With travel and training budgets remaining tight, getting people to an in-person training or event can be difficult. Many agencies are embracing online learning and video to achieve their training objectives and needs. While in-person trainings provide a high level of collaboration and attention, technology has evolved to make online training an incredibly attractive option for learning.[Tweet "Technology has evolved to make online training an attractive option. #GovEventsBlog"] From wide access to audio and video technology (with cameras and high quality speakers and microphones built into most devices) and high bandwidth, organizations are no longer limited in what they can present to remote participants. But, this does not mean every bell and whistle should be used in online training. What technologies and tools to use is a strategic decision that needs to be made based on the audience and the content.
Emily Timmerman, Senior Solutions Consultant with Adobe Connect recently shared with us some of the tips she and her team give their customers when designing virtual environments.
- Be mindful of bandwidth - while high bandwidth connections are nearly ubiquitous, there are many factors that go into how fast people can receive and send video. From security measures on the network (particularly at government facilities) to the age of the device they are using, High Definition video may not be received clearly and may not be worth the investment. Think about how your remote audience will access the online event and pick a recording and delivery method that matches the lowest common denominator of access.
- Use video to its strengths - if you have live speakers, concentrate your video on them so that body language and facial expressions are captured and conveyed. For slides, demos, or other supplemental materials, find a way to display them without taking up video resources. Can they be fed into a secondary window on the user's screen? Can they be sent ahead of time and referenced separately?
- Make it two way - if users can only see the instructor but not interact they may as well watch a recording. Ensure live training includes ample opportunities to interact, whether that is enabling real-time "call-ins," emailed questions, Instant Messaging, or polls. Advise attendees on the best environment for a backdrop so they can be seen clearly.
Adobe has seen the power of video work for trainings where gauging understanding and making connections is critical. For example, video is a great tool for new hire training.[Tweet "Video is a great tool for new hire training. #GovEventsBlog"] Using a combination of pre-recorded video from organization leaders and real-time two way interaction helps dispersed teams put faces with names and make personal connections early on. For more formal education, instructors enjoy being able to see the faces of remote students so they can gauge the understanding of a topic.
And you don't need to save video for big events. The Adobe Connect team uses the technology for their weekly team meetings to bring together their dispersed sales and marketing team.[Tweet "Use video for team meetings with dispersed sales/marketing teams. #GovEventsBlog"] People have the option of turning video on or off (if for instance they are someplace where video is not allowed or safe to use), but most - even those waiting for flights in airports choose to use the video. Having this two way visual connection keeps people focused and less likely to multi-task on these routine, but important, team meetings.
We'd love to hear how your organization is integrating video into events as well as everyday interactions. Share your thoughts in the comments.