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A Guide To Developing Live Virtual Group Education

Version 1.0, July 2021

Step 6: Promote your virtual group education

To develop an effective communication and promotion plan, it is important to identify who your intended audience is and how best to reach them.

Your promotion strategy will be informed by:

  • Whether your intended audience is specific or broad (Step 1)
  • Existing channels you already use to reach your intended audience
  • Other communication channels that might be effective
    Your organization's Communications or Public Affairs team may have ideas, input and access to social media channels if your intended audience is broad.
  • Your virtual platform's attendance limits (the number of participants that can join at once)
  • The maximum and ideal number of participants for your session to be both educational and interactive
    Example: To see all the participants on the screen at once, this may mean limiting your numbers to 4-6 people.
  • Your invitation process
    Example: Some virtual platform allow you to send out invitations, you can create a separate invitation or you can do both.
    Note: Consider privacy implications if you are sending invitations electronically. Check with your Privacy and Telehealth/Telemedicine departments to determine what permissions you need to send invitations electronically.
  • Your registration process
    Asking participants to register in advance can help you track numbers, verify access to and comfort with available technology (for specific participants), identify interests, capture contact information for future follow-up and control who has access to the session.

A. Create promotional materials

If you plan to design flyers and/or invitations to advertise your virtual group education, use patient education best practices (Step 4) to ensure it:

  • Is written in everyday (plain) language
  • Uses fonts that are clear, easy to read and avoid all caps
  • Includes only the necessary details
  • Has lots of "white space" around your text and images
  • Includes images only if they are clear, help describe your session and represent your intended audience. If posting online, add Alternative Text (Alt-Text) to these images so screen readers can explain them.
    For more information: Alternative Text (WebAim)

When creating promotional material, include the following details:

  • Title, date, time and name of the platform you will be using
    Example: This session will be held online using Zoom on May 13, 2021 at 3:00 pm
  • Topics you will cover (include the learning objectives you created in Step 4B)
    Example: By the end of the session, you will be able to...
  • Information about your presenters (including qualifications, affiliations and role)
  • Instructions on how to register for the virtual group education
  • Who to contact for more information

B. Compile an information package

This will give your participants the opportunity to submit permission forms, familiarize themselves with the content, the virtual platform and any apps they may be using. Send this information far in advance of your session.

Your information package could include:

  • Consent form(s) to participate in the virtual group education. This is different from the email consent form and would include information about privacy and confidentiality during the virtual group education. It can be either paper or downloadable / fillable PDF formats, depending on how you are sending out the package.
    Note: Check with your privacy department regarding which consent form(s) you will need to safely conduct your session. If there is the possibility that names, images or other identifying elements will be seen AND/OR personal information will be collected during the session, additional permissions forms may be required. These must be returned prior to your session.
  • The date, time and link to join. Encourage participants to join early so they can test their audio and video connection.
  • A list of equipment they will need. Including tip sheets on how to best set up both the equipment and the room it will be in.
  • Instructions (links or guides) on how to download/use software or sign in to a network
  • Instructions (links or guides) on how to access the virtual group education from different devices on the day of the event
  • Instructions (links or guides) on how to use any interactive elements
    Example: Menti, Quick Access, QR codes, external trivia platforms like Kahoot
  • Information (links or guides) on how to ensure privacy during the session
    Example: How to use background changing features or rename themselves
  • Group norms and expectations (see example in Appendix I)
  • Video conferencing best practice guidelines
  • Other information
    Example: A summary of the virtual group education's goals and objectives, speaker information, slides and other reference materials

C. Spread the word!

There are a variety of communication strategies you can use to create awareness of your virtual group education depending on your intended audience.

For specific intended audiences, work with your clinical teams and program areas to:

  • Distribute or email (if you have consent to do so) printable and electronic promotional materials
  • Advertise in treatment or clinical areas, waiting rooms and common areas
  • Contact patients in specific program areas (if you have consent to do so)
  • Inform other relevant healthcare providers, managers, educators and leads
  • Promote in patient newsletters, e-blasts or other established communication channels. Set up a series of reminder emails using the contact lists (if you have consent to do so).

For broad intended audiences, you may want to:

  • Contact community and relevant health organizations
  • Contact healthcare providers, managers, educators and leads within and outside of your organization
  • Post to internal and public social media channels. Ask your Public Affairs or Communications teams if they can help.
  • Contact partner organizations who may have a shared interest
  • Promote through recognized and credible e-mailing lists
  • Submit the details of your session to teams who create newsletters
    Example: Your organization’s Foundation, Public Affairs or Communications Department and Family Health Teams
  • Set up a series of reminder emails or posts for internal and external stakeholders, intended audiences (if you have consent to do so), and through social media channels

Action Items

  • Establish which communication channels and social media outlets you can use to reach your intended audience
  • Build a plan to advertise and invite attendees
  • Create an information package for participants to be sent upon registration or prior to the session
  • Work with clinical teams, patient care areas, community partners and others to raise awareness and attract participants
  • Promote your session using all channels available to you