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Yesterday, I facilitated an ASTD Virtual Conference Session with 586 LIVE participants. Due to the number of participants, most of the interactive tools and tricks that I typically utilize in a virtual session were not available. As I debriefed this session with a few of my amazing colleagues, I gathered some data points and feedback about what to continue and how to change for the next virtual opportunity.
Some background and data points:
- Topic: 9 Elements to Design Learning and Influence Behavior
- Session was modified from the Live Session facilitated in Orlando (ASTD ICE 2011) for 172 participants
- Larry Straining provided outstanding support before, during and after both sessions
- 9 days prior to the Live Virtual Session, there were 477 registrants (“most popular of the series” according to ASTD staff, Love to hear that!)
- 9 days prior to the Live Session, Design for Interaction Changed due to technical capabilities
- Technical Support team included Jennifer Wilhelm and Kristen Husak from ASTD Digital Media team,), Karl Cantrelle (Portico Learning provided quiet space and WebEx connection), Jeffrey Seeger (managed slide transition & multiple monitors)
- 75 Minutes prior to the Live Virtual Session Start time, the system reached capacity of 1,000 registrations
- Chat was not visible due to the speed and volume which would have caused a distraction
- 1624 Chat messages were generated in 56 minutes
Reflecting on this experience, here are some things I learned to continue or change:
- Partner with a Co-Facilitator to create a conversational environment, monitor chat and share participant’s questions & ideas
- Practice timing and content with the co-facilitator prior to the session
- Plan with the technical support team how each element of the session will be implemented (introductions, chat, time monitoring, Q&A, etc.)
- Encourage Interaction through Chat and any tools available (twitter, etc)
- Include Names and Sources of Information on the Slide
- Speak Slow
- Change visual / slide every 60 seconds which include images and short phrases (no animation)
- Schedule time to respond to participants after the session
- Share feedback from participants after the session (question, ideas generated, summarized chat log, resources, etc)
I would love to learn more from you about how you facilitate large groups in the virtual world.
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