#ATD2015 Session: Engaging Activities for Live Online Meetings, Webinars, and Virtual Training

#ATD2015 Session: Engaging Activities for Live Online Meetings, Webinars, and Virtual Training

This was another session with ideas how to improve the synchronous experience with interactivity and engagements. Kassy LaBorie and Thomas Stone copresented. Their focus was to show activities that could be used virtually: online meetings, webinars, and virtual training sessions.

Planning Activities

Goals and Objectives

Throughout the ATD conference, it was stressed to have learning goals, objectives, and enabling objectives. These items guide what you do, why you do it, and how you do it. They are Key to a successful learning program.

What needs to be accomplished and what does that look like.

Social elements

While determining which activities are to be created, you can select from self-directed, asynchronous, and synchromous. Identify the objectives best completed with other people?

Application features

Next,, you need to map the interactions to the features. Specifically, which features of your live online platform allow these social interactions? The presenters stressed the importance of knowing your software application. They provide instructors and facilitators with an software specific operations checklist.

Objectives, social, and features drive the number of attendees, time, content, features.

“The way to get started is to quit talkin and begin doing.” ~ Walt Disney

Event Types and Activities

The presenters broke down their presentation into event types: Online meetings, Webinars, and virtual meetings. They also provided different types of activities that could be used with each.

Online meeting

Online meetings are typically 2-20 participants and last 30 min to 2 hours. They may be one time meetings or scheduled weekly. They are used for team meetings, announcements, updates, etc.

Online #1 – Individual Vision Statements

Participants used individual chatpods to write their individual vision statement and others then commented upon the statement. Result, objective went faster than in realtime. Additionally, benefit is that chats could be saved.

Online #2 – Brainstorming pro/con

Using a whiteboard or chat, participants add their input with a specific time limit, for example, 30 ideas in 1 minute.


A Webinar can have tens to hundreds of people. It is typically a 1 hour event used of special events or reoccurring events. Can be used for announcements, marketing, information sharing, etc. Additionally, participants are normally muted.

Webinar #1 – Whiteboard using a “filtering” technique

Presenter prepares a PowerPoint slide with their activity and places it on the whiteboard. Participants are broken up into groups, for example, first names A-M and N-Z. Participants then can place their answer on the whiteboard. It is important to design your slides so that participants can write on them.

Webinar #2 – Let them use CHAT

Participants respond to your questions in the chatbox. You may ask participants to provide examples to a scenario.

One idea I am going to work on is providing a separate course on being good online learner. Key elements are testing equipment ahead of time as well as setting expectations.

Virtual training

Virtual online training is normally held for up to 20 participants and lasts 1-3 hours. It can be a one time event or part of a regular rotation. The purpose is to learn new skills while learning from and with others.

Virtual training #1 – Scavenger hunt

This activity was interesting. Basically, you could have participants navigate a website, do a search, or some other information finding activity. They would locate answers and write them down. When they found all the answers, they would initial on the white board they were complete. Once everyone is done, reveal the correct answers.

Virtual Training #2 – Making Connections

Provide a collection of images (we used six) that participants must link together to make a story based on the connections.

Delivery Tips

The presenters offered a number of delivery tips:

  • Set expections
  • Provide clear instructions
  • Create and use participant materials
  • Design opportunities for collaboration
  • Deliver meaningful expectations
  • Build fantastic technical skills

Technical tips

Here is what the presenters recommended to learn how to master your software platform:

  • Click on everything
  • Youtube, Google, review, replicate
  • Try to break the program
  • Use the program
  • Use a second computer
  • Respond quickly to problems that arise
  • Pay attentions to details

The presentation was very enjoyable and provided great ideas that I will take back to work. I will be working on a workshop to share these ideas.