Are you virtually ready for online learning?

24 June 2015

Over the last year I've been delivering online sessions on volunteer management for participants from all over Scotland.

There are lots of different reasons why online learning appeals to organisations.  For one thing, you don’t need to spend time and money travelling as you can join in from your desk (or a quiet meeting room!).  This also means you don’t need to take too much time out of your day. Those on our exploring volunteer practice sessions also agree: 

“it was informative and allowed me to access this without travelling which also made good use of my time” 

Zoe Blog Pic 1 However, lots of the people I speak to at face to face training days are wary of online learning. One of the major concerns for people is that it won’t be very interactive but in the sessions we run there are a variety of ways to interact.  There is a chat pane that is always available so you can text to the whole group or individuals at any time. In fact, when I’ve attended online training and then gone to face to face training I miss this additional communication with other participants. Individuals can also contribute with their PC microphone which enables them to add depth to points and have a good discussion.  There are white boards and writing tools to annotate slides and even ‘breakout rooms’ where they can discuss things with other participants, away from the facilitator. 

“It worked really well. I like the interaction, it helped keep interest in the session”

In fact, it’s so interactive that there are great networking opportunities. Two volunteer managers on our Volunteer Management – The Essentials course discovered they worked near each other and arranged to meet!  In a profession where you’re often the only one doing the role, knowing that you can access a wider network in a couple of clicks is great.

For the large majority of participants, our online sessions have been their first experience of online learning.  So, if this is the case, my top tip is to arrive in good time for the session!  We always give 15 minutes extra to log in before the session starts and this is your opportunity to make sure everything is up and running.  There’s also time to answer another email or get a cup of tea. There are sometimes technical difficulties for participants, you will not be the first, and the challenge of overcoming them keeps us on our toes! But doing is a great way of learning;  

“it was the first time I have ever done this. I will feel more comfortable in the future”

So, if you feel like you’re virtually ready for online learning, why not join us for one of our free sessions?  ‘See’ you there!

Written by Zoe MacGregor

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