Many of us have sat through boring trainings witnessing the trainer attempting to encourage participants to speak up or ask questions. There is usually one or two people who will raise their hand and ask a question or two. Or worse, you get the person who just can’t help but to talk too much and input their opinions or stories. You can feel it when the room starts to get annoyed with those individuals who just do not know when to stop interrupting with their own agendas. Or, you feel bad for the trainer in front of you who cannot, for the life of them, get their audience engaged.
Luckily, there are many other ways to control the audience and limit disruptions while increasing engagement of all the participants.
Here are five great tools that not only increase their participations, but also encourages collaboration.
- padlet.com Padlet is an interactive blackboard that provides a space where multiple users can post content. It’s basically a digital sticky note collection. Use Padlet as a place for questions, examples, thoughts, and reflections before, during and after your training. Be sure to monitor the ideas as they go up in order to provide accurate feedback to the group.
- Google Presentations. Using Google Presentations during a training session is a great way to crowd source and organize content. You can create a template prior to the session and share it to your audience. Use grouping strategies to assign certain parts of the slides to certain groups. This can be used as a collaborative activity that crowd sources ideas and example centered around a topic. The beauty of Google is its share-ability and collaborative aspects. Use this as a closing exercise or a brainstorming exercise at the beginning of your training.
- Twitter. Create a particular hashtag for the training day and set aside specific tweeting times. Have your audience members tweet out questions, thoughts, ideas, and links to deepen the comprehension of the training topics. To take this even further as a trainer, let some of your PLN know that you will be hosting a session and tweet to them. They will in turn tweet back making the session more interesting.
- todaysmeet.com is an alternative to Twitter if, for example, your audience members are not tweeters. Its a secure back channeling website that is exclusive to your audience. Simply create your account and share the link to your participants. Once they join your room, they will be able to post to the discussion board. Use helpful cues such as Q for question to prompt discussions. It is also helpful to have questions already created in order to maximize the effectiveness of this tool.
- iTunesU now has a discussion feature embedded in its software. This works well if you are running your training session out of an iTunesU classroom environment. This is also secure only to the members of your session. This feature is great for discussions and reflections. All of the members of the session will see everyone else’s post just like the previously mentioned tools.
Whether you are putting together an hour of training or two days of training, these tools are a must for active participation. They are easy to set up and truly make a difference in the quality of your sessions. Do you have a favorite tool you use for audience participation? Leave me a comment and let me know the tool and what you like about it!