the presenter has joined the session room. Setting up session rooms The first time you set up a session room. (See Figure 5-5 on page 65.

cannot be converted and uploaded. and any other file types that are running on the presenter’s machine. make the change or other edit. Other content for conversion might include graphics like GIF or JPEG. and then upload the new whiteboard file into Elluminate. they can no longer edit the slides as PowerPoint. A number of other software tools can create SWF files. you can convert PowerPoint files for use with Elluminate either from the Elluminate Web site or as part of the uploading process. Meeting. File conversion can cause slight changes in your files so always double-check the results. Be sure to allow a few minutes for this process. presenters and participants can view the slides. Check your licensing agreement and your software flavor (Training. and to break custom animations that build text one bulleted item at a time. When the WDB file is uploaded to the session room. They can annotate or write on the slides using the whiteboard annotation tools. but instead creates dynamic Shockwave (SWF) files. you can only edit errors in the original files. reconvert the file. As was the case with Elluminate. co-host. certain files. Speaker preparation The second major area of production setup involves coordinating with another speaker. The conversion process can take some time. that is. MPEG. or Seminar) to ensure it supports your material and file types. You can convert Word documents to SWF format using an external tool called Adobe FlashPaper. presenters might choose to simply use application share in order to show the content or make it available to participants. Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional (formerly Breeze) does not convert PowerPoint files to a static WDB file. However. They also provide different choices for the display size of the slides for various screen resolutions. especially if you have a very large file with lots of graphics or screen captures. AVI. As an example. use application sharing. such as Word or Excel documents. Several online tools provide an option to convert the file in advance to reduce the day-of-session preparation time. and Camtasia Producer In some cases. If your participants require real-time editing. This depends on the Web conferencing software you are using. the dynamic aspects of the files are still dynamic. In these cases.SETTING UP FOR PRODUCTION | CHAPTER 5 Figure 5-5 WebEx Session Options form ality (especially animations and transition effects) when they are converted to a usable format. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 65 . using the original tools. The converter changes PowerPoint files to static whiteboard (WDB) files. Adobe Captivate. The only way to edit a slide on the whiteboard is to go back to the original PowerPoint file. or SWF files. When SWFs are uploaded into Adobe Connect. The conversion process has been known to drop logos and other graphics files. custom animations work. including Adobe Flash and Flash Lite.

” Despite these obstacles. The objective is to set them up for success. Rick schedules time with another trainer to practice his session. They can no longer observe body language. Vince plans to show bulleted slides. trying to manage the technology at the same time seems overwhelming. Here. training and meeting online can be very effective. Eager to learn a new tool.SETTING UP FOR PRODUCTION | CHAPTER 5 or “guest speaker. and he obtains feedback that will improve his delivery. he won’t need to make eye contact. Invite staff members to join online rehearsals and provide typical participant feedback. Nervous Nancy is anxious about using synchronous e-Learning. logs into the interface and starts experimenting. with synchronous e-Learning. Here are some strategies all online presenters can apply immediately. Never mind what Erin and Vince think. and accept that the only way to make online as effective is to prepare appropriately. and the specific tools within it that you will use for synchronous e-Learning.) it’s difficult to know if my message is being received. and has seen a few Webinars. and as a presentation coach.” and with panel members. elaborate. Request that your team hold regular meetings online. He practices online alone. he installs the software on his PC. And sometimes participants accidentally log off and disappear. Become familiar with solving basic issues. She’s technically savvy. and the typical errors. She agonizes over rewriting lesson materials until the last minute. Rick will quickly get up to speed on the software. He speaks to an instructional designer about how he can adapt current lesson plans for online. He knows a professional instructional designer can help him keep lessons focused and balanced. Online speakers tend to be like one of these four presenters: Expert Erin believes that presenting online isn’t much different from what she does with an in-person audience. The communication methods they’ve long relied on suddenly fail them. This is an excellent place to make good use of a Producer. Presenting is difficult enough. It’s very different than relying on the feedback I usually get from students in a face-to-face setting. and answer questions as they come up. nor react instinctively to inquisitive looks. without having to be an expert in every aspect of the software. Erin knows her material inside and out. Vince Verbatim has little experience presenting in front of any audience. Connect with colleagues online simultaneously with conference calls. all trainers need some preparation and a little help to be successful online. Use it every day. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 66 . By practicing online with an experienced trainer. and feels confident that — with a few minutes of preparation — she can transition to synchronous e-Learning and deliver a successful presentation. Realistic Rick realizes there’s a learning curve when moving to online delivery. and that they have a good sense of the options available for them to incorporate into the design of their session. First. You can also observe the professionals at work by attending the online tutorials offered by software providers. Rick is the man to watch. Presenter issues Skilled classroom trainers may not like to admit that they feel like fish out of water when presenting online. Get comfortable with the functions. voice communications tend to be either severely limited or overly congested. But you must first admit that online is very different from classroom training. get to know your Web conferencing software intimately. the shortcuts. or what Nancy fears. “I feel disconnected from the learners. He’s relieved that. can use the basic interface features. and begin to adapt his presentation style and language for an online classroom. “(In online training sessions. I ensure that presenters can join a session. When online. “ says Curt Valmy of OM-Tech Learning in Fort Lauderdale. As an online event Producer. reading from his notes. I serve as technical setup and support.

Prepare slides that pose questions and ask for responses from participants. If they aren’t sure how to handle a task. This form is a table presenters can use to organize all the topics. you’ll ensure that learners will multi-task during your session. even the very experienced person needs to acclimate to an online software interface. Third. Sidebar 5-1 on page 68 is an actual example from one of our online events. you will see and hear responses. What you need to do in order to drive from Point A to Point B is. By doing this. How will you make use of your “premium time” with your learners and engage them directly? Remember. and a form that will help them plan how to use online session tools to support each agenda item or learning objective. and that help them to be successful their first time. and tools they will use during their session. and what questions they have. and obvious to the participants. they can ask you to fill in the table. It’s best to coordinate tasks with the event Producer who can troubleshoot issues and offer feedback. rather than defaulting to classroom-based methods. try out the tools and audio. I suggest that we might meet. presenters. and stay engaged. Start by making a Speaker Topic Support Outline I begin with an e-mail to the speakers. and learn to upload files. Mastering those differences and similarities in how to drive takes time and practice. Dead air and online fumbling are awkward. so you must keep them interested. but go beyond bulleted text and create an interactive discussion. adapt your instructional methods. I send along guidelines for preparation. participants will be just a window away from their e-mail inbox or a favorite Web site. practice Imagine driving in a country where they drive on the “wrong” side of the road. A few minutes of planning and preparation can eliminate many potential problems and give sessions. Speakers will inventory and plan everything. from introductions. This message offers several opportunities to prepare with me online. presenters can focus on how they’ll need to deliver each item. Good instructional execution will compel learners to process what they are learning. depending on how much time they need to get ready. to file types. the same as it would be at home. Polling and open-ended questions provide opportunities for audience members to contribute their ideas. Note that this is similar to the storyboard I recommended in Chapter 4. your job is to make everyone sound good and ensure that the technology properly supports every aspect of the session. ask questions. It’s a team effort that takes much of the pressure off of the speakers. connect with participants and find out where they’re coming from. But the mechanics of driving are now different from what you instinctively know to do. Speaker coaching and preparation When I coach eLearning Guild Online Forum speakers who are new to using synchronous online tools. That takes time. Lots of practice! So yes. and the online software interface license. The Online Forums provide the structure of the session. But by far the most important thing you can do is to practice. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 67 . Practice. learn to prompt participants for relevant feedback. to application sharing.SETTING UP FOR PRODUCTION | CHAPTER 5 Second. activities. what they are learning. By doing this. If you are the event Producer. practice. for the most part. All that the speakers need to provide is their content or learning materials. so don’t let anyone off the hook. respond to others. up to three or four times. and materials a more polished look and feel. a link to previous session recordings. If you default to boring lectures and PowerPoint slides. PowerPoint slides can provide a good backbone. I take steps that make the preparation process easy.

Next we talk or step through every feature they’ll use during the session. bad fonts. we can set them up together and practice using them. these simple tools can behave very differently. Then I point out what added features. PowerPoint and Chat. Inc. content. Information. we find errors or places where we need to make adjustments to poor images. audience. I first focus just on how the software tool we use is different. Polls. We might even need to adjust the The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 68 .com Session Title: How to Write Cost-effective Modular Learning Content Topic Outline What is Modular Learning Content? How many currently create modular content? How many currently reuse content across multiple courses or learning platforms? Before and After Example What You See … and What You Don’t See Attributes of Modular Content Interaction or Tool Definitions via Chat Poll Question: Y/N/Not Sure Poll Question: Y/N/Not Sure Possibly Shared Document or Online Time Test? PowerPoint Slides Contribute ideas via Chat Follow with PowerPoint Summaries Ask for comments. we have set up.SETTING UP FOR PRODUCTION | CHAPTER 5 Sidebar 5-1 The first coaching session Speaker Topic Support Outline Online Forum Topic: Designing and Developing Modular & Reusable e-Learning Content Presenter Name: Deborah A. Emoticons (status indicators). and Technology Information Types Research Based Principles New Units of Information Developing the Content Demonstration – Reusing Modular Content What Writers Need to Know About Modular Content Question and Discussion If a new speaker has experience with any online tool. and Relevance principles Chat: Who can provide a definition of a paragraph? Presentation: Definition of Maps and Blocks PowerPoint Application Sharing — Go to Content Mapper application to show modularity and reusability of content Presentation – “top ten” list Chat The Value of Modular Learning Content Common Problems of e-Learning Content What we need … What can help … How to Create Modular Learning Content: The Information Mapping Method Analyzing People. and proofread text and images together. we can convert and upload it. They also have settings that can restrict or allow options. We talk through basic functions as well as best practices and cautions. Often. Depending on the software interface. Layouts. Chat Question: What problems are you experiencing (or do you anticipate) when writing modular content? Follow with PowerPoint summary slide PowerPoint slides PowerPoint slides Use Chat and PowerPoint slides to discuss What do you need to know about the: purpose and scope. and handle any specific questions about Chat. anything I missed via Chat Chat Question: What are some of the benefits of creating modular content? Follow with PowerPoint summary slide. such as Debbie Kenny’s in Sidebar 5-1. dkenny@infomap. or colors. or display options. Labeling. If the speaker wants to show participants a software application running on their PCs. advance the slides. or what customized options. Kenny Vice President and General Manager Learning Solutions Information Mapping. We experiment with the options and settings. we discuss the differences between application sharing and desktop sharing and decide which one the speaker will use. If he plan to ask poll questions. Have participants contribute examples of information they create or write for each information type May be able to show some online Web or e-Learning examples or even an interactive exercise? PowerPoint Memory Test to Demonstrate Chunking. technology. If the speaker has provided me with an outline. I can proactively show him what tools to use to get the result he wants. and how to advance slides. If the speaker has a PowerPoint file.

At this time each speaker has the opportunity to test final changes to his presentation. Restate your role as supporter. Knowing that green is good and red is too loud is useful. for an example from this set. Some people are able to respond more easily by phone. staying on time and on task. in an archive with a Storyboard template.elearningguild. During the actual event. or for review and coaching purposes. and stay flexible to what they feel they need to practice. I make the most of each session. Dealing with the reluctant speaker Here’s some firm language I use in e-mails to prompt a response from preparation session-dodging speakers. we’ll see it as time well spent. the first few minutes of the actual session can be lost due to explaining to participants about clicking the Talk button on and off.) I include images that show speakers how to regulate their own volume without needing to ask.net/ebook/Worksheet. I also teach presenters how to display a layout option that allows them to control what shows on the screen. it’s clear what will happen at each stage. we’ll wish we had. Ideally. Each of the Web conferencing applications that offers integrated VoIP audio has a slightly different way to turn the audio on and off. while other speakers just ask questions.SETTING UP FOR PRODUCTION | CHAPTER 5 participant prompts to say. and about adjusting headset or microphone volume. “Dear Bill — I’m eager to connect with you in Adobe Acrobat Connect to set up your files and test your audio. If the presenter has not used the audio function of the application for the upcoming event. You might find out that they have not received your e-mails. need to do or say during the session to help the speaker. You can download a Microsoft Excel template for the Speaker Tracking Form. “Please label the screen by using your Text tool. as moderator. The third coaching session The third practice session is a dress rehearsal. I have a slide set prepared ahead of time so that I can show screenshots of the Talk buttons and audio controls. The Producer can prepare properly by creating polls in advance. Never scold.” and show a picture of the Text tool. both the presenter and the Producer will use the table outline (or its equivalent. Please respond to me today to schedule any day this week. and confirming that the PowerPoint file is properly converted and loaded. I focus on two main areas: (1) opportunities I see for the speaker to encourage interaction among participants. Again. the storyboard) to track along with the session. “KAREN: Please open the next poll. I use the tracking form in Appendix C to document every detail of preparation and delivery of the session. at http://www. speakers leave notes for me within the Notes section of the PowerPoint presentation. I’m here to help! Thanks! Karen :-)” Call.” I can open the poll and make it available for the participants to click response options. I assure you that if we get in the online session room for just 30 minutes. We typically record this session for benchmarking. In this session. invite them to prepare properly. some speakers prefer to go slide-by-slide and practice the entire talk track. In Debbie Kenny’s outline in Sidebar 5-1. on page 23. “Please type your responses in Chat. too. I’m also sure that if we do not get online together in advance.” or. Not all speakers meet with me three times. and (2) what I. Simply moving the Microphone slider bar will increase or decrease the volume.zip. if needed. The second coaching session During the second session. (See Figure 2-6. coaching the presenter on application sharing. and ask last-minute questions about presenting in this interface. “Can you hear me?” Volume levels often display as colored bars in the interface. update me on technical needs. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 69 . Let me know what questions you have. For example.

send a participant is behind a firewall and needs me a Chat message or e-mail me. please spend download software.doc) and have it ready for our lessons. If there are any questions.4:00 Practice activity and Wrap up sion. Participant readiness Sidebar 5-2 It’s critical to have participants (and speakers) install and test the software they need well BEFORE the session is due to start. to have a port opened. do it.2:05 Log into Live Meeting and dial in for audio (as per your confirmation e-mail) communicate with speakers or other par2:05 . e-mail. Also ask whether the vena few minutes reviewing this agenda. so be Phone # The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 70 . Thanks again! I’m looking forward to meeting all of you online. One or two problems are manageable. If you have any directly. be prepared with a few necessities. A common stumbling block is that questions prior to the session. Ten problems are not Sample Invitation and Agenda manageable. Learn about the Chat Agenda/Topics Monday. If you need to “excuse yourself” during the session.0. For issues during the event. and a link to the installa• Figure out the Mute option on your phone tion files. responding to this survey. The goal of this online session is to help you make the best use of the new features available in Act! 6. November 4 tool that allows participants to use text to 1:55 . or send instructions and links in an • Use a headset if you have one. contact me before Monday! that service. You may schedule “office hours. ask them to contact technical support Please complete and return the pre-course survey by this Friday. or leave the Help desk to sort things out with the pressure on and the clock ticking. • Get a brief demo of the software interface. Check If your software vendor does not provide your connection to the session by clicking this link: (add URL) If it prompts you to install a player. no matter how much support staff Send participants an agenda similar to this. just mute your phone and set it Registrants can log in during office hours to: down. either create a Web page that has • Hang a “Do not disturb” sign on your door all the instructions. solvable problems that participants can run into when using any online interface. use shortcuts 3:15 . you can refer all participants Goal/Purpose to them as part of your confirmation notice. Give a due date for performing and testing the Preparation installation and login. November 4.2:15 Introduction ticipants. If I’ll adapt the session to suit your needs and experiences.SETTING UP FOR PRODUCTION | CHAPTER 5 Learner preparation and communication There are a few common. smiley face. Please do not put our call on HOLD or we’ll hear your Muzak. Before our session begins on Monday. I was not in a position to help him because 87 people were waiting for me to begin the session. The caller had a standard technical problem and couldn’t log in.) Begin with your software vendor to see if they have a Web page where participants may Greetings! In preparation for our online Act! 6.” specif• Please set cell phones and pagers to silent mode • Open the attached file ic times you’ll be logged on and helping anyone • Get a notepad and a pen who calls or joins. If registrants cannot join the ses3:45 . and getting set up. I had to ask the caller to hold on until I finished my introduction.3:15 Contact Management features — compare to old system. Such technical issues can delay a person getting into the session. with time estimates. It’s far better to connect with each participant well in advance than to wait until two minutes before start time.3:45 E-mail features cessful. pre-course work. such as I’ll tell you when to reference it. the vendor does.2:30 Overview/Review of Act! 6.0 • Confirm that software installation was suc2:30 . Organizational Karen :-) restrictions on opening of ports vary. call or e-mail me. dor supports user installation and testing. you have.0 session on Monday. 2:15 . buttons that indicate status. I’ve had my phone ring just as I clicked the Talk button to introduce a session. • Experiment with the basic features. thumb up or down. and online etiquette tips. Files Please open the attached file (ActExercises.

Expensive ones break just the same as the inexpensive ones do. • Check audio speakers. technical support number. Some applications also generate the conference call number. It’s better to invest in two in case one fails during your session. will convert to each 30 minutes before event start • Start sound checks. and crib notes text. • Two PC headsets. Participants hear people talking through their own PC speakers or headset. PowerPoint. Include Usernames and Passwords. • Introduce speaker. Some online session tools allow presenters and participants to communicate verbally using a shared microphone or Talk button control. 40 minutes before event start • Use restroom. • Set connection speed for session to DSL or Cable. • ChapStick®. you may want to personalize the message and let students know how to prepare and what to expect from the sessions. Two hours before event start Confirm that you have: • Two PCs with proper player software. • Run audio wizard. go to URL . For participants who don’t have a headset. room access time. • Fill water bottle. and session start time. one backup that stays plugged into the 2nd PC to restrict audio output. ”). Don’t bother with headsets that cost more than $30. • Link to Resource Page where students can download handouts. One to use. You can generate invitations and send them directly to participants. • Remind participants that they need to log out at the end of this session and log in to the next.SETTING UP FOR PRODUCTION | CHAPTER 5 Sidebar 5-3 Moderator’s checklist Two days before event • Send reminder e-mail to each Speaker. my number. 50 minutes before event start • Join session room. • Chat with early participants. list of support tasks (“At slide 19. • Request feedback via online surveys — will send URL via Chat and will push link at the end of the day. • Stand by to assist as needed The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 71 . Invitations When you create a meeting you can complete an online form and send an automatic invitation to all participants via e-mail. • Hang “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. • Speakers’ phone numbers (specifically for where they’ll be that day). • Software vendor or Internal Technical Support number. Both connected via cable modem. • Confirm all files are loaded and properly pointed. • Speakers’ introduction information. External or desktop microphones are not much better. ID. and those sent through calendaring programs like Microsoft Outlook. the internal microphone (the small hole in a laptop keyboard panel) is a less-thanoptimal option because it can pick up machine noise and create an intolerable online hum.. Interfaces that use VoIP do not require a phone connection. • Speaker prep notes. • Printed schedule for the day showing at least two time zones. • Speakers’ usernames and passwords. • Greet early participants. • Set up breakout rooms.. Send an agenda with time estimates. load instructions into each room. files. • Check their microphones. There’s a tiny learning curve for people who need to remember to click Talk before they make their contribution to the discussion and release it when they have finished talking. and passcode. list of URLs. and e-mail access loaded.) This designates a classroom and automatically generates a passcode. • Link to post-event survey to push at the end. • List of event registrants with phone numbers and e-mail addresses. 15 minutes before event start • Start tweens tutorial. • Turn phone to silent mode. and online etiquette. • Review schedule and agenda for the day. Here are some additional topics to include: • Automatically generated e-mails. (See Sidebar 5-2 on page 70. • Cough drops. Polls. and applications to Application Share. sure to check with your network sentry. Along with the connection information. • Speakers’ files converted to correct format and uploaded. Typically only one person can control the Talk button at a one time. pre-course work. Event start • Start recording. Two login IDs and passwords. • Welcome participants.

SETTING UP FOR PRODUCTION | CHAPTER 5

user’s local time. If you are sending customized invitations, be sure to list the start, break, and end times. Be clear about the time zone used for the schedule, and provide a conversion tool so each person can look up their own start time. (I recommend http://www.timezoneconverter. com/cgi-bin/tzc.tzc or http://www.timezonecheck.com/.) • Include the URL link to log on to the session and the phone number for dial-in. If participants are dialing in for audio, remind them to use Mute if they can hear the background on the call. Also remind them NOT to put the call on hold or the rest of the participants might hear music! • Include detailed instructions to install online session software. Remind participants to install and test access to the session well in advance of the start. • Provide contact details for whom to call for help other than the presenter. • Send or post learning materials in advance. Allow time for participants to download and print handouts or other supportive files. You can also send surveys that will help you understand learners’ needs, or you can assign prep work to complete before the start of the session. • List agenda items that will be covered during the session. • Offer ideas to improve their session experience. Suggest they use a headset and adjust the sound as necessary, and post a “Do Not Disturb” sign to keep coworkers and family members out. Remind them that the session will tether them to the desk, so gather all the items they’ll need in advance; coffee, water, session materials, and a pen.

Conclusion
Building and delivering online events takes a lot of preparation and a few pairs of hands, but with practice, you can create excellent and effective learning experiences. Sidebar 5-3 on page 71 provides key preparation steps and timing in checklist form. Assimilate these strategies. I also encourage you to contact me concerning your additional questions and about overcoming specific obstacles.

The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning

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the problem becomes not what to do with our hands. I’m willing to weave in and out of the labyrinth of a line for hours in order to get to that moment at the top of the hill when I know I’m about to experience a real thrill. click the Talk button. Presenters might need to share a file with participants. for dealing with the times that technology lets you down. and I will present them here around the major activities of your online day. without hesitation. contacted your presenter or your panel (or maybe you are the presenter). You’ve contacted your participants and they know how to connect to the session and log in. and type a Chat response to a participant who has a technical problem. In online sessions. Essential checklists for the day of your event I love roller coasters. for managing all the details. Features can require several menu choices. is the moment that I get to open the microphone and. they sound distracted. mouse strokes. there are many things that the Producer and the presenters can do to make a synchronous e-Learning event a success. Y The day of the event Just as with a classroom-based course. all the rehearsals and testing for online sessions. and keystrokes. on pages 76 and 77.CHAPTER 6 Showtime! By Karen Hyder ou’ve done your planning. Trainers often find themselves literally needing an extra pair of hands. When I’m the Producer or supporting another presenter. and 6-3. I remind them that my role is to make everything go smoothly for them. but what to do first. and some pointers about the things you definitely want to avoid doing. I know I’m prepared and the learning event can begin. The The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 75 . In sidebars 6-1. all at the same time. I’ve organized my “lessons learned” after conducting many events. and prepared your slides and other content. Now it’s The Day. You’ll find several checklists here to help you make sure you cover your bases. I need to make sure they feel equally confident. you’ll find some checklists that I use in order to make sure things go smoothly for them — and for me. 6-2.” If I can feel confident and secure at that moment. Whether the thrill is terrifying or delightful depends on the feeling of safety and security — or my naïveté. In this chapter. Listen to the audio of a trainer who is fumbling with a menu or typing a Chat response. There are tips for handling introductions. I’m your host for today and I’d like to welcome you to this session. say “Hi. Contents In Chapter 6 you will find information about: • Essential checklists for the day of your event • Managing the online sessions with the help of an event Producer • Learner participation and interaction • Introducing participants • Running the event • Conducting tests • Disaster control: backup and Plan B • Online interaction “Do’s” • Online interaction “Don’ts” Managing the online session with the help of an event Producer Presenters used to ask me what to do with their hands when speaking to a room full of students. Let’s begin with the checklists. What motivates me to do all the careful preparation and planning.

shares screens. closing. and poses ques• Have backup copies of all files being used installed both locally and on a tions. The Producer also researches ques• A crib notes text file. headset connected. (See Sidebar 6-4 on page 82 for some er. Their managarrow . I • Turn off all noisemakers including ringers and fax machines. she is working blind. as well as typical tions that a curious student might ask. opening a new file). technically. • Phone. ware tools. Presenters who want an engaging session and need help managing online tools can recruit an online event Producer. Bijmler. ties. “Please expand the Poll Panel by clicking on the ‘down’ sometimes provides comic relief. They stay on You may not need all of these items for a particular event. and interface tutorial slides. no different than office phone number).” You can subtly give instructions to participants and presenters as needed using public or private Chat. This document is the storehouse for all text you might tions behind the scenes. As an example of a way this concept has • A Secondary PC with plug-ins and PowerPoint installed. wireless) connection. You’ll find it easier than reading from the screen. the Producer introduces polls and activiportable drive (thumb drive).SHOWTIME! | CHAPTER 6 temptation is to do less. She nous training programs that use radio talk won’t know what their shared image looks like on the participants’ end. The result is that the presenter can focus on delivering the content and engaging the participants. Keep a PowerPoint slide file available that niques to Improve Synchronous e-Learning at includes screen captures of common errors and solutions. and logged in as PARTICIPANT. connected to a wired been applied. structs. phone headset. Call waiting turned OFF. and charger. and instructions such as. If this seems like a lot to manage. and your introduction. and a spare headset. . and show a visual of the step he Novice presenters might decide they no needs to perform.”) Gamble’s session Using Radio Broadcast Tech• Emergency instructional slides. recommend using a Producer for any group of • Print hard copies of any text you’ll have to read. Then they introduce the presenter and stand by to Host/Presenter Technical Checklist assist for the duration the session. you’ll find that you can create better exchanges with your learners than you could in the classroom. You might also include a “Please Stand By” slide to inform longer need a Producer after they’ve done sevthe participants that you’ll be back on track momentarily. matter how experienced a presenter may be. show techniques. Your Poll files are loaded. proofread. Customize this checklist for your own use. If the presenter is the 2006 eLearning Guild Annual Gathering. The Producer can step participants through technical problems or audio adjustments by using the audio channel or by surreptitiously typing messages in Chat. until the end to close the session and collect • The Primary PC with plug-ins and PowerPoint installed. Hervé Brittman. While the presenter inwith presenter slides and supplemental files. This is a person who coaches the presenter (as I’ve suggested in Chapter 5) and provides technical support before and during the session. often asks the quesneed to type into Chat during the session. ask for help. • (Optional) Backup connection to the Internet. If there’s any chance that your connection could cut out on the primary PC. the Producer can cue the presenter or just do the task for him. Sidebar 6-1 Producers often kick off sessions with a quick tutorial on how to use the software. instead of doing less. connected to a wired (not evaluation feedback. • Phone numbers of all speakers and participants during that session (might be managing everything is possible. Muzzle the dog. and expect silence. logged in as HOST. However. and set to open.. and invent new ways to engage learners and to get feedback. because the impact of • Pen and notepad — jot down reminders. got the idea from Marc sample “crib notes. Include all URLs. Netherlands has developed synchroor the presenter is using Elluminate’s Preview Window.. I disagree. and supports the session • A Speaker Tracking Form. observations. calls breaktimes. Unless a presenter has two PCs logged in and can see what the learners see. Compuware’s training team in (not wireless) connection. If the presenter cannot remember the sequence to begin sharing an application or uploading a file. technical problems increases with group size. spare headset. participants to follow up with after the session. you can talk him through the process. you’d be wise to access the Internet a different way on the secondary PC. When things are working well. The Producer and presenters • Have all files properly loaded into the Agenda Builder. errors to research. List all activities and details of each speaker and each session. When you use the resources built into the synchronous interface. more than 20 people. ignore more. eral sessions and feel confident with the soft• PC headset for VoIP audio sessions. headset connected. lectures. struggling to use a feature (application sharing. the session rooms set up have defined roles. desktop sharing. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 76 .

SHOWTIME! | CHAPTER 6 Sidebar 6-2 Personal Comfort Checklist You’ll be tethered to the desk for a while. next steps. If a participant gets bumped out.” That is. and expand on. teach them how and when to use those. or ask coworkers keep voices low • A comfortable chair • Dress in layers • Water. and some details you will want to take care of before the session starts.e. we ensure in advance that everyone can properly connect to the session. • A quiet location. or other repository • Evaluation procedure. I encourage you not to use group sessions Intro and Closing Slides and instead simply create This is the minimum set of slides you will want to have prepared beforehand. or non-fizzy drink • Lip balm • Lozenges (please remove from mouth before you start talking) • Photos of learners taped to your monitor. i. interaction strategies that Ann • Tips to ensure good-quality connection to the session. • Introduction to host. using synchronous online sessions. how to mute the mike.) The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 77 . (See Chapter 5 for more Figure 6-1 This is the “tunnel window” that allows participants a quick return if they are bumped out of the session or otherwise lose their connection. and add to. These are some items you will want to have on hand. offer incentive to complete forms Introduction to the interface When you take the time to teach participants how to learn in this new model. other tools will look different. “Any questions?”. These right back in without having to find the email with the link. • Where and how to access supplemental materials and handouts • Who to contact for technical support during the session For the closing: • Thank you to speaker(s) and participants • Follow-up session. This window maintains a link to the session even if the user closes the session window. too. Remind participants to leave the “tunnel” window your session. In such a case. adjustments to user settings Kwinn explained in Chapter 3. how to use the tools. the lose five minutes. and tasks to complete • Where to go for recording or materials. If your intentions are that your participants will join a session and sit quietly until the end when they are asked. or learning objectives • Introduction to the interface. If you intend to provide support materials and activities they can use independently. he can get strategies to employ. agenda items. I assume you want to do more than “chalk and talk. Learner participation and interaction An assumption that I make here is that you see online session time as “premium time. you’ll find that they are more prepared and willing to participate. biography. if your goal is to • Name of presenter(s) include photo. and the host roles However. Ask participants for honest feedback. reenter his login ID and password. time for you and your participants to get together and exchange ideas and interact. this next Sidebar 6-3 section will not apply to you. Podcasts or asynchronous For the opening: • Introduction to the session tutorials that participants can • Notification that sessions are being recorded listen to or watch silently at • Schedule of session times and breaks their leisure. engage your participants in a how to respond publicly or privately using the Chat feature meaningful way throughout • “Keep this screen open” reminder (See Figure 6-1). how to respond verbally. Ideally. assignments. Leave this window open! (Screen shot is from Live Meeting.” Tedious lectures are even more tedious online. a Web site. LMS. here are some open (this is the screen that reads “Leave this window open”).

Ask participants to go through this mini-tutorial. on this. Try to schedule early log in and orientation to ensure an on-time start. etc. to show a short tutorial. Live Meeting Console. The presenter can troubleshoot any technical problems during this orientation to ensure instant access on the day of the session. Downloading and installation can take several minutes. (Java WebStart.0/ Elluminate_Live_7. It’s better for that to happen during the buffer time rather than at the very moment the speaker begins the lesson. include buffer time for participants to log in early and ask questions. An example of such a tutorial for the new Acrobat Connect is online at http://www.adobe. Send this information several days in advance. including some who are listening but finishing up e-mails or printing handouts. Post it on a Web site or mail them the file. and to have participants practice using the tools in the interface before you turn to session content. Figure 6-3 shows how Elluminate handles this — other synchronous systems have similar screens. Build a short tutorial into the beginning of each session: When scheduling an event.) We should also ensure that participants get used to the software interface before the focus of the session turns to content.) Offer your learners multiple resources and opportunities to help them learn their way around.elluminate. Allow time for solving log-in problems or connection issues.pdf Send a PowerPoint file: This contains labeled or annotated screenshots for participants that will step them through the interface. Figure 6-3 If a user tries to log in without the correct plug-in or software available. total learner attention is not expected.com/support/docs/7. Create a self-paced tutorial: This short lesson demonstrates the use of the tool.com/ resources/acrobatconnect/ Schedule short orientation sessions: Invite new participants to come to a live orientation session to test their connection and audio. Remember “tool time”: Many tools require that “plug-ins” or software applications be installed on each users’ PC. Check the Web site for your software vendor and see if there is an existing resource posted that you can offer. It’s okay that everyone is in a different state of preparedness. The system will prompt individuals who have not already done so to install the necessary software when they try to access the session. and to contact you or the Help desk to solve any issues in plenty of time. Flash Player. and to get a quick introduction to the tools they will be using during the actual session. (See Figure 6-2 for an example of an agenda posted on the Web from one of The eLearning Guild’s online events. Provide a Quick Reference Guide: Create a onepage file for participants to print and keep in front of them during the session. the system will prompt for a download and installation.). Understand that during this buffer period. For example. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 78 .SHOWTIME! | CHAPTER 6 Figure 6-2 The schedule of events leading up to the start of your session should offer participants several opportunities to confirm their ability to connect to the session and to learn about using the software tools and options available to them. Elluminate provides a Quick Reference Guide online at http://www.0_Participant_ Quick_Reference_ Guide.

what their role is. are caused by a variety of factors including an increase in traffic. When you get on the road. These are your clients. Include instructions about how to mute and unmute the audio! Welcome and thank participants. Treat sessions as “premium time. Teach participants how to use the software tools. I have a number of recommendations. Depending on a variety of factors. or can’t squeeze past another vehicle. know that participants will likely experience occasional delays in the flow of shared visuals or VoIP audio.SHOWTIME! | CHAPTER 6 Dealing with connectivity issues Let’s go back to a metaphor I used earlier. as in highway traffic. You might find that you can’t go as fast as you want to. Sending Chat messages and clicking emoticon buttons don’t require the same amount of resources as uploading files or using VoIP audio or application sharing. See Figure 6-4. But occasionally. Give enough information about the tools and the session so that participants can understand how the session will run. make no assumptions. While not unusual. some show up as breaks in the audio or a change in the way software features respond. Inform participants that the presenter will ask them to use these tools. or portions of the screen go blank. Think of this traffic scenario if you ever find yourself in an online session when suddenly everything seems sluggish. Help your participants optimize resources. Remember that delays. you might have some idea of what you’ll face. Include slides in your introduction that show the features of the software interface and that give clear instructions on how to use tools. Request that participants give the session their full attention. but with a slight change. or a more burdensome load. Now imagine the same highway and you’re towing a boat or camper or trying to follow your friend in the car ahead of you. including memory.” These sessions are live and in real-time. but won’t know for certain until you’re there. Set the ground rules for behavior and contribution online. Preparing users to learn When preparing participants for learning. First. and can last from one second to several minutes depending on your connection. and to clear temporary files and cookies. Imagine driving on a busy highway at the height of rush hour traffic. Online session software providers will tell you that participants can join a session with a connection as slow as or slower than a 56K dialup — this is true. the traffic flow might slow down or stop completely. just as you would in a physical classroom. However. Set ground rules. and how and when to use available tools. Figure 6-4 The Adobe Acrobat Connect connection test verifies that the user is ready to participate in a synchronous session. or the audio cuts out. and let them know your role is to support their learning. Remind them to close unneeded applications that use bandwidth or system resources. so make the most of this rare opportunity by exchanging ideas and customizing examples and answers for the unique mem- The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 79 . you can get through. Sometimes delays are undetectable to the participant. these “towing a boat in rush hour traffic” moments can be terrifying. Treat them respectfully.

participate. Invite participants to . Participants might feel apprehensive about using the tools.” or.. If you want participants to type comments or questions in Chat as you present. Display a countdown clock to inform learners when to return from a practice session or break. “Please click your Talk button and speak into your microphone. opinions. concerned that they might do the wrong thing or annoy the presenter. responses. otherwise they’d use a self-paced tutorial or watch a recording.” Your participants have questions about online session etiquette. type a response to a question. er . Otherwise. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 80 . you also have to say. They may think. Spell out exactly how to use the software tools to do it — I include an extra slide with instructions and screenshots just in case they didn’t hear my directions. applications. or click through a tutorial.. You need to make it clear that you WANT them to respond. If this happens. Also. allow ample time to perform the action. by staying quiet. Participants don’t know if you are the type of presenter who likes to hold all questions until the end. Make every effort to ensure sessions can start and end on time. ask them to hold all questions until the end. For instance. As a Producer. The session design should offer multiple points throughout the session for participants to give examples. I’ve sent private messages thanking “talkative” participants for their eagerness.SHOWTIME! | CHAPTER 6 Figure 6-5 Teach participants how to use any tools you want them to use during the session.. Participants might be shy or lazy or might think that your question is rhetorical. Learners in these sessions want an engaging experience. “Please unmute your phone link and speak up.” Invite them to contribute to the conversation during your “Introduction to the Session” session. Spell things out. you further prompt the participants to pay attention to what’s happening on screen. and asking them to hold back comments or off-topic questions until the end of the session. if you prefer. and breathe. or opportunities. (PowerPoint slide explaining WebEx annotation tools) bers of this group. “It’s easier and safer to stay invisible. remind participants of the earlier agreement and again request that messages be limited to questions to the presenter or to responses to open-ended questions. Chat can turn into a free-for-all. be patient and quiet as they craft and edit an answer. Be vigilant about time. clear your throat. respond to a poll. It’s a good practice at the beginning of the session to ask participants to keep their Chat comments focused on the session content. Or. participants often aren’t totally sure how to respond. Remind presenters and participants of how many minutes remain. When you ask non-rhetorical questions (where it’s supposed to be obvious that you want a response). during the session. These moments are the only times you are able to rest. Be sure to take advantage of these “participation points. although they might not know the etiquette for asking. “Can you give me an example like this from your own work?”. release or mute your own microphone. The best way to get learners to participate is to invite them to do something. if you ask a question such as. tell them so.. or if you prefer that they “raise their hand” virtually any time there is something they want to ask about. sip water. rustle papers. Then. Tip: Once you have asked a question and given instructions on how to answer.” When participants are asked to type responses in Chat.

and are ready to start. Be prepared to offer instructions to the presenter to increase volume. Be prepared for latecomers. In others. Ask them to send you a Chat message to confirm they have materials. Redisplay the slide containing instructions on how to mute and unmute the line. “How’s the weather?”. you must use a text-based method to inform them what to do. Move to the slide and ask each student to take his turn stating his name and where he is calling from. too. By now everyone needs to be ready to start. Participants can associate a voice with each person and have a chance to feel connected. (See Figure 6-5 on page 80. cold.) Running the event Transition on time from orientation introductions and thank you’s to the primary presenter and session information. Figure 6-6 Profiles offer a way for participants to “introduce” themselves to the group (Screen shot is from Elluminate.) Latecomers quickly get up to speed as they see who’s already on the call.” Sidebar 6-4 shows some of the entries in this crib file.. “Can’t see” or. Also. is very tidy. You can still do introductions by using the other resources available in your online session software. the presenters might need to type the city name for the participants. online training sessions can feel strange. Create interactions early. Ask. Participants can choose to view Profiles or not.. say a quick “Hello and welcome” to new people who have just joined. unwanted and. or “What do you most want to learn today?” Wait for responses to come in and provide verbal feedback to welcome participants and connect with them. An alternative to typing on the whiteboard is asking each participant to type his city name into the Chat feature.) Depending on available tools or privileges.SHOWTIME! | CHAPTER 6 Introducing participants In just the same way that cold calls can feel unfriendly. multi-way audio isn’t practical. introductions would take too long. In WebEx. it’s important to say. If learners can’t hear. Each participant’s login name precedes his response. I made this a The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 81 . by encouraging participants to introduce themselves. well . “Where are you from?”. each person can easily introduce himself. and to type his city name on the slide. and may use an actual photo or display a fictional image (avatar) to represent themselves. so other participants can easily identify the author of each comment. include photos of each participant. help participants learn about each other during the session. They can control how much information they offer. or for learner problems such as. or to make an adjustment that might solve the issue. If you have an audio line where everyone can take turns speaking. remind participants how to use whiteboard tools. “Once you’ve typed your city name. One option is to ask a question that each participant can respond to by typing in Chat.” You might want to create a PowerPoint slide to illustrate the process. Participants can post personal information and images for others to see. Check to see that proper privileges are set for learners to use the whiteboard. In the Host/Presenter Technical Checklist (Sidebar 6-1 on page 76). if available. found in Elluminate and Live Meeting. especially those who will work together for several sessions. you may have noticed that I referred to a “crib notes text file. For small groups. (See Figure 6-6. You can also create a slide with each participant’s name listed. can hear and see. This option. “Can’t hear” in Chat or audio. for example. Profiles. In some sessions. click away from the text to display it. Once you’re finished with the introductions. This is the official focusing of attention.

or virus scanner. Contact • Contact info for speaker • Contact info for Producer • Contact info for Support Microphone use issues • We can hear you typing — just speak your response. Control Panel. • Could you check your connection speed and make it DSL. • Is your e-mail open. • Where are you joining from? • Event intro begins at 8:15 PT/11:15 ET • We will begin at the top of the hour • Here’s the link to the schedule. let’s try a clean slate. Set up/support • Set your connection speed to DSL/Cable • Meeting menu. and internet connections will behave consistently well throughout the session. My connection speed • MY STATUS above our names • It is a drop down list • Please stand by • Please mute your audio. turn off Auto Gain Control. I copy from Word and paste into Chat or onto the whiteboard. • When you have addressed this Poll. • Click the LOCK button to release the microphone. Dire technical issues • Please call this number. You can drag it to the center when ready. Now you can drag your audio level down to the left and see the indicator on the left. • I’m going to call you on your cell. Be sure to bookmark it. turn off your mic. • We will post handouts shortly. To use Talk button • Click the lock icon to the right of the Talk button to turn on your microphone and keep it on.. • The third tool on the bottom is a Microphone icon. Chat Messages for Participants • Greetings! • You can use Chat to say hello or ask questions.. The Producer can observe the presenter and track along with the session plan. Audio Setup Wizard . • The Talk button and the lock next to it (Hands free) are dark grey. • On the 5th page of the wizard. loud and strong. • Follow the prompts. Some audio conferencing vendors also have an audio control panel add-in so presenters and Producers can control all of the audio lines. just MINIMIZE or hide the pod. Once you get up and running. • Not hearing you. handouts. • OK.. • GO BACK TO SLIDES LAYOUT. Conference call details • The dial in number is • Passcode • Use *6 to Mute and #6 to unmute Using Layouts • Click the App Share Layout button. • Please mute your audio. • During the next poll. This saves time and improves message accuracy. As I need them. • It will prompt you to Allow. Links to PUSH (Plan B — Plan A is to load into session room or PowerPoints in advance. and take a sip of water. click it.. • Move your mic away from your mouth or release the lock button. or anything that would be using system resources? Turn on Camera and Voice pod. along the bottom left.) • This event • Upcoming event • Evaluation form • Presenter content 1 • Presenter content 1 Chat messages you might need to send to Presenters • Are you ready to start? • Please increase volume • Please move microphone away from lips • 30 minutes remaining Audio issues • Too HOT — can you turn your microphone down? • Too QUIET — can you turn your microphone up? The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 82 . • Please keep Chat messages on topic. Be sure to update text and links prior to each session! • 2 minutes remaining • Please WRAP IT UP • To turn your microphone up in Connect.. and I keep it open to provide a quick source for the common messages and cues that I might need to type at any point in the session. • Yes.. • Under the Meeting menu. Then. Thank you! • Please use e-mail or another forum to continue this conversation. • Good. Click Advanced . adjust your volumes and microphone. • Please Click the button in the lower left corner of the Camera and Voice pod (top left). • I can hear you breathing. • Your audio is fluctuating a bit.. • Ring . • Links.SHOWTIME! | CHAPTER 6 Sidebar 6-4 Word document. the handouts and the Login links. • Check your settings in Windows. and to presenters. Please close the application and reboot your machine. • Keep talking so I can assess the consistency. • Clear your temp files and cookies. My connection speed .. and later recordings will be posted (enter URL). • Go to your Meeting menu (top).. type in Chat: • You can click the Full Screen button to increase your display size • Please run the Audio Wizard. Karen’s Event Crib Notes These are messages I frequently copy and paste into the Chat area of a synchronous online session. • Be sure to release the LOCK button when NOT talking. clear your throat. Wait a full minute before you come back. • You should see a green indicator as you speak. audio. • Be sure to Test Silence and be quiet. Ideally. RIGHT mouse click on the slides and click Settings . I hear you. I can send messages to the whole group. • Please log out and back in. When presenters are moving Poll pods to the viewable area • Your Poll is open. • Your microphone is now open.. to individuals. To reduce audio fluctuation When presenter is App sharing Turn on Enable Participants to use Full Screen (at the bottom of the Share pod). the presenter is prepared and the software. the bulk of the session is the presenter speaking and showing files and demonstrations to learners. • CLICK THE LOCK button. • We will post the recording shortly.

SHOWTIME! | CHAPTER 6 Figure 6-7 Elluminate layout options. When I think of what my participants will be doing when they see this. and a list of attendees in addition to the PowerPoint slide or application sharing display. I display text Chat. hearing and seeing relevant feedback from learners is key. Online session software provides several ways to “ask” and several ways for participants to “respond. easy way to get feedback and responses from your learners is to ask for it. It includes every bulleted item you can imagine. Producers! Be prepared to offer assistance to the presenter. and sales staffs • Help marketing see demographics and trends • Build client relationships Figure 6-8 Seed your presentation slides with open-ended questions to keep participants engaged. yes/no. He might need help clearing the whiteboard or advancing slides. (See Figure 6-7) If you prefer not to use a Question and Answer panel.) Here’s an example: A PowerPoint slide presentation comes with the instructor’s version of the Act! 6. By doing this. (See Chapters 3 and 5 for details.0 courseware. If you want to give more emphasis to shared applications. audio controls. you have no idea if what you did or said had any impact on your learners. • Forward leads with all relevant contact information • Track interaction between our administration. “How do contact management tools save time?” Then I thought about what their answers might be. Open-ended questions provide opportunities for participants to contribute their ideas. but it has a slow start. you can see and hear responses. When I’m able to control the layout. and provide a format for them to use. multiple answer. One sure-fire. Without feedback. and find out what their needs are as well as what they are learning. Stay alert. and open-ended questions. Knowing that they are already familiar with the concepts of contact management. Synchronous software tools display content in unique panels or pods. you can turn it off. and how to best instruct participants to use these tools. I turn off all other tools until they are needed and keep the screen tidy. One slide boldly lists 10 reasons to use a contact management tool. I want to hook them in and get them actively participating. These are small.to medium-size on-screen windows that float on top of everything else on the presenter’s display.” It’s up to you and the instructional designer to determine how best to craft multiple choice. marketing. I created a new slide with just one question on it. Ask lots of questions. They expand and collapse as they are used. connect with participants. Prompt participants for relevant feedback. I imagine them yawning and clicking over to their inboxes. You can organize and display a configuration or layout of panels to emphasize the tools you need to use at a specific time. no matter what topic you’re teaching online. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 83 . you can increase the size of the share display area. Using questions and annotations Certified Technical Trainers CTT+ will tell you.

The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 84 . Sidebar 6-5. and then prompt participants to type their answers using annotation (whiteboard) tools one put everyone to sleep. wild guesses. You can also prompt learners to use the whiteboard tools to annotate. that works. as long as you have done the planning and the thinking ahead of time. If they can answer the question. any slide during a discussion or Q & A. I seed my presentation slides with these open question slides. you’ll have a good indicator that using annotation (whitethis audience is not as novice as you anticipated. or Chat. answers appear on your prompt slide. Figure 6-10 Participants can type The extra bonus to using this strategy is the ongoing assessment of learners’ knowledge. and are willing to respond. But here’s a handy trick. (See Figure 6-8 on page 83 for a typical slide from an Excel course. When using a canned slide set with bulleted — Order of Operations points there’s not much room for interaction. instead show them a prompt slide first. and any question that begs response Figure 6-9 from participants. Depending on the software. as the entries from the audience appear in Chat or on the slide. you can THEN display a slide with all the answers (Figure 6-9) and discuss any remaining ideas. like Figure 6-8 on page 83. (See Figure 6-9. If 100% responses to a question of the participants are able to fill in the blanks you’ve left for them. with lines. When I come to an open question slide in my presentation. There is another way to use questions: the polling feature. putting them in context. And you may also get lucky and find that participants offer a perspective you hadn’t considered. circles. Additional questioning and evaluation will help board tools). opinions. or boxes as well as with text. you’ll likely find that individuals can guess or anticipate what the bullets are without seeing them. you can discuss those entries that correspond to your content. (See Figure 6-10.) When their entries slow down. in our example). So rather than showing a bulleted list slide like Figure 6-9. but it is also an opportunity to validate participants’ knowledge without radically changing your lesson plan. I ask the question Slides with bullets like this posed there. This is not only a test to see who’s awake and listening.SHOWTIME! | CHAPTER 6 OK. review questions. Their confirm that fact. on page 85. Some are leading questions. I can capture students’ verbal input by typing their responses on the whiteboard myself.) Participants will simply read along as the presenter describes each bullet. If there’s a chance that some or all of your participants have a conceptual understanding of the topic (as they should. one of these options will suit your needs better. Then. summarizes the process.) If those communication options are not available to participants. we’re on the right track.

) Poll question and answer text can be typed or pasted from a text or PowerPoint document into a pod. 4. ing the session. I can ask the question to start the particFigure 6-11 ipants thinking about their responses while I Displaying a Poll in Adobe show the poll. reveal the responses you need. The pod can be displayed as needed. you can create polls in advance or inside the session room. When I come to the slide. Reveal original slide and data AFTER participants contribute. In WebEx. display percentages. learners and presenters with key concepts very quickly and visibly. Be sure the question is worded clearly to generate the responses you need. During the session I pre-open a Poll pod in the presenter-only area right before it’s needed. Even in a 1:1 demo or sales session. Remove data on the first copy. clicking on their choice. If there’s any delay in action. It requires It’s worth testing the question on some friends to see what responses they are likely to generate. 1. Ask a variety of questions that challenge the participants and help you to learn more about your group. For example. I leave a placeholder “cue” slide in the PowerPoint file displaying only the poll number and the question. I always know when it’s time to display a poll. Thank them and validate their answers. Carefully planned polls can get a snapshot of 2. Work with an instructional designer to create the most relevant Poll questions for your session. Why not ask a question? Create a slide with this question and possible short answers. you’ll get their attention back for a few minutes. Pose the question to your participants and ask for their responses. polls can be an informative way to connect with your guests.SHOWTIME! | CHAPTER 6 Sidebar 6-5 Using the polling feature The polling feature displays a question and several possible answers that participants can “vote for” by Before the event: 1. There’s little worse than relying on the audience to accurate typing while participants stand by and wait. Tip: Always prompt participants verbally to respond to the poll. they will spend the time thinking about the question. You can tally responses and 2. pod from the hidden Presenter Only area. and placed anywhere on the screen (even out of the view of the participants). and having them offer every answer but the You need to prepare your polls ahead of time as part one you need! of your design and preparation work (see Chapters During the event: 3. 4. she can drag it from the private area into the public area. learner perspectives and can also reconnect the 3. and are only listening to the session. By downloading a separately-installed software application (WebEx Poll Questionnaire Editor) presenters can create the polls The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 85 . (See Figure 6-11. Address any points not offered by the group. Acrobat Connect Professional creates and saves Polling pods (small windows) inside the session. Select an original bulleted slide and duplicate it. can be sized. Connect by dragging a poll I encourage presenters using Adobe Acrobat Connect to include a placeholder for Poll pods. Polling in different tools A Quick and Easy Way to Prompt Participation Each online software product handles polling differently. If they have clicked to another window. and 5). It is possible to create polls dur3. When the presenter is ready. but I don’t recommend it. leaving only the title or question.

) Inside the session room. and open-ended text responses. Camtasia. plug-ins. You can further engage the audience by vali- Figure 6-13 Elluminate’s polling question responses display in the participant window. “If my microphone volume is at a good level. (See Figure 6-12. When using Elluminate. Articulate. Be sure to use the correct emoticon names for your software. You’ll better understand who’s in your audience. who’s awake. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 86 . Use that tool set for quick audience analysis and impromptu polling. or additional software tools that aid in developing session materials. go ahead and type the name into Chat” (in Elluminate. you can prepare and save polls ahead of time without logging into a session room. such as. Yes/No questions. please click the Thumbs Down button so we can see if adjustments are needed. create polls in advance by creating a PPT slide with a question in the Title and a list of possible answers labeled with letters A through E.) This is great if you are sharing a room with other presenters.” Broaden the response opportunity by adding “If you’ve created an e-Learning course using a different software tool. there is a menu option that allows the speaker or moderator to show the appropriate buttons on the toolbar. please click on the Smiley Face. Participants can then click on the button that corresponds to their choice. Start using these early by asking easy questions. for example. Are you unsure of skill levels? Post a polling slide or quiz to quickly assess them. and who has experience. (See “Managing Chat”) You can introduce new topics by. If not. providing many more options and requiring more development expertise.SHOWTIME! | CHAPTER 6 Figure 6-12 With the WebEx Poll Questionnaire Editor.” Ask learners to click specific emoticons to indicate whether (or not) they are now able to see the onscreen demonstration. Their selection displays next to their name in the Participant Info window. With the Live Meeting presenter add-in. you can create polling and other features inside PowerPoint using a proprietary menu on the PowerPoint menu bar. call the tool “Direct Messaging”). Are participants hesitant to interrupt you to ask questions? Encourage them to type questions in the Chat area. Hover your mouse pointer over the emoticon or button and the proper name will appear. and you can hear me clearly. Impromptu polling Most online tools have buttons that allow participants to respond affirmatively or negatively. or if your service charges by the minute for access to the room. or Lectora. Many online synchronous tools have downloadable add-ins. asking the audience to “Click the Smiley face if you’ve ever created an eLearning module or course using Flash. (See Figure 6-13. You might also develop content in a more high-end tool such as Flash. Content developers can add polls. without actually logging into the session room.

I type Chat reminders to the presenter stating how many minutes remain in the session. The presenter’s screen resolution determines the size of the image displayed to the participants. The open question exchange begins in the first ten minutes of the recording.com windows. speak. swf. There are a few actions that are relevant in most cases. Application sharing is the best option if you don’t know what you need. The Producer can read Chat messages as they come in and respond to technical issues in a private message. Some learners can feel overwhelmed by a lot of banter in Chat. In Adobe Acrobat Connect. Use Desktop sharing when you want to share several different applications during your demonstration. Doing demonstrations The steps to launch application sharing differ slightly between online software tools. This is an entire session from an eLearning Guild Online Event. I turn on my microphone to update the presenter about what I see on my screen. Be careful what you share. First. Managing Chat Encourage participants to offer comments and questions throughout the session by typing in Chat and reading each others’ messages.” Voila! NOW you have interaction and an invitation to participate at will.net/ebook/Kenny-401_clip. When you start sharing. including your e-mail inbox and your minimized shopping. you will be limited to showing ONLY the application you select from the list of things running on your computer. open the application before you need to use it. In addition to Chat messaging. If you need to cue the presenter while she is speaking. Feel free to type in your comments or raise your hand to request the use of the microphone. send a private message to each of the “chatters” to kindly stay on topic. Also.SHOWTIME! | CHAPTER 6 dating their responses. You can listen to Debbie Kenny prompting participants to respond to her open questions in Chat. Great! I’m eager to hear your perspectives and ideas during the session today. logged in. The presenter knows that messages there are only for him. I suggest that participants might want to click Full Screen view to increase the size of the shared application. and listeners can hear hesitation in the speaker’s voice when he or she is reading. at http://www. And we have several experienced Flash users. and perform tasks simultaneously. Polls and testing can require an extra pair of hands: one person to open the file and the other to verbally ask the question or give instructions to participants. but might prefer to wait for a pause in the material to stop and read Chat. and ready in another window.elearningguild. question-and-answer features allow the presenter to filter incoming messages and respond to the sender or to the group. This option will display absolutely anything you have running. When I’m using VoIP and the learners don’t have audio. Have it open. desktop sharing tends to require more bandwidth because it needs to send so much information. and this feature reduces the amount of it. If The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 87 . It can be very difficult to read. If random conversations pepper the Chat messaging. “I see MaryH has used Dreamweaver and SteveS has used HTML. If you choose application sharing instead. Just choose the name of the application you want to share from a list and participants will quickly see your shared screen. It’ll be much easier to pick out your message. paste text from your Crib file into a private message so the speaker sees it as a different color. presenter Chat pods are separate from public Chat pods and are on a different part of the screen. you’ll have an option for Application sharing and Desktop sharing. hidden from others. The presenter should respond verbally to content-related questions.

Some tools pop up text messages as they come in. It’s easy. When you load and convert the file you’ll see the fonts. you might need to say “Click the Full Screen button to display the shared image in a larger size. ask participants to change their status indicators or emoticons.SHOWTIME! | CHAPTER 6 adjustments are possible. This is very useful when participants cannot verbally respond. multimedia files Avoid embedding media files into PowerPoint to play inside your session. Participants can voice their needs instantly and silently. graphics. You play the file. even when in breakout The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 88 . It’s better to load the file into the interface and cut out the middleman. slow down. rather than advancing one slide at a time. Participants cannot see the sidebar. or pulse checks (to find out if you need to speed up. Be aware there is very likely to be some choppiness in the image and audio at some point. Check your features information. be prepared to tell presenters or participants how to make them. and animations as you created them. especially for the slowest connections and weakest computers. Not all tools accept all file types. Try PowerPoint’s Replace Fonts function and switch to a more standard font. When using Adobe Acrobat Connect. or answer some questions). If you have more than one presenter. Sometimes they don’t convert correctly. Figure 6-14 The Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional sidebar allows the presenter to jump to a selected slide. This sidebar can also follow cues the designer has created as Speaker Notes added to the PowerPoint file. Status indicators For quick responses about audio level. You can advance one slide at a time. some presenters don’t see the Stop Sharing button that sits in the system tray.” Producers. Slide viewing Slides typically display the way they were formatted to display. and things look wrong. Text messaging is seen by all participants. The sidebar is not seen by participants. WebEx’s Application sharing function is one of the most straightforward. or jump ahead or back to a specific slide. participants see it. stand by to coach a presenter through sharing his application if he gets stuck or is showing the wrong view. plug-ins. Audio and video clips. and complementary development tools. take a break. all should go well. and even it necessitates help. you can send participants to breakout rooms where they use a separate whiteboard and audio button. but it’s easy to miss if you’re fumbling with a menu or Browse window. For instance. If you’ve done a test run of your audio and video clips with a typical user’s computer and you see that it works. agree in advance which presenter(s) will advance slides. Figure 6-14 shows the Acrobat Connect Professional sidebar. Breakout rooms In Centra and Elluminate. Yes/No questions. The sidebar displays a list of slide titles so presenters can quickly jump to a selected slide.

Also. not minutes. and secure submissions. Conducting tests In addition to Level 1 evaluation forms (a. gets an error message indicating “wrong user ID” or “wrong password. Shut down unneeded applications. join the session from a home office outside the firewall • Audio drops.” • For some Web conferencing applications. Your synchronous software product might include test development tools that support scoring and reporting. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 89 .SHOWTIME! | CHAPTER 6 rooms. or a Learning Management System. talk to an instructional designer or psychometrician for appropriate test question content. so global messages can be sent. and make sure they can get to files or applications they’ll need. • Participant can’t log in. log out. Internet Options. Third party tools like Questionmark Perception also provide robust test development and tracking. Create tests and technology that ensure fairness. Ensure this is done days. A helpful reference is http://en. Try joining as “Guest. give very clear instructions. and log back in again. This could indicate the affected machine does not have enough memory. • Interface integrity breaks down or freezes. Try deleting temporary files. Writing test questions is an art form. The user might need to reboot. using Tools.k. Students tend to be sensitive about tests and their scores. Verify that password is correct case. Talk to IT well in advance of the session. As always. Or the testing functionality might be part of your version of a tool. • A firewall may be blocking access. how will they understand what the presenter is talking about? If you try to launch an activity and it doesn’t launch.wikipedia. Change connection speed to a lower setting. before the session. The problem may be low bandwidth. Disaster Control For every plan you have for how things are going to work. Try logging in again.” Check that the link hasn’t word-wrapped. Stay available for questions as they work. so if you need help. Elluminate recently updated their breakout controls to make it easier for the Producer to control who gets sent to which breakout rooms. scoring. have another plan for what to do if they don’t work. or images load slowly. how will you continue the audio presentation? If some users are not able to view the shared application. an additional software application (a plug-in) needs to be installed on each user’s machine. and reporting. Delete Files. Common errors and fixes Presenters and participants might not be able to join sessions or might notice changes in the behavior of the software due to common technical issues. weighting.a. then what? Even the best-laid plans fall apart. Work with your instructional designer to create appropriate practices and activities to support your learning objectives. do thorough testing of your tests before you deploy. Breakout rooms are a good place for 1:1 troubleshooting with an event Producer or presenter. Shut down unneeded applications. Independent practice activities If you ask participants to do practice activities. seems to have the wrong link. give a time limit or due date. If you log into a session and the presenter’s VoIP headset doesn’t work. If this does not lead to resolution. “smile sheets”) and interactive polling slides. accuracy.org/wiki/Psychometrics#Standards_of_quality. wording. presenters and trainers may also include more formal quizzes and tests.

even learners who have been distracted or have lost audio can stay in the loop. His plan A doesn’t work. If you need time to think. When referring to a button or tool on the screen. Check audio settings in Windows Control panel. Try a headset with a USB connection or. know what options you have for responses and solve problems immediately as they come up. Participants each have to pay to call in. Shorten the filename and try uploading again. (http://www. If a presenter’s connection to the session is poor but the Producer’s connection is strong. If the text message function is called “Chat” or “Direct Messaging. Swap out the headset. Here’s a clip of Matthew Murray’s online Forum session for The eLearning Guild. Filler words like “um.” “like. your participants will perform the task much more quickly if your instruction is very clear. so he downshifts to another option. Convert the file before loading. In your role as Producer. A professional-sounding voice and careful choice of words improve the credibility and clarity of your message.com can provide a good plan B for audio.swf) Freeconferencecall.00 hardware device that can pipe the phone call into a PC soundcard and into the session. The Producer can send the incoming call through THAT-1 and into the online session. 2. • Presenter audio cannot be heard. Mind your language. 4. Backup/Plan B It’s better to have plans B. C and D than to have to reschedule a session due to a technical showstopper. Participants can still receive audio over Internet and do not need a separate phone connection. 6. try a two-jack audio and microphone headset. Edit yourself. Notice the recording showing the participant activity.” With these tools. if USB is the type you have. Master the language of the interface. Prepared presenters don’t miss a beat as they implement the plan B solution and keep going. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 90 . especially if coupled with reinforcing visuals. Like dead air. but the conferencing is free. By using concise and articulate language. The presenter didn’t himself go to the backup file.” Without a face-to-face relationship.elearningguild. your voice represents you as a person and a trainer. use its name and its location on the screen. THAT-1 is a $139. you won’t need to ramble on.SHOWTIME! | CHAPTER 6 • Presenter can’t upload a file. 1. Shut down audio function and restart. the presenter can call the Producer on the phone. Your online time is limited. Be sure to test your Plan B and C options as thoroughly as you do Plan A. Online interaction “do’s” Here are some final suggestions to consider. Provide a visual focal point for every part of your presentation.” and “basically” are even more tedious and unprofessional online. take time to think. Avoid overuse of idioms that don’t add to the meaning. They require excess words and can alienate non-native English speakers. Synchronous online sessions are reminiscent of talk radio broadcasts. You can reduce the amount of detail after you’ve used the tool a few times 5.” While it might feel strange to be so specific. Reinstall the plug-in.” be sure to use that terminology when directing participants. blank screens prompt learners to turn attention away from the session. “Please click the ‘My Status’ drop down list arrow just above our names in the Attendee list on the left side of your screen.” “uh. 3. Then speak. Stop saying “um. Also include visuals that explain what’s happening now: “The Session Will Begin at 10:15 After the Break” or “Up Next: Demo: Editing a User Profile.net/murray/components2/ testrecording. Include relevant graphics and diagrams that illustrate your point. Then click the ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ indicator.

If after a full minute you haven’t heard or seen a response. hosts. As with any field. it’s better to turn off your microphone than to try to read and talk at the same time. no one wants to hear you breathing. Don’t apologize for the interface. We can do other things. Take advantage of points in the presentation where. during. Make sure everyone’s technology is ready to go in advance so they can connect to the session room. understand the speaker. Find out more about your learners’ application needs. Here are a few strategies that WILL NOT help you create an effective learning environment. They don’t need nagging or criticism. you can go off microphone to breathe. respond appropriately to poll and Chat questions. calmly fill in with Plan B and move on.SHOWTIME! | CHAPTER 6 7. something was working well. We’re all adults here. Participants need the basic information and some guidelines to get tasks done. and re-engaged them regularly throughout the session. If they were able to see learning materials. If you sound like a dictator or cheerleader. You can’t do everything the way you did it in the classroom. moderators. Mute it! 9. Don’t do “hit and run” training. Be as patient next time you ask a question — don’t be discouraged. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 91 . Keep your pace and tone conversational. Online session software is a tool that offers functional resources to engage groups of people. or burping (yes. If you think the language around synchronous online tools is strange. Reference and use the materials throughout the session. Online trainers. Producers. Your online session can become more productive when you’ve already taken care of some of the preliminaries and learner-specific issues. While reading Chat or opening new files. Don’t read silence as disinterest or unwillingness. Every niche has its lexicon. Get in the habit of using Mute or simply releasing the microphone whenever you’re not talking. and after online sessions. participants might not have the functionality to verbally respond. Send preparation materials or links to materials well in advance. It’s not practical to try to talk non-stop through your session. even the very quietest are audible) into your microphone. If you haven’t engaged them in the first two minutes. Don’t patronize your learners. or invents new words to label the innovations as they come into use. and complete assignments successfully. you might distract learners from your message or invite them to tune you out. Don’t label a session unsuccessful if learners were quiet. but that’s OK. tell them how to respond and then wait quietly and patiently. and event support professionals with other titles are responsible for teaching the new language of the tools in synchronous online training. there is language that borrows terms from other fields. ask the question again. you’re right. you might feel quite limited when working inside an online tool. Plan time to breathe. Initiate an e-mail conversation with each participant outside the synchronous session to open another avenue for feedback and questions. and think before you continue. while you wait for participants to respond to polls or type in Chat. Also. coughing. dumping tons of information in one session and then disappearing. Not all sessions support multi-speaker audio. like body language or two-way verbal communication. facilitators. Behave like you would in any other professional interaction. Online interaction “don’ts” If you’re used to having certain resources available. Make use of the opportunities you have to connect with participants via e-mail or an online discussion group before. A presenter saying “Any questions?” at the end of a presentation DOES NOT count as interaction. no matter what role we play. speakers. If no one responds to your questions. 8. take a sip of water. Don’t wait until the end to ask for participation. they will have completely checked out by the end.

—Lori Van Holmes.” says Van Holmes.000 in travel costs in that one rollout alone. With restaurants located throughout the United States. saving $30. Lori Van Holmes. “We would send out enormous information-packed rollout books to each restaurant.000 and weeks of in-person training in its first online food rollout. Inc. she immediately began thinking about how a web meeting application could help solve the rollout problems at BUCA. needed an effective training method to ensure its new programs and services would be rolled out quickly and accurately by staff in 104 restaurants located throughout the U. To maintain the integrity of its well-known brands. The Challenge For a dynamic restaurant company like BUCA. exceptional Italian cuisine and warm. She introduced the idea to BUCA’s CEO and soon began a trial of WebEx Training Center. “The amount of information was overwhelming. We were also able to show pictures demonstrating how to prepare the food. and the ancillary training material answered all of our questions.” she says. ABOUT BUCA. and the delivery method just wasn’t working. we launched our desktop publishing application and dynamically drew lines to show the managers exactly where the new items were on the menu. Restaurant Company WEBEX APPLICATIONS WebEx Training Center The Solution When Van Holmes attended a WebEx online meeting to further her own professional training. the instructors excellent. uses WebEx Training Center to dramatically improve information delivery processes and standardize quality of service. It was a significant success. that the changes implemented by the corporate office were not being rolled out consistently by all 104 restaurants. BUCA now offers Family Members (employees) frequent interactive online trainings. BUCA. VP of Training and People Development INDUSTRY BUCA. but the trainings provided by WebEx were great. Inc. divisional vice presidents and culinary supervisors often traveled to each restaurant to train the staff in person. Using WebEx Training Center accelerated BUCA’s information delivery processes. improving productivity and quality of training across its restaurants.” recalls Van Holmes. BUCA’s most recent program rollout with Training Center was a program acknowledging employees who have reached tenure throughout its restaurants. Inc. new menu rollouts and changes to restaurant services need to be frequent. attentive service — throughout all of its locations.” explains Van Holmes. BUCA must consistently replicate its unique family-style dining experience — complete with distinct ambiance. ”It was surprising how easy it was to use WebEx and integrate it into our organization. INC. Headquarters Minneapolis. The restaurant managers were responsible for wading through the information and then passing along the essential bits to the kitchen staff and service personnel. “I administered the meeting but the senior director of family resources was able to log in to WebEx and make his presentation SUMMARY BUCA. it became clear to BUCA’s VP of Training and People Development. The first food-related WebEx training Van Holmes conducted was for a lunch rollout. With 104 BUCA di Beppo and Vinny T of Boston restaurants located in 30 states. “During each WebEx training session.WebEx Customer Success Story We completed our first online lunch rollout in less than a week when normally it would have taken our culinary supervisors and divisional vice presidents a month of travel. In addition to the books. is one of the premiere restaurant companies in the US. We saved $30. BUCA found that distributing this type of new information to the field was challenging. During each rollout.. Inc. MN Number of employees 6500 Line of business Restaurant company Target market Individual consumers WebEx customer since 2005 . Not only is the system intuitive.S. Van Holmes simply sent out a meeting invitation through Outlook giving restaurant managers the option of choosing one of four meeting times. fast and effective.

WebEx has enabled a new dialogue between the restaurants.000 in travel costs in that one rollout alone.408. “By polling the audience during a presentation. “We haven’t even scratched the surface of what we can do with WebEx. HIGHLIGHTS • New program materials sent to restaurant managers required in-person training.408.” she says.. Van Holmes is planning on cutting out a full day of training at BUCA University. We’re really excited about coming up with even more ideas to meet our goals. and in smaller. increase profitability and provide ongoing development of our people. from the restaurant managers to our COO and CEO. but the WebEx training is what we rely on to make sure our managers get the real essence of the material.” says Van Holmes. “Managers can now learn best practices from their peers. Van Holmes used the WebEx polling feature.” The Future As a result of the significant impact WebEx Training Center has already made on the BUCA organization. We now provide more training than we ever did before. Santa Clara. the business results of using WebEx have been significant. concentrated amounts. WebEx is helping Van Holmes meet the development needs of the BUCA staff by enabling more frequent training. VP of Training and People Development The Benefits With approximately 20 BUCA rollouts a year. According to Van Holmes. ensures uniformity of service across all 104 restaurants. “We plan to use WebEx hands-on labs and breakout sessions to make these trainings even more robust. • • • CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS: WebEx Communications. online presentations managers could conveniently attend. from the restaurant managers to our COO and CEO. We saved $30. Better and faster delivery of information. For each rollout. Van Holmes is focused on finding new applications that will further streamline and improve BUCA training. —Lori Van Holmes.496. WebEx has also enabled BUCA to deliver information quickly. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. WebEx and the WebEx logo are registered trademarks of WebEx Communications. Van Holmes has also found that WebEx provides built-in accountability for BUCA employees and encourages communication.7000 Fax: 1. We now provide more training than we ever did before.” says Van Holmes.” states Van Holmes. improving knowledge retention. Finally.4353 ©2005 WebEx Communications. SS-106-0306 . but now the WebEx meeting schedule is listed in the books so managers can attend at their convenience.” says Van Holmes. To keep the audience interested and involved. And everyone loves WebEx. Now she looks forward to having WebEx help her execute on her department’s vision. “WebEx is helping us achieve our organizational goals: to grow sales. BUCA found that WebEx was easy to use and integrate into its existing processes. “We completed our first online lunch rollout in less than a week when normally it would have taken our culinary supervisors and divisional vice presidents a month of travel.” says Van Holmes. “The traditional rollout books are still sent out two weeks before. and were not being incorporated effectively by BUCA staff. increase profitability and provide ongoing development of our people. speeding employee productivity and ensuring that training is aligned with corporate objectives. In fact. The books are there as a reference. a six-day in-person training conference that takes place four to six times a year. restaurant managers have begun sharing their experiences with each other. combined with more frequent training.” she explains. WebEx is helping us achieve our organizational goals: to grow sales. And everyone loves WebEx. Inc. up to 400 managers are trained by three hosts using WebEx Training Center.right from his office. Then I showed the percentages for each answer on the spot. All rights reserved. There are no more excuses for not doing what’s being asked of them. “I asked attendees questions throughout the presentation.” she says. Inc.435. Inc. more palatable amounts and enable users to advance at their own pace. not only from the presenters. Using WebEx. WebEx Training Center enabled BUCA to convert the large amounts of rollout information into short. inviting them to raise their hands to answer. CA 95054 USA Tel: +1. WebEx is now used for all rollouts at BUCA. I can check to make sure managers are focusing on the right information. Transitioning part of the training conference to ongoing online classes will deliver the information in smaller. BUCA’s dedication to improving processes and providing better services is what led Van Holmes to incorporate WebEx in the first place. During the online meetings. 3979 Freedom Circle.

Audio levels and quality can vary from user to user. Begin with a structured Question and Answer session. Alternatively. the demonstrations are complete. display a new slide to ask learners. The final Question and Answer (or comments) opportunity When it’s time to begin the Q & A period. When I call on you. quizzes.) This makes it much less likely that the presenter or the Producer will forget or overlook anything important. Microsoft Live Meeting has a mini-controller plug-in so all caller audio can be controlled right inside the presenter console. the presenter or Producer can prompt participants to un-mute audio in order to speak. For teleconference calls.CHAPTER 7 Wrapping Up and Following Up By Karen Hyder T he event wraps up when the presenters have completed their delivery. “Click the Hand Raise button if you’d like to queue up to ask a question. Structure the closing Just as I have a structured introduction. Each caller’s audio can be opened and closed by the Producer. assignments. using online and audio tools. click the Talk button. it takes participants longer to respond than it did in the classroom. Contents • The structured closing • Clean up In Chapter 7 you will find information about: Display an agenda for the closing Post a slide or message asking participants to stay logged in to complete any final tasks like evaluation questions. Be patient and give plenty of time for them to voice or type their questions. Use a labeled screenshot of the settings and display the slide if it’s needed.” measuring The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 94 . Send detailed steps in an e-mail or post in a common area. (See Sidebar 7-1 on page 95. “What questions do you have?” Be sure to indicate to participants how you want them to respond or to contribute. I also believe it is important to provide a structured closing.” Remember that. Some teleconferencing services have a Web-based call control panel. Be ready to adjust speaker audio settings or to signal the user how to adjust. Try to keep reminders short. See Sidebar 7-2 on page 96 for a recommendation I use that helps me organize the screen real estate effectively and appropriately for this part of the closing. • Pause for your own assessment • Session evaluations • Follow up and ongoing learner support • Connect with the LMS Collect Level 1 evaluations (“smile sheets”) Level 1 evaluation is sometimes written off as “smile sheets. audio lines might be opened allowing everyone to speak freely. and further instructions. and the storyboard calls for a final Question and Answer or Comments round. and it provides the participants with their assignments or other transfer tasks.

Even negative responses can prompt us to find solutions and better support our learners. many charitable students raised my awareness of my own mistakes. These phantoms might cause accounts to appear inaccessible later. Direct them to a text-only discusClosing checklist sion board where they can ask questions about • Q & A session • Display agenda for closing the assignments or about content. in an environment where we can’t see scowls or smiles (Level 0). Remind remaining participants how to exit. • Collect Level 1 evaluations (“smile sheets”) There are many more formats for collabora• Thank the presenters and the participants tion and communication than ever before. Say “Thank you” Take a moment at the end of your session to thank presenters and participants for joining and contributing to the session. it’s wise to “remove” them from the session to avoid phantom log-ins that will be seen as continued activity in the session room. Assignments and resource links Except for an evaluation form. If learners are expected to use them. If appropriate. show the learners how to access materials. Over the years. or public journals written by an • Save Chat text individual). clear text. Remove any remaining participants from the session room If participants don’t log out. thank other contributors and support staff. be sure to provide detailed instructions on how participants can use these tools and resources. Inform them of available asynchronous (self-directed and self-paced) support materials and tools.WRAPPING UP AND FOLLOWING UP | CHAPTER 7 only how the learner felt about the training or the presenter. • Assignments and resource links These include wikis (community-created Web • Turn off recorder • Evaluation questions sites used as knowledge repositories). and Podcasts (downloadable audio • Clean up annotations. or if there are assignments participants must complete after the synchronous e-Learning event is over. or tests posted there. Be brave enough to ask for constructive feedback from participants. Level 1 is good information! Use a short questionnaire to collect evaluation data during the closing session. addressing training • Remove remaining participants • End session and exit room or news items). Turn off the recorder If you’ve been recording a session for other users to see later. (Web logs. I’m thankful they set me straight about things I might have continued to do wrongly. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 95 . participants accustomed only to a classroom-learning format might not anticipate any follow-up after the training is over. However. Just as with synchronous online session tools. blogs • Final remarks or questions. be sure to address these points as well. Presenters can use these tools • Post recording file and methods to continue supporting learning • Send follow up e-mails opportunities beyond the online session. Think strategically about questions that will elicit the most valuable information from participants. Explain how and when to use them. assignments.) You can send longer forms later via e-mail. reset files (if room will be reused) recordings in MP3 format. If your organization uses Sidebar 7-1 a Learning Management System. (See Figure 7-2 on page 97. you should stop the recorder after giving instructions and assignments.

WRAPPING UP AND FOLLOWING UP | CHAPTER 7

Close the session room
Watch the clock carefully when you’re online, and be vigilant about keeping starts and stops within five minutes of the posted time. Remember that learners have other meetings to attend and trainers have other sessions to set up and start. If your licensing is by the minute, don’t keep the room open any longer than it is needed. Before you leave, make a “last call” for questions from any participants who are still logged in.

Sidebar 7-2

Clean up
Q & A Layout in Adobe Acrobat Connect
In Acrobat Connect, I use a Layout for Q & A that’s very different from the Layout I use for slides or sharing. The Chat pod is four times bigger than the normal Layout and the Share pod is much smaller. (See Figure 7-1) This serves a few purposes. With a large Chat pod, it’s much easier to scroll back through and read missed comments and questions. Also, the large Chat pod signals the new focus of the session and de-emphasizes formal content. However, with the small Share pod, the slides are still available for reference. Presenters can backtrack to earlier slides, if necessary. Tip: In order for this to work properly, the same shared file and the same Chat pod must be loaded into both Layouts.

Scan the list of Chat messages for comments and questions that still require a response. • Save Chat text to refer to later. If there is no “Save” option, just copy the text and paste into a text document. If you ran out of time to respond to all questions, re-post the questions with your answers in a separate format such as an asynchronous discussion board, often called Chat rooms, and participants can access them at any time. • Save any whiteboard files, delete files (if necessary), and properly open and close polls so the software records responses. • When you are finally ready to leave, be sure to End the session rather than just Exit, again to avoid the session staying active. • Enter all notes into appropriate forms. • Post the recording link or file where participants, and those who missed the session, can access it. (Some tools have a recording editor, others do not.)

Pause for your own professional assessment
In the process of cleaning up, spend some time thinking objectively about the successes and shortcomings of the session. Inventory the Figure 7-1 An expanded view of the Chat pod makes reading and responding easier. technical issues, the timing, the feedback, and your own presentation skills. Be open to learning from mistakes. Make some determinations now about what you will do the same way next time, and the things you need to find a way to do differently. Make content edits and notes now while you remember what it was you didn’t like, or what participants said they didn’t like, or what didn’t work at all. Your online trainer and Producer role requires that you respond to feedback, and change behavior or methods quickly to improve learning environments and serve learners effectively. (See Sidebar 7-3 on page 98.) Be honest and realistic about technology and how it works. Set the right expectation and offer solutions. Don’t build huge expectations about features, fail to test those features ahead of time, and
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WRAPPING UP AND FOLLOWING UP | CHAPTER 7

then blame the technology if things didn’t work well for everyone. Review all the points in the session that did work well. Ask yourself what was in place to ensure success. Go back over your Storyboard and fill in details or make changes. “Launch Application Sharing HERE.” Or, “Use multiple-answer types poll.” Make improvements on your introductory, tutorial, or emergency slides to give important instructions more clearly. Continue to make small improvements, and soon your sessions will be so polished the technology will become transparent.

Session evaluations
Training professionals have a habit of asking questions at the end of sessions to find out perceived effectiveness and value. We try to ask questions that will give us useful data, data we can respond to. I prefer data provided by people who take the time to really reflect on the evaluation. As a result, I like to offer a longer evaluation where they can write comments, too. Some data is more useful than others. So what’s the perfect mix? You tell me. When I ask learners to evaluate the session, I want to know how the session worked for them both technologically and educationally. If the technology was an obstacle, it’s important to know that. I also want to ask how much of the information did they already know, expressed in ranges: 0 to 10%, 11 to 50%, 51 to 90%, 91to 100%. This gives me a good perspective on the learners, and something I can ask about later. What did they learn that was new? I also want to know how soon they anticipate using what they learned: immediately, in three to six months, six to twelve months, one to two years, or never. I want to know the type of connection they used (LAN, DSL, cable, dial-up modem, or satellite) and how the connection performed. I expect responses like: • Great. Solid. No latency or clipping. • Good. Some clipping, but I’m used to it with Skype. • Fair. I wish I had been on my other connection. • Bad. Where are the recordings posted? I need to play it back later. I also want to ask questions about their opinions, how they liked it, and did they feel that they learned. If your team needs to seriously consider what you want to evaluate and why, look at the broader picture of evaluation as identified by Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick. With end-of-course “smile sheets” as

Figure 7-2
Post a short series of evaluation question Poll pods and show them at the end of the session. Prompt participants to respond before they log out.

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Level 1 evaluation, Levels 2, 3 and 4 are increasingly more difficult to measure, but often worth tracking. Learn more about Kirkpatrick’s four levels at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_ Kirkpatrick

Follow up
Much of learning takes place after training, when students attempt to apply concepts to practical situations. They might need your help, or they might need support in the form of a quick reference guide or a transcript of a live session. You can make resources available to them at any time and in almost any form. There is now a myriad of methods to continue communicating with and supporting learners as they find opportunities to apply what you taught. • You can send an e-mail to recap key learnings and elaborate on assignment details. • Post follow-up messages on Discussion Boards and Chat rooms to ignite additional asynchronous contributions from participants. • Make use of any resources you have to post assignments, files, and follow up questions to create an ongoing dialog. • If your organization has an LMS, get training on how you can use the tools and features that it provides. Sidebar 7-3 • Find out how you can build a community of learning when blending group commuPresenter feedback nication with other learning resources. When I produce another person’s session, I e-mail them a day or two after the The proliferation of computer and Web session, to say thank you or to follow up. I include survey information and Chat users, Web sites, and learning management systext, if available, comment on what was smooth or rough, and offer points of tems means that you can post the most appropraise for good session management or effective strategy. priate training material and learners all over Tip: Offer coaching only to presenters who agree to accept it. Respect that not the world can access it whenever they want. everyone is open to feedback or in the mood to be evaluated. If the presenter is interested in feedback, schedule a phone conversation so you can both speak You can direct learners to use high quality supopenly. portive e-Learning materials like tutorials, videos, demonstrations, simulations, and games that are widely available. E-Learning developers using software tools such as Flash, Captivate, or Lectora can also create customized movies and games so training fits perfectly.

Supporting participants for an extended learning program
If your synchronous online sessions will run for a period of weeks with assignments in between, provide structure and regular touch points. A syllabus or a visual “you are here” in the agenda can help learners stay on track. Check up on and check in with each participant to ensure they understand the assignment and know how to get to it. Don’t bombard them, but do provide a repository where they can go to get what they need. Throughout a learning program, participants have a tendency to disappear for a few days and not respond to e-mails or Discussion Boards. Anticipate that some learners will need to compartmentalize their online learning to certain days or times.

Connecting with the LMS
Not everyone needs a Learning Management System. If you only run sessions every once in a while, or participants don’t need to be tracked, you can easily manage invitations and materials using

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moodle. provide information and preparation materials to participants. manage and track registration. By using these tools you can create learning experiences that feel friendly and social. test scores. like the classroom. financial. an open source and free learning management system (http://docs.org/en/About_Moodle and http://docs. You might need a Learning Management System to help organize users and materials if you have many different courses or sessions. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 99 . Using an LMS is a big step Undertaking the implementation of a Learning Management System is something that a team. Ensure that your synchronous online software will exchange user registration. and give learners the link. functional management. Consider using it in your instructional design.WRAPPING UP AND FOLLOWING UP | CHAPTER 7 just the features available in your Synchronous online software. a lot of participants. Need to provide support tools for cheap (or free)? Upload files and instructions to a normal Web URL. and tracking information. or any other data you need.org/en/Features ) If you do decide to use an LMS consider it in your instructional design and implementation plan.com/workshops-rapid/ rapid/#) • Moodle. training. and for open discussions. Compare tools and functionality as well as the ability to customize. Also. explore these tools: • Vignettes for Training’s Rapid LMS (free for a year) (http://ela. comprised of representatives from IT. and after synchronous online sessions. Begin using it well before the session begins. development. a need to make a variety of resources available to participants before.vftraining. should discuss and plan for carefully. or you want to manage assignments and track who logs in and when. and the end-user base. data management. but are even more productive and functional than the classroom ever dreamed of becoming. during.moodle.

S You need a plan! This may not be readily apparent to everyone in your organization. Relate to the company objectives What are the goals. precise statements. Such statements might be: In Chapter 8 you will find information about: • Aggressive growth • Relating synchronous online events and • Market leader e-Learning to organizational goals • Low cost provider • Explaining what synchronous online events are. How does it want to be seen? What is it trying to accomplish? Talk to the senior managers about the company’s strategic business objectives for this year. is a feature of synchronous business process online event capability. the ability to have subject matter experts teach remote cussynchronous e-Learning events tomer service providers more effective communication skills. those customers will better understand • Looking for impact opportunities for synchronous the value of the company’s products and buy more. It’s about doing more with less. A company using this technology leverages existing business processes and invents new processes aimed at decreasing costs and increasing productivity. Let’s examine the key components of an internal marketing plan. and making them easy to use If a company’s objective is aggressive growth and customer service targets are critical to that growth. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 100 . synchronous online events to improve growth and • Branding your synchronous e-Learning events. If the customer service providers are able to commu• Sharing your successes nicate better with their customers. It’s important to know the company’s direction and how it expects to get there. This is the benefit mesonline events and e-Learning sage that needs to be the focus of using synchronous online events. vision. Look at the company’s image. without requir• Making synchronous online events a routine ing SME travel and time away from the office. next year. and direction of the company? This is an important first step in connecting synchronous online events to the company.CHAPTER 8 Marketing Internal Synchronous Online Events By Ron Miazga ynchronous online events are powerful tools that give a company a competitive advantage. Contents Once you understand the objectives you must be able to express them in clear. and the next three to five years. and how to market them internally in order to realize the maximum benefit. • Getting and keeping support for your For example. There is a need to show decision-makers how to take advantage of synchronous online events. and promoting the brand customer service support that objective.

What is important is what it can do. and the new technology. It’s an important point in your marketing for the company to see how your events support the company objectives. and therefore productivity increases. There is an advantage in translating the value that results to the objectives of the company. You eliminate travel expenses. This example concisely explains the tool — what it is. One key in coping with change is to make it easy to move from the old to the new. on the time and workload of the managers and decision-makers. Make it easy to do Don’t assume that everyone in the company knows how synchronous online events work. you have provided a more efficient business process. Figure 8-1 is an example of a promotional print piece that we used in my company. not how it does it. by increasing the skills and knowledge of the employees. An event Producer would typically: • Assist in building the event so it works well online • Establish the event online with appropriate connections (both graphic and audio) • Rehearse the event with presenters and familiarize them with the controls • Meet and greet the participants to the event Figure 8-1 A What & Why piece helps managers and decisionmakers understand the value of synchronous online events. as Karen has suggested in the previous chapters. One way to help the transition is to create a “What and Why” promotional print piece to explain the tool and its value. consider creating a new position called the “event Producer” to assist people in using the tool. Therefore. and how they can change business processes. why you would use it. this is new technology offering a new way of doing things. The emphasis is on the benefits of the tool and not the technology itself.MARKETING INTERNAL SYNCHRONOUS ONLINE EVENTS | CHAPTER 8 Now you can link the results of synchronous online events to the business objective of aggressive growth. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 101 . To many. When you highlight the value of synchronous online events. It’s about change — a change in how you learn and communicate. Because you are able to conduct a collaborative meeting across the country. synchronous online events have demonstrated their effectiveness in achieving company objectives. Tie these synchronous online event experiences to the business needs of the company. Both contribute to the company goal of being a low-cost provider. when you would use it. This will keep the focus on the benefits and not the tool. and time away from the office and travel are unnecessary. the outcome that you achieve is business results that support the business objectives. and how to get started. In order to minimize the impact of change. what it can do. and facilitating collaboration effectively across distance barriers.

” and everyone in the company knows exactly what we mean. and adds further value to the company and support for its business objectives. We don’t say. Figure 8-4 on page 106 illustrates one of the special editions. Promote it You need to position the technology so people readily identify what it is and how it is of value to them. connecting so they could learn from each other.” Figure 8-2 shows the branding. Figure 8-3 on page 105 is an example of a typical edition. shares comments from event participants. but rather the benefits and how they relate to the company’s strategic objectives. program registration system. The e-Newsletter pushes the brand identity to the employees on a regular basis. we created a logo for an event with the tag line “real-time connection. and all correspondence relating to synchronous online events.MARKETING INTERNAL SYNCHRONOUS ONLINE EVENTS | CHAPTER 8 • Handle the technology during the event so the presenter(s) can concentrate on the content of the event • Track event participation The event Producer makes it easy for everyone to use synchronous online events regardless of their technology abilities. Figure 8-2 Branding (“real-time connection”) is an important step in promoting an event. and a spotlight on a subject matter expert among other things. How do you want it perceived? Branding is an important first step in promoting. The question of the month is generally a non-business question to engage readers in a fun experience. Keep everyone on board In order to spread the word on the value of synchronous online events it is helpful to create an executive presentation for senior managers so that they understand the power of the tool. This makes it easy for people to use LearnNET. To carry the message to the organization we also created a monthly e-Newsletter that goes to everyone in the organization. We also change the design and look of the e-Newsletter on an annual basis so that the message is fresh and interesting. education. At the end of each year the company also runs a special edition of the e-Newsletter that thanks all the presenters who have participated during the year. The presentation talks about the benefits of the tool to: • Shorten sales cycles The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 102 . It should not address the technology. and illustrates the value of synchronous online events to the company. comments from recent participants. The e-Newsletter features short articles about events in the coming month. e-Newsletter. a question of the month. or collaboration they would think of LearnNET. We use this branding on our Intranet.” we simply say “LearnNET. We wanted to position the tool as connecting people. This keeps the brand updated. When people want to connect for training. The presentation should be succinct and stress the effectiveness of the tool. “synchronous online event. links to scheduled learning events. participation programs. and they know what to expect. For example.

LearnNET. Then they would pass out a spreadsheet that details significant opportunities for key customers and prospects. They need to convey current market conditions. a cycling slide show designed to grab their attention greets them while everyone joins the room and settles in for business. Weave it into the fabric of the company Marketing synchronous online events effectively requires that people see it from different perspectives. product information on an Internet site. To gain widespread acceptance of your synchronous events. After the participants confirm their attendance in five events they receive a Rockstar! key chain to reward their participation. they would bring everyone together at one location. competition. launch several participation programs. The objective is to share information and gain agreement. The meeting begins with a polling slide that asks people to predict the final score for this weekend’s game. The program should have a theme — for example. and has proven to be very popular. and target markets. On this promotion the participants have to attend five events and then e-mail the evidence of this so that they can enter the grand prize drawing at the end of the year. and get feedback on their marketing plans. and connect to their Internet site to review the product information that they provide to the market. Figure 8-5 on page 107 shows a flyer about an annual participation program that used our branded synchronous online events tool. New product introduction is a perfect subject for synchronous online events. an Excel spreadsheet. and contribute to its business success. more effective way to do business. Figure 8-3 An e-Newsletter gets the word out about your synchronous e-Learning events. To begin. Have an annual program as well as seasonal programs. Lastly they would pass out a draft of their marketing plan. It becomes a part of an innovative. seek input and adjustments. and finally work out a go-forward action plan. Imagine that a company has a new product introduction at ten different locations across the country. strengths. As they enter the meeting place. They’ll need to show PowerPoint slides. Traditionally. everyone joins in a virtual meeting place. a learning tool. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 103 . and a communication tool it becomes part of the company’s business operating processes.MARKETING INTERNAL SYNCHRONOUS ONLINE EVENTS | CHAPTER 8 • Send consistent messages • Increase productivity • Expand communication • Reach dispersed audiences • Eliminate barriers of time and distance • Increase impact and retention of information Synchronous online events impact the way a company does business. they would also view their competitors’ sites to look at their offerings. look at a competitor’s Web site. They would then rank the opportunities from best to worst. The participation program is another way of keeping the branded product in front of the target audience. While on the Internet. “Be a LearnNET Rockstar!” — that grabs the audience and encourages active participation. When viewed as a collaboration tool. This promotion has run for several years with a yearly theme change. They would start with an agenda slide and a quick overview of the current situation. opportunities.

Share successes It’s important to reinforce to senior managers the impact of synchronous online events. and “Web tour” that enables everyone in the meeting to explore the Web site on their own.MARKETING INTERNAL SYNCHRONOUS ONLINE EVENTS | CHAPTER 8 Figure 8-4 It’s important to say “Thanks” and promote the success and value of synchronous e-Learning. learning. no time away from customers and loved ones getting to or coming from the meeting. they view the marketing plan document. generate new ideas. and many dollars saved because they eliminated the travel expenses of transportation and hotels. It is no longer an adjunct event. but part of a more effective way to do business. They rank their opportunities real-time on the spreadsheet. The traditional approach would be to conduct three in-person meetings at three locations around The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 104 . and build a marketing plan that is acceptable to all. Now it’s time to review product information on their Internet site using a combination of “application share” for a real-time tour. A good way to do this is to document stories illustrating how synchronous online events support the company objectives. Both the marketing VP and the product supplier want to do this as quickly as possible. And best of all. No time wasted. Here is one example. They fill it in and agree on each activity in their plan.” “what. While looking at it together. The VP’s team of 20 salespeople are scattered across the country. They follow a similar process to look at their significant competitors.” and “when” of the action items. the meeting combined collaboration. There is a threeperson product team that needs to train the sales team. They have a high quality meeting while eliminating expenses and saving time. The VP of Marketing in one division has a problem. and communication in one event. people make suggestions. Using filters and other sorting methods. they have accomplished more with less. it’s time for the agenda and a look at the current marketplace. The final step in the meeting is to build an action plan to achieve their marketing strategy. That aside. They use a blank document with room to capture the “who. When you compare synchronous online events to the traditional in-person meeting. they rearrange data looking for group consensus for their best opportunities. Several participants who have particularly strong feelings are given control of the spreadsheet in order to make changes on the facilitator’s PC. Once again using the “application share” feature. His product supplier wants to train his sales team on one of their products. In the illustration above. By orchestrating an event such as this you show the value of synchronous online events to the company. It’s better than in-person because they can share in its creation and agree to its accuracy as they view the evolving document. “snap shot” for select highlights that enable the facilitator to annotate on the screen. Using an “application share” function they view a spreadsheet that details significant opportunities for key customers and prospects. it is made available to all. rearranging earlier entries. After saving the spreadsheet.

no hassles of getting together. attending each meeting. and minimize the expenses? Synchronous online events is the answer. with the VP and the product team as well. hotel expenses). They use all the tools that they would use in a traditional meeting. We were more productive than in an in-person meeting. They connect in a collaborative meeting. they connect through a synchronous online event. Outcome — if they had used the traditional approach. Both the VP’s sales team and the product team come together for their meeting in a synchronous online event. Cancel the trip. tomorrow and I’ll show you how to leverage the power of this tool. ($1. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 105 . How can the two companies get together to complete the training. which allows them to write together on a blank screen to brainstorm ideas. They catch on quickly. The traditional approach is expensive with respect to travel and time away from customers. by the way. Here is another story that illustrates how it is a collaboration tool. do it quickly. It is a success.” At 7 a. each in their own offices — no travel. The three-hour meeting accomplishes its objectives. cost-saving communication tool.m.000 for air. Three hours later. Houston for one day? There has to be a better way!” The product manager wants help. 24 people would have traveled (the VP and the product team three times) with each spending $1. thus changing the way they do business. take time away from the office (two days). The time away from customers would have been about 32 man-days for everyone. We didn’t have to travel.m. they understand the options that are available in this collaborative meeting space.MARKETING INTERNAL SYNCHRONOUS ONLINE EVENTS | CHAPTER 8 Figure 8-5 Participation programs help achieve wide acceptance of synchronous e-Learning among employees. In order to maximize the benefit you need to understand their objectives and determine the final work product. They use a whiteboard tool. no travel. the country. Then she gives control to him. First. They needed to create a PowerPoint presentation that would be ready to present on next Monday (today was Wednesday). efficient.” Look for stories that show the value of the tool and share them. they both say “Wow! That was easy.000). they would show how this approach supported the company objectives. how to change the way you work together. He works on the presentation on the product manager’s PC. Get the vendor on the phone at 7 a. no time away from the office. how to save time and money. and with minimum time away from their customers. There is one meeting rather than three. They would view synchronous online events as an effective. Thursday morning. and a discussion on the market applications of the product. The salespeople would split up and have to travel to one of the locations.000 per trip ($32. You could say. By sharing such a story with the senior management team. This is another opportunity to show the power of the tool. and. and eliminated the hassles of getting there (airport time). They use a “share tool” that enables the product manager to show a draft PowerPoint to the vendor in real-time. “Let’s use a synchronous online event for the meeting. The product team plans a three-hour presentation that includes a PowerPoint show on the product. “I have to go to Houston (from Seattle) to create a quarterly report with my vendor business partner.

The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 106 . hotel. and no airport time. Now comes time for a draft review of the intranet site with the work team and a representative from each of five regions around the country. Aim an initial approach at illustrating significant cost savings and increased productivity. The investment would have been $8. what it costs to run the business. Think of a situation where you can affect the bottom line of a financial measure such as an income statement. the meeting development team and the regional representatives share the presentation while making comments on the draft document for all to study and to gain agreement. Earlier I told a story where there was a $32. and show time and operating expense savings. no time away from the office. Three members are at corporate headquarters and three other members are in different cities. and other expenses. and 32 man-days saved to spend more time with customers.000 direct travel savings. and operating expense decreases. Also. They would mark up the documents and make corrections real-time. Let me share such an opportunity. How can the group share documents. and at a fraction of the cost of an in-person meeting or training event. This will go a long way to strengthen the positioning of synchronous online events as a part of the company’s business processes. The organization forms a work team to develop a national quality improvement process. You can make things happen faster. and that are time sensitive. they have a tight timeframe for development. Measure the results of using synchronous online events in terms of immediate. Using a synchronous online event. This is a financial win that should be shared with senior managers. Look for these “impact” opportunities. that’s eight people for a day at $1000 each for air. Because you are able to eliminate travel expenses for a meeting. A key component of an income statement is operating expenses. Look for situations that involve travel and time away from the office. Speed of agreement on the first draft would be half the normal time. gain agreement on key activities. with no travel. are key business drivers. the time away from the office and customers. and develop an intranet site to serve as a repository for forms and tracking. Their charter is to develop the procedures. Start with opportunities that are easy to translate to synchronous online events. the hassles of travel. Mission accomplished once again. Be inquisitive. Productivity increases. with no travel and no time away from the office. If all the participants would have met at corporate headquarters. you can get an immediate financial win. A good beginning point is to look for: • Meetings with suppliers • Product education training • Sales meetings • Cross-functional team meetings • Brainstorming sessions • Regular project management update meetings Quantify the value of minimizing travel expenses. For the draft review the development team wants comments from the regional representatives on key decision points. and minimize the investment of time and money? Using a synchronous online event is the answer. During the early stages of the project the group would meet in an online meeting place were they would share forms and procedures. quantifiable costs.000 plus one or more days of valuable time wasted. and want to minimize the expenses.MARKETING INTERNAL SYNCHRONOUS ONLINE EVENTS | CHAPTER 8 Look for impact opportunities One way to gain attention in the company is to show the impact of bringing together groups of two or more people using synchronous online events. create the forms.

• Make it easy to do — Explain the “what and why. and create participation programs. communication. A good way to do this is to tell stories. This means weaving it into the fabric of the organization by showing how it can be a learning. and it was easy to satisfy the team’s needs using synchronous online events. Here is a simple checklist to make sure you have all components in place: • Relate to the company objectives — Understand. learning. • Weave it into the fabric of the company — Establish it as a collaboration. and communication tool. A critical beginning point is to focus on the benefits of the tool and not the technology. explain the financial impact. and collaboration tool. search for critical needs. • Share successes — Tell stories. create an executive presentation.” minimize the technology. develop an e-Newsletter. Share among key executives the impact of eliminating travel and time barriers. • Promote it — Brand it. • Look for impact opportunities — Show the effects of eliminating travel and time barriers. Concentrate on business results and financial impact. Summary Although synchronous online events are powerful tools that give an organization a competitive advantage. You also need to make it easy to use and promote it throughout the organization. A company wants to know how using the tool can help them achieve their strategic objectives. and map the results to them. and utilize an event Producer.MARKETING INTERNAL SYNCHRONOUS ONLINE EVENTS | CHAPTER 8 The results are measurable. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 107 . the “how” is not always readily apparent. connect. and select straightforward opportunities. and show value to senior management. You need to show the connection.

If you’ve never used another tool you won’t find it too hard.5 have enhanced the intuitiveness of icons for both learners and presenters. and does permit more control and versatility in the actual event. and the application is not able to detect this. Improvements to version 7. but if you have. both in case features have changed since the reviewers created these summaries. • Back-end architecture is bandwidth friendly. you’ll be disappointed. Each of these summaries addresses the same features and factors. • The actual user interface is clean and simple. You will want to review each product’s Web site and possibly download the trial version before making decisions. This happens relatively quickly. and then users can download them when entering the session. 2006. although. and also to make your own observations about the product’s suitability for your use. • Session content can be created and stored well in advance — in fact. based on their experience as online facilitators. and information is current as of December. it’s much easier if you do. • There is no native integration with PowerPoint or other productivity tools. or HTML files before being uploaded to a session.APPENDIX A EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A Executive Summaries By Karen Hyder I’ve asked several expert users of Web conferencing software to review four of the leading (in terms of market share) products. Content loading and persistence • Content can be loaded into Agenda Builder in advance and accessed during the sessions. Centra does build in the ability to convert them. • Participant interface includes a list of the agenda items. Executive Summary: Centra Interface design and ease of use (Learning curve for Hosts and Moderators) • Learning curve for administrators is steep relative to other tools — scheduling and creating a session are not intuitive. which is largely nonfunctional and takes up some valuable real estate. The eLearning Guild’s Guide to Synchronous e-Learning 108 . However. Connectivity • You must save agenda items over 50K to the client side. JPG. • A nice surprise is that the session doesn’t close out if the leader becomes disconnected — a real problem with some other tools. on the plus side. it does not do well when recovering a user who experiences a connection issue. Presentations have to be converted to GIF. • On-demand sessions can become corrupt.

Administration. etc. does not permit drag-and-drop. minimum system requirements are: • Windows 98. • You can combine Telephony and VoIP in the same call. This is really one of Centra’s hallmarks. 6. Some competitors have this functionality out-of-the-box.5x.7x. • Some users have noted inconsistent performance in tracking users — which could be a serious issue for users concerned about compliance. • There is a feedback indicator for the presenter. but still doesn’t allow selection of multiple responses.g. with no noticeable degradation in performance. Participant response methods • Available emoticons are laughter. and in some instances. and a raised hand. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 109 . 350 MHz • Memory: 128 MB • Disk: 40 MB free space • Network: 28. 7. but does not natively permit reports across events. scaling. • Centra scales easily to large audiences. but are not robust or full-featured (e. Recording sessions • Recording and publishing sessions for on-demand playback is quite easy. • There are support issues — getting clear answers from Saba is not easy. Audio — VoIP/Telephony • Excellent engineering of quality VoIP at low bandwidths. • Centra’s reporting functionality is decent. Centra has a unique charge for their telephony gateway when not using ASP.EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A System requirements As listed in http://www.centra.x • CPU: Pentium. and does not permit individualized “Incorrect” feedback according to the response selected). Enhancements to the editing features in 7. • Centra 7.pdf (Virtual Classes document).5 has much improved audio codecs. or modifying the text font or size.x • Netscape 4. • Text Chat works similarly to other applications. • Centra scales up to very large deployments through satellite servers and domain architecture. 2000 (SP1).com/download/products/VirtualClasses.x. applause. XP • Internet Explorer 5. but it comes at a hefty cost. Yes and No. • Evaluation tools are there.5 is improved. • The instructor must grant participants microphone privileges to speak — this can slow down interactivity. time periods.8 kbps • Monitor: 16-bit colors (high colors). LMS integration • Centra provides seamless integration with Saba LMS. Polls and testing • The polling feature in 7. ease of deployment. their documentation has been incorrect. 4.5 make this an even more attractive feature.

and an option to alert participants (automatically pops up a presenter/host message when sent to participants). • Some tools are identified by user. applause. you do have the option to save them as a snapshot which appears at the end of your agenda. with options to adjust frame rate and color depth. • There are options to enable or disable both public Chat and Chat between participants. direct response to sender. licensing.5. Session leaders now have options for graying out read questions. Whiteboard • Overall. Yes and No. • Markup tools for participants are associated with microphone rights.” Would be nice to see more options. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 110 . • The floating text Chat window can be cumbersome and blocks the interface. Application sharing • Works effectively. given that some tools don’t have this feature at all. Centra support staff seem to have little experience with large multinational firms and the related network complexity. which is unfortunate — sometimes you want to give markup privileges without microphone privileges. the whiteboard options are quite good. If a question is sent privately to the presenter. Support is much better with smaller networks. particularly an “I don’t understand” option. there is no option to then make that question public or push out the answer to all participants. Emoticons • As noted above. • Annotations aren’t automatically saved from slide to slide.EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A Chat (Text-based instant messaging) • Again. • Markup tools for application sharing are limited and hard to use — but. others are anonymous. Hosting. • Breakout rooms are simple to use. • Centra does not generally preserve slide transitions and animations unless the file is brought in as HTML. • Centra is expensive relative to other tools. • Users hosting Centra internally have reported support issues. however. There is also an option to indicate that a user has “stepped out. Q&A (Presenter-managed Chat) • Centra combines Chat and Q&A into a single feature. In 7.5. much improved in 7. the whiteboard is object-oriented — a nice feature. time stamping. pricing • You can host Centra either internally or externally. I’d rate this a plus. Nice surprises • There are breakout rooms to divide participants into smaller groups (not recorded for playback). Participants can be randomly assigned or sent to a specific group. emoticons are very basic — laughter.

no Export as PDF ability. • Slides are fixed size. • There is no resources area to permit participants to download documents during the session.g. do not rescale with window size. a local HTML file with an embedded SWF movie). An annual summit supports community development.EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A • Centra permits importing a broad range of file types with associated files (e. • Doesn’t support Macintosh. • You can switch between normal and full screen view easily. Annoying aspects • Floating text Chat window is annoying — should be dockable or tabbed. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 111 . • Centra user training program is very effective.

• Elluminate manages each participant’s connection very well. The communication tools. For instance. • Elluminate’s moderator and participant tools are easy to understand and to access. and participant list.1 or 9.8 kbps and up). a moderator can remotely adjust the audio levels of anyone using the Talk button. direct messaging. The connection progress display is cool looking. • If participants are disconnected during the session.EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A Executive Summary: Elluminate 7 Interface design and ease of use (Learning curve for Hosts and Moderators) • Elluminate 7 has a clean. Participant management settings and privileges are very customizable. or a keystroke. or simply log in with a URL link. 10.1. Connectivity • Participants can have a username and password. • Shortcut or Hot keys are customizable.2 and 128 MB for OS X • 20 MB free disk space on your hard drive • 28.8 kbps Internet connection. for slides and applications. and 10. and provides comfort to the impatient. Mac OS X 10. and supports participants on Mac and Solaris.3 • G3 233 MHz processor • 64 MB for OS 9.2. Requirements for PC: • Windows 98/ME/2000/XP • Pentium III 500 MHz processor • 128 MB of RAM • 20 MB free disk space on your hard drive • Sound card with speakers and microphone or headset • 28. connectivity is excellent. You can change this layout to other preset configurations to control display and size of tools. Elluminate can feed data to them at an appropriate rate. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 112 . they will automatically be reconnected. • You can navigate slides with a click. • You can upload files into the administration environment ahead of time. display to the left. audio. Requirements for Mac: • Mac OS 9. • Display areas automatically scale as users resize the window. and you can select files from the list once logged into the session room. Content loading and persistence • Persistent file and session setup. When users identify their Internet connection speed (28. System requirements Elluminate runs on Windows (for administrators and presenters).8 kbps Internet connection. All the most frequently used functions display on toolbars or other areas of the screen. a drop down list.2.1 and 9. • In general. highly functional interface and some nice improvements from version 6. • The default screen layout displays a large workspace to the right.

All results are saved to an XML format. Be sure to talk to IT staff early to make the change. Recordings cannot be edited. Font size can now be made larger and smaller. The presenter’s voice sounds a little funny. but the feature works very well. Server-based administrators use Elluminate Live Manager to set up sessions and users. or privately to individuals. up to five responses (A through E). Confused. or Disapprove. • ASP clients can use the Elluminate Live! Session Administration System (SAS) to create sessions. When a participant clicks on the emoticon but- The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 113 . Chat (Text-based instant messaging) • You can send direct messaging text to the whole group. Quizzes can be presented to participants at any point during the session. Polls and testing • Polls are unusual because question and answer text is displayed on a PowerPoint slide and participants are asked to respond by clicking on buttons on the toolbar. ease of deployment. • Use the Quiz Manager to create test questions with multiple choice and short answers. new action gets appended to the original file. The recorder can be paused anytime. scaling.EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A Administration. Even when participants experience a momentary loss of connection. Emoticons • To get low-level feedback from participants in response to questions like.” presenters can ask participants to click on the emoticons found in the participant information window. • Users behind firewalls must have additional network ports opened. Participant responses are shown next to their names and presenters can display a chart with aggregate data.” “Are you ready to move to break out rooms?. Q&A (Presenter-managed Chat) • Not available. The process can take several minutes. Emoticons include Happy. Buttons can be changed to display the needed number of responses from two responses (Yes and No). They can also control access to recordings. create or upload participant log in IDs and passwords. Audio — VoIP/ Telephony Polls and testing • VoIP audio is excellent. and generate reports. “Are you able to hear me. LMS integration • All users need to download and install a Java applet.” “Do you see the slide?. When restarted. invite participants. Participant response methods Elluminate offers a number of ways in which participants can respond. Clap. Recording sessions • Sessions can easily be recorded by controls at the bottom of the screen. • Elluminate integrates with Learning Management Systems. it records the audio which is then speeded up and played when they rejoin.

pricing Pricing for different licensing arrangements # seats 25 50 75 Annual Server (self-hosted) $16. deleted. paste text and images. select and move drawn objects and align items on the screen. All participants can use whiteboard annotation tools at the same time adding free-form text and graphics using a pen or highlighter or text tools. others see that emoticon displayed next to the person’s name in the participant information window for a few seconds. but has not logged out by clicking the blue door button. The moderator can also toggle the hand raise button off if a participant does not remember to do so. moved. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 114 .850 ASP (hosted) $18. raised hands. licensing.700 $37. plus an 18% maintenance fee from Year 2 onward. Share Desktop. a moderator can use one of several settings. Share Application. An annual fee applies if you host Elluminate on your own server (self-hosted). A number that corresponds to the participant’s place in the queue appears next to the name. pointer. • Moderators can easily control participant privileges by using the controls in the participant list. drawn. or organizations can internally host Elluminate Live Manager (ELM) • The table at left indicates the licensing arrangements. Pricing is per concurrent user. can be turned on.480 $43. You can also display a participant profile for each person. Other features Participant list — display of log in names • Moderators and participants can see who’s logged in by viewing the log in names in the participant list. The participant’s name in the participant information window changes to grey and is italicized. Presenters can use pointers to emphasize key text or label parts of a graphic.800 $67. or formatted.660 • Licensing is available as server-based or hosted versions. a “ding” sound is produced. the word “Away” is displayed next to it. • Elluminate (SAS) can host software. Elluminate calls this Elluminate Sensory Perception (ESP).500 $27. If you purchase the software outright.EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A ton. • A participant can show he has stepped away. They can also open clip art. Application sharing • When sharing an application. Whiteboard • Elluminate’s whiteboard is easy to use.600 $31. The hand raise indicator displays until the participant turns it off. and latency in data flow by viewing special indicators in the participant list.200 $93. These options scale to fit. and drawing shapes tools and a selection tool. • The whiteboard is object oriented. and will affect the display of each shared window. or Share Region. you pay the Perpetual fee indicated. • Moderators can observe participant mood indicators. or if you choose to be hosted on Elluminate’s servers (hosted). including location and photo (or avatars). A blue bar flashes to indicate to the presenter that a hand is raised.153 Perpetual Server $37. or inserted on screen can be selected. • When participants click the hand raise button. Elluminate Hosting. Objects typed.

The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 115 . Nice surprises • The Audio window displays a visual representation of audio volume. a local version is shown thereby eliminating delays in playback. The quality of the image can be reduced if bandwidth limitations restrict full motion and full color. or QuickTime (MOV) files. • Individuals and groups can be pulled into a private meeting area so that moderators can troubleshoot technical issues away from the main session. Shockwave Flash. PowerPoint animations and builds don’t work. When the Moderator plays the file. i. Webcam — share personal video cameras • Users can share a live image of themselves during the session. or QuickTime. Moderators can remotely adjust the audio levels of anyone using the Talk button.. MPEG or MPG. Annoying aspects • Because Elluminate’s file conversion creates a static whiteboard file. • Elluminate caches multimedia files locally (stored temporarily on user’s machine) as participants join.e. Multimedia playback requires users to have configured the appropriate software.EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A Multimedia — share movies • Moderators can share Shockwave Flash (SWF). Windows Media Player. All participants can adjust their own level right on screen.

an on-demand integrated LMS. and participants’ names and feedback indicators. and Linux users. • WebEx recovers lost connections quickly. • Content can be loaded onto separate tabs so presenters can easily change from showing one file to showing a different file. Polls.EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A Executive Summary: WebEx Interface design and ease of use (Learning curve for Hosts and Moderators) • Webex’s interface design and ease of use is relatively good. • WebEx performs well when supporting large groups (up to 500) and integrates well with Learning Management systems such as Plateau and Sum Total if users have other learning materials in addition to live sessions. Panel buttons allow users to reopen and use Chat. • The environment is clean and you can collapse Panels. will be available in early 2007. There is good functionality for managing sessions built in. Toolbars give easy access to sharing and annotating. System requirements • Please visit the WebEx site for specific system requirements (http://support. Video. or the session. Presenters can create and organize sessions. content is automatically removed. You must turn the annotation and print options on if you want participants to use them. and LMS integration • Internal registration system can generate invitations. Mind your pace when application sharing because not all participants are likely to receive the image at once. Participants also notice latency if everyone is using the whiteboard at the same time.html). with somewhat limited functionality. set completion standards. When the session ends. Solaris. • Learning Manager by GeoLearning. • When in Full Screen mode.webex. Content loading and persistence • Load any PowerPoint file directly into the session room. track participants. It will be converted to UCF format. require or not require that participants register and use a password to join the session. and Power Panels containing Chat. Connectivity • Connections to WebEx sessions are pretty solid. • You can control participant privileges all at once. • Meeting and participant options in the setup screens require research. Their “last mile” or their local connection to the Internet will affect the speed. are deleted. ease of deployment. Users can access lessons and materials as needed. Alerts pop up so important messages and questions don’t go unnoticed. • Recent versions of Training Center can support Mac. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 116 . Participants should be reminded to leave open the Bridge window that states “Do not close this window.” • VoIP audio can be choppy on bandwidth-intensive actions. scaling.com/support/ system-requirements. • Files and polls that are loading into a session room persist until they. Administration.

Slower. Invitations and scores can be sent automatically. a standalone software tool that saves you from needing to log in just to create polls. during or after a session. but the messages are not seen by everyone. Bandwidth can impact the clarity of the VoIP audio. • Attendees who join by phone display a phone icon in the attendee panel. • Use the WebEx Recording Editor software to edit recordings. Polls and testing • Create polls in advance either inside a WebEx session room or by using Poll Questionnaire Editor. the required player software is automatically downloaded. • Tests can be created from scratch. publicly or privately. Participants are able to Chat privately with each other and to everyone. Q&A (Presenter-managed Chat) • Q&A is a separate panel from Chat with similar characteristics. Multiple Choice. No. The toolbar buttons include Hand Raise. Yes. and to allow Chat between participants. or converted from a poll. and a selection of The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 117 . This creates files in a proprietary format with the extension WRF (WebEx Recording Format). Emoticons • WebEx provides Feedback toolbars so participants can send visual feedback to presenters during the session. Instructions can be added to the test and several question types are available including Fill in the Blanks. Participants can type messages to the presenters. Multiple answer to allow participants to select several answers from the list. • There are options to enable or disable public Chat. adapted from another test.EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A Recording sessions • You can record sessions with audio from a conference call or VoIP by using the WebEx Recording and Playback software. True/False. Polls are saved as ATP files and uploaded into the session later. Faster. while attendees on Internet phone show a microphone icon. sessions must be set up with the “Require attendee registration” option turned on. Set Multiple choice. Participant response methods Audio — VoIP / Telephony • Callers can opt to join by phone or full duplex VoIP. • Poll question types can be set to allow participants to choose from multiple answers or to type in their own answers. • When users access recordings posted on a Web site. The presenter can choose how to reply. and Essay (up to 5000 words). • In order to connect testing. • Tests can be sent via e-mail or participants can access a Web site with links to available tests before. • Individual responses can be viewed and saved. Chat (Text-based instant messaging) • Standard text Chat works similarly to other applications.

it can be distracting. • Participants can be given permission to simply save or print the loaded PowerPoint files. Application sharing • Application sharing works well and has simple tools.INTRODUCTION TO SYNCHRONOUS E-LEARNING | CHAPTER 2 graphical icons to convey that the participant is smiling. • Pay-per-minute use is available at $0. Alternately.33 per minute per user. Sometimes the selected color is too faint and needs to be changed. you must perform a Clear All when you’ve finished showing a poll in order to close the attendees’ Polling Panel. WebEx Recording files (WRF). Nice surprises • Break out sessions allow users to connect with each other and easily use the interface tools on their own. • Panels don’t reset back to the original layout automatically. Hosting. but cannot be selected and moved to another location. licensing. Participants can pop back to ask for help if needed. • How Do I tutorials are very useful when learning the software tools. Appropriate media players are needed on each participant’s Windows computer. Each person’s log in name displays when they use the arrow pointer. Annoying aspects • Opening and using polls is awkward. Whiteboard • The whiteboard has useful tools and items can be deleted. or needs a break.000. These are online at http://support. plus audio. • Each user has a default annotation color. It must be turned on in order to use it.com/support/howdoi. • Annotation tools can be used during application sharing. • Animations that were set up in PowerPoint do animate when slides are displayed. pricing • WebEx hosted services provide access and tools to all presenters and attendees with no additional IT support or resources. This does not include conference call or VoIP costs. Organizations can secure and control sessions and content using onpremise EMX service by hosting the tools on an internal network. confused. instead of the demonstration software. you can tell the participants to use the The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 118 . • Participants’ annotation toolbar is not turned on by default. Uses Universal Communications Format (UCF) technology to transfer media files to users more efficiently. • Participants’ selected icons display next to their names and can be cleared by the presenters when responses are no longer needed. • WebEx has a feature that doesn’t let the presenter accidentally share the WebEx interface window. • Participants can use a personalized pointer to identify their own text or flag an area of the screen for attention. • Supports a large variety of files including many audio and video types.html#anc_hdi10. For instance. If the Polling Panel stays open. and Flash movies (SWF). • Initial one-time-only set up customization and fees can range from $700 to $4.webex. • Annotations can be saved. • Pricing for (hosted) Training Center ranges depending on number of users and actual usage and can be $150-$225 per seat per month.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A panel’s menu to reset to default when necessary. Ask participants to avoid this by setting the Sharing View option to AutoFit. the learner’s screen will display only the right and not the left part of the screen. • If the presenter moves the mouse to the far right side of the shared window. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 119 .

Chat text. • If animations are set in PowerPoint. can be uploaded into the Users and Groups portion of the Adobe Connect Enterprise Manager. and Solaris machines. Participants can use Windows. • There is so much flexibility with pods. or groups of names.” so it’s easy for participants themselves to go to them. On-slide Hypertext links are “clickable. so everyone already has the required plug-in. This tool requires a different perspective than some other Synchronous online tools. and Producers. and quizzes. • A number of different kinds of data are collected on each session. If SWFs include e-Learning or feedback interactions. bulleted items set to build one line at a time. layout options. scaling.EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A Executive Summary: Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional Interface design and ease of use (Learning curve for Hosts and Moderators) • The learning curve for Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional is moderate to steep. LMS integration • Users with administrative privileges can use their individual names. • See http://www.adobe. ease of deployment.adobe. administrators. and any Shockwave files (SWF). uploading. properly formatted. Connectivity • Any user with a Flash software-enabled Web browser can join an online Acrobat Connect session without having to download extra software. and poll data persist. Users can be assigned to groups and given access to just their associated sessions. for example.com/products/acrobatconnectpro/productinfo/systemreqs/ Administration. There is now a button in Audio Wizard to initiate the download of the add-in. • Presenters need to download an additional Acrobat Connect add-in to have access to audio controls. or sharing tools. and the name of each The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 120 . You can convert Word documents with Flashpaper (http://www. The claim is that Flash Player is installed on 97 percent of Internet accessible computers. Confirm that your participants aren’t in the remaining 3%.com/products/flashpaper/) and load them as a SWF. designers. loaded content. Content loading and persistence • It’s easy to load PowerPoint slides. • Flash files (SWF) can be loaded and displayed during sessions. participants can use onscreen buttons and functions to click through activities independently of each other. and it will still be there. Linux. • Experience with Flash and Captivate is a plus for presenters. which they can type in to create usernames and passwords. and settings that it can take time for presenters and Producers to become comfortable using the interface and tools. • Even when the room is closed. simulations. Reports are generated to document who has joined the sessions. Come back any time. System requirements • Presenters must use Windows or Mac. individual responses to poll questions. the animations will work in Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional. • The application can be extended using Acrobat Connect Collaboration Builder SDK to create interactive activities and instructional tools including games.

A URL is generated when a recording is created to direct users to that recording.or SCORM-compliant learning management systems (LMS). • Webcams can also be used. Recording sessions • Recordings are easy for presenters to create. Chat (Text-based instant messaging) • This is the best Chat tool I’ve seen. presenters can open pods one at a time. • Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional integrates with AICC. • Messages can be cleared by the presenters at any time. This method is much easier than having to scroll through a long list of names to address a new message. attendees can be called on the phone to bring them into the audio conference. Participant response methods Audio — VoIP/Telephony • Multiple users can access VoIP audio and speak concurrently — although low bandwidth connections can cause latency. Files loaded from Adobe Presenter to the server can be opened into any session room using the Documents. • Participants can send and receive public and private messages. Recordings are captured in Flash format and can be played back using a Flash Player. • For teams using a Meeting license. Q & A (Presenter-managed Chat) • If you prefer to “filter” incoming Chat messages. Chat moderators respond to the group or just to the individual submitter. and displayed text can be sized to a larger or smaller font. Polls and testing • Poll text is entered into separate pods and can be set to Multiple choice or Multiple answer. Select from Content Library command. or show several polls at once by moving to a polls Layout. and the same Chat pod can be used over multiple Layouts. • You can set privileges for participants. Presenters can create and use as many Chat pods as are needed. the addressee in the To: field changes to that name. In order to show polls. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 121 . and individual actions including new slides and participant Chat messages. you can assign any Chat Pod Q & A-style control. Hosts and presenters can log in any time. • Files uploaded to the session room can be backed up to the server. • Transcripts are generated and show gross detail based on layouts used during the session. Chat pods can be moved and sized. Users are placed on hold until the hold is released. • By clicking on a name in Chat. • Presenters can use a Private Chat pod in an area of the screen not seen by participants. hosts and presenters as part of the session settings. Camera images can be freeze-framed if resources are needed for other activities.EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A file that has been loaded into the sessions.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A Emoticons • “My Status” indicators (I have a question. presenters only. • View this link for a table of pricing feature information: http://www. or can be installed inside an organization and administered by internal staff. Speak Louder.adobe. When whiteboard privileges are given to participants. The names of those who have selected a status option move to the top of the Attendee list so presenters won’t miss responses.com/products/ acrobatconnectpro/purchase/comparison. reorganizes in order of status. and display each with a single click. • Chat messages can be cleared at any time. • When using Desktop Sharing. Nice surprises • Flexibility of pods and layouts allows presenters and Producers to organize complex content and polls. undo. Speak softer. Other features • Wired connections are best for consistency of data flow. Hosting. and Stepped away) are integrated with the Attendee list. the Stop Sharing option is available in the lower right corner of the screen in the Windows System tray. they also have access to options like Stop Sharing which closes the active PowerPoint file. Go slower. • When multiple participants type on the whiteboard. area and can be dragged in as needed. Whiteboard • There is a variety of whiteboard tools to use: text. • Be sure to use the whiteboard function rather than the whiteboard overlay function (which allows annotation of a PowerPoint slide). Presenters can choose to share an application.html#note03. Unfortunately. line. highlighter. data flow bogs down and VoIP audio can become choppy. an individual window. • Pricing models have been recently reworked with the rebranding of Macromedia Adobe Breeze to Adobe Acrobat Connect and Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional. Thumbs down. shapes. which is normally in alphabetical order. the Stop Sharing button is in the top right corner. and redo. Go faster. Thumbs up. Presenters should have a DSL/Cable connection and minimum of 1 GHz CPU processor speed for application sharing. or the entire desktop and everything on it. It’s easy for those who view the recording to navigate to the sections they are interested in. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 122 . pricing • The software tools can be hosted by Adobe. • Layouts that organize the content and polls become the section heading in the recording. Application sharing • Access to Application sharing is right in the middle of the Share pod or Display area. • Poll pods can be open in a hidden. licensing. When you are Application Sharing. the Chat addressee list.

There are several factors and settings that impact the audio. • When the Presenter Only area is open. the display area can resize to a very small size.EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A Annoying aspects • VoIP audio can be challenging to optimize. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 123 . There is a lock option. and pods are dragged around. you must right mouse click to access the Settings option. To increase volume inside Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional. The redrawing can take several seconds. but it restricts certain desired actions as well as undesired actions. • Some tools are buried deep in the options and take a few clicks to get to.

APPENDIX B EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 124 .

pw and link Initial meet Prep session Dress rehearsal/ Finalize room Handouts in Dates Event date and time Setup Notes: Activity: Activity: Activity: Activity: Activity: Activity: Activity: Activity: Activity: Poll Text: Research: Host Prep Notes The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 125 .APPENDIX C EXECUTIVE SUMMARIES | APPENDIX A Speaker Tracking Form Online event: Session Name: Session URL: Session number: Speaker Contact Information Presenter: Job Title: Primary Phone: Phone During The Event: Time Zone: Email: Company: Contact (other than speaker): Phone: Email: Speaker Technical Set-up File Name(s)/Type(s): Handout Name: Presentation Name: Additional Files: Web Link(s): Audio check Machine Type: Connection Type/ Check: Quality: Audio Type/ Check: Quality: Prep Session date(s): Sent user id.

understandability: Use of Tools: Chat: Layout Q & A: Application Sharing: Polls: Whiteboard Tools: URL Push: Pointer: Should we use this speaker again? Use Of Graphics: Clarity Of Slides: Technical issues: Used Template: Speaker Experience Face-to-Face events: Our online software tool experience: Other synchronous programs: Speaker Co-Operation/Availability How available before event for rehearsals: Handouts on time: Handouts formatted correctly: Time considerations: Unavailable dates: Recommendation: The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 126 .SPEAKER TRACKING FORM | APPENDIX C Speaker Observations: How did it go overall?: Comfort with tools: Effective use of tools: Content: Credibility: Timing: Vocal quality.

Presentation content matched session description.SPEAKER TRACKING FORM | APPENDIX C Survey Results: Max number logged on during session: Number of respondents to survey: 1. ___ Strongly Agree ___ Agree ___ Disagree ___ Strongly Disagree 6. The speaker effectively used these interactions: ___ Polls ___ Chat ___ Open-ended questions ___ Embedded PowerPoint slides ___ Application sharing 5. Materials were appropriate to the session. I will be able to apply the information I learned in this session. ___ In the next 3 months ___ In the next 9 months ___ In the next 6 months ___ In the next 12 months ___ Never 4. ___ Strongly Agree ___ Agree ___ Disagree ___ Strongly Disagree 3. I would attend another session by this speaker. ___ Strongly Agree ___ Agree ___ Disagree ___ Strongly Disagree 2. The presenter was knowledgeable about the topic. ___ Strongly Agree ___ Agree ___ Disagree ___ Strongly Disagree Comments: Chat Text The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 127 .

USA The eLearning Guild’s Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning 128 . www. 2007 BOSTON April 11 & 12. and consultants. as well as e-Learning Annual Salary Survey     instructional designers. Resource Directory — Access & Post     Guild members work in a variety of Info Exchange — Access & Post     settings including corporate. Through sive summary of benefits offered for each membership level. That’s what the Guild is all about ..com for details = Included in Membership = Not available $ = Separate fee required The eLearning Guild organizes a variety of important industry events. go to opportunities... directors. and execuGuild Benefits Associate Member Member+ Premium tives focused on training and learning eLearning Insider     services. and management professionals.eLearningGuild. development.A Worldwide Community of Practice for e-Learning Professionals The eLearning Guild is a Community of Practice for e-Learning with your investment. April 10 .. Job Board — Post Resumes Guild membership is an investment in your professional development and in your organization’s future success with its e-Learning efforts. governJob Board — Access Jobs & Resumes     ment. project manPast Conference Handouts     agers. and academic organizations. In the table you will find a comprehendesign. content developers. Web developers. Members represent a diverse group of managers.eLearningGuild.13. networking services. resources.com. Your membership provides you with learning opportunities and resources so that you can increase your knowledge and skills. Each level provides members with benefits commensurate Job Board — Post Jobs Guild Research — Online Briefings Guild Research — Reports Guild Research — Archives Learning Solutions e-Magazine Online Forums — Archive Online Forums Face-to-Face Conferences Pre-Conference Workshops Event Fee Discounts Other Event Site License Discounts    *  *  $ $ $        $ $ $         $ $           * * 20%  20% 20% 20% 20% *See www. contractors. and publications. The eLearning Guild offers four levels of membership. putting the resources and information you need at your fingertips so you can produce more successful e-Learning. 2007 BOSTON CHECK ONLINE for topics and dates! Fall 2007 Dates TBD WEST COAST. this member driven community we provide high-quality learning To learn more about Group Membership and pricing.