Home Blog & Media Converting a Training Skeptic Into a Believer

Converting a Training Skeptic Into a Believer

June 8, 2021

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Karsten McNulty

Director Leadership Development
International Rescue Committee (IRC)

At the International Rescue Committee (IRC), as the Director of Leadership Development, I do a lot of training design, and facilitation for global audiences. That said, when I signed up for Humentum’s eFacilitation Skills: Virtual Train like a Pro, I was convinced I would learn little that was new. Ever hopeful, I proceeded anyway.

Full disclosure: I am often the participant I dread having in class—skeptical, critical, and ready to be underwhelmed. I think I might have even arrived a few minutes late to the first session. What a surprise it was to have expert facilitators, Judith Mumford and Kim Kucinskas, providing quick, easy-to-implement tips in the first 15 minutes I joined! That was all it took for me to go from skeptic to believer.

Exposure to new ways of engaging learners continued through the entire week-long workshop. Our facilitators not only shared terrific insights, but they were also willing to explain what they were doing behind the scenes. They aptly called this “pulling back the curtain” to give insider information about how they were conducting the virtual training itself.

After completing the useful workshop, I went on to organize a briefing for our internal team. I shared a few of the things I thought they would be able to apply immediately. Here is a brief list of ideas for increasing learner engagement:

  • Use the Zoom chat for agendas, instruction, and questions and rely less on slides
  • Mentimeter is quick and easy for polling. Plus, it has the ability to collate responses in a real-time word cloud
  • Resources like Mural and Google slides create more engaged breakout rooms (and a way to monitor progress!)
  • Techniques from Liberating Structures can be adapted for the virtual space, especially when combined with other media
  • Get the learners to generate the content and then come back to it (i.e. facipulation – a mixture of facilitation and manipulation, facipulation occurs when a trainer influences the discussion through reframing or summarizing the work the group has done themselves)
  • New ways to involve and utilize a producer when facilitating over Zoom

All in all, I learned new strategies for creating interactivity in a virtual setting. By using varied options to mix tools and media, learners are more engaged with the content. In just a few months, I have used many, if not all, of the things I learned in current virtual trainings and I am convinced that our virtual training sessions are better for it. And, it has shown in our evaluation comments! I highly recommend the session.

Don’t miss your chance to attend Humentum’s next eFacilitation Skills: Virtual Train like a Pro workshop on June 21-July 2 or September 13-24. These workshops are held once a day over ten days. Designed for trainers and facilitators in the humanitarian and development community, this highly participatory workshop will help you improve your skills in course design and virtual facilitation to deliver high-impact training and event activities in a virtual setting. Our expert facilitators will also share the tools and techniques you need to be a more effective facilitator. You will learn how to effectively navigate the virtual training and meeting room, as well as gain tools to bring interaction to the virtual space.

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