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A Guide To Developing Live Virtual Group Education

Version 1.0, July 2021

Step 7: Deliver your virtual group education

Practice your session in the days leading up to your event to ensure everything runs smoothly. Familiarize yourself with the virtual platform, its features and how to effectively use them. Also check your location (setup, background, lighting), computer audio and video quality.

15 to 30 minutes before your event:

Allow yourself and other speakers to set up, troubleshoot any technical issues and quickly run through the presentation. To help make sure everything goes smoothly:

  • Check your space
    • Lighting: Present in a well-lit room with a table lamp in front of you. Avoid having any bright lights or windows behind you as this will make it harder for participants to see you.
    • Computer placement: Use a stable surface and position your camera at eye-level to make natural eye contact with participants
    • Video: Make sure your entire face can be seen at all times
    • Background noises and distractions: Choose a quiet room with limited background noise where no one else will enter. Turn off your phone ringer.
    • Automatic notifications on your computer: Turn off notifications and any other programs not being used to limit distractions.
    • Check your privacy, make sure few personal belongings are in view. Some platforms allow you to change or blur your background.
  • Confirm your co-facilitator's tasks
    Your co-facilitator can help you in many ways. For example, they can help:
    • Manage participants as they enter
      Example: Ensuring they are on mute, admitting them from the waiting room, and verifying their identity
    • Take attendance or track the number of participants
    • Monitor the chat and question-and-answer screens
    • Troubleshoot technical issues
    • Act as a back-up in case you experience technical difficulties. You may also want to discuss how and when to communicate privately with one another throughout the session.
  • Ensure privacy and security
    For closed virtual group education, consider turning on the “waiting room” function or use a passcode so that only intended participants are admitted.

As you start your session:

Go through the content you developed in Step 4C and:

  • Provide an introduction
    Introduce yourself, any co-facilitators, your roles, and consider including a Land Acknowledgment as well.
  • Outline your session's etiquette and expectations
    Review the group norms, expected etiquette and session format. Consider having your participants practice using the virtual platform features that you plan to use during the virtual group education, such as the mute, question-and-answer and chat functions.

During your session:

  • Engage your participants (if it is a goal)
  • Ask questions and give your participants adequate time to respond. Remember, there is an audio delay so sometimes the Q&A, chat box or other polling features might be more useful.
  • Make it relatable. Speak in plain language. Use everyday words.
  • Build in extra time. This will allow you to keep an easy pace, address participant questions and engage in discussions. It also gives you a buffer in case of any unexpected interruptions like technical issues.
  • Speak at a slower pace. If there will be simultaneous interpretation, pause for 1 to 2 seconds between each sentence to allow interpreters to “catch up” if needed.
  • Check-in with your participants throughout to see how they are doing and to identify if anything needs clarification
  • Summarize and repeat key messages periodically
  • Include breaks. Tell participants how long the break will be and state the time you will start up again.
  • Use interactive features wisely and remember to address the privacy considerations when using any of these tools. The chat, question-and-answer screen, and reaction icons can engage people in different ways. Spread activities throughout the session to help avoid screen fatigue and maintain engagement.

As your session closes:

  • Summarize and provide next steps
    • Review your learning objectives
    • Provide contact information for further information, any outstanding questions and comments
    • Provide additional resources (if applicable)
    • Send an evaluation form to your participants via the chat box or by displaying the form's QR code for them to scan, or let your participants know that an evaluation form will be emailed to them
    • Explain how their feedback will be used to improve future sessions

Once participants have logged off:

  • Debrief with presenters / facilitators
    • Discuss how the session went, what went well and what could be improved upon
    • Explain that you will be sending an evaluation form to them and how their feedback will be used to improve future sessions
    • Commit to providing a summary once all the feedback has been captured

Action Items

  • Log on 15 to 30 minutes before starting. Check your environment and test the technology. If you will have co-facilitators, discuss roles, privacy and session flow.
  • Introduce speakers, discuss etiquette, expectations and learning objectives  
  • Go slow and engage with your audience
  • Use interactive tools wisely
  • Summarize key learnings, answer questions, suggest further resources and provide feedback / evaluation channels
  • Debrief with presenters / facilitators. Discuss successes and improvement strategies