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A Guide To Developing Live Virtual Group Education

Version 1.0, July 2021

Step 2: Meet your participants' needs

Your intended audience is more likely to attend your session if they feel the content is timely, relevant and addresses their specific wants and needs. To best engage your audience, find out what's most important to them.

Consider the following to find out what's most important to your participants:

  • What do they want to know?
    • For specific populations: are they interested in information about their health condition, treatment, transitions in care, overcoming barriers or lifestyle management? What clarifications, new knowledge or skills would they benefit from?
      Example: I have diabetes, is it safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
    • For a broad audience: what common or recurrent questions, concerns, or themes have you heard come up in the general population? What clarifications, new knowledge or skills would many people benefit from?
      Example: What can I do to keep safe during COVID-19?

If you aren't sure what your intended audience might like to know, conduct a needs assessment with your participants, or ask your interprofessional teams what commonly asked questions patients have. If possible, you can also consult with your patient advisor councils or Patient/Caregiver Partners program.

  • What do they already know?
    • For specific populations: What skills do they already have? Where are they currently on their health care journey? For example, are they newly diagnosed or have they been managing their condition for a long time?
      Example: Will this new drug "x" help my arthritis and how?
    • For broad audiences: What general information already exists? What myths or misconceptions might be important to address? What expertise can you, your team, program, or organization offer that isn't already available?
      Example: If I eat lots of calcium, will it prevent me from getting arthritis?
  • How can you optimize their virtual learning experience (and reduce any barriers to learning)?
    • What presentation style do they prefer? Is it lecture-based or more interactive? Is it important to see the speaker, the slides or both? Do they want to interact with others during the session?
  • Can you meet their learning needs using virtual group education?
  • Virtual group education may not be appropriate if the information you wish to cover is:

    • highly technical
    • involves multiple steps
    • very specific to each individual
    • requires a lot of coaching to be effectively implemented
    • For broad audiences: What general information already exists? What myths or misconceptions might be important to address? What expertise can you, your team, program, or organization offer that isn't already available?

    Example: How do I to set up my home hemodialysis machine?

In these cases, virtual group education may be more appropriate after individual learning has taken place.

  • What languages do they prefer to learn in?
    • Do you plan to have interpretation available? Will it be simultaneously broadcast? What does this involve to do it well and how much in advance do you need to arrange this?

Action Items

  • Consult with your intended audience to find out what they want to know, what they already know and how they would best learn in a virtual environment.
  • Understand the needs of your audience. Consider both the information to be presented and the need for interpreters.