Training & Development For Dummies
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Creating active and ample participation is the most important thing you can do to enhance learning. Here are a couple of thoughts to get you started whether you are in a virtual or traditional classroom:

  • Use small break-out groups to overcome any reluctance to share ideas or concerns. In a virtual classroom, this means using break-out rooms.

  • Call on specific participants no matter what kind of class you are facilitating.

  • Use body language in a traditional classroom to encourage participation; positive nods, smiles, eye contact all show that you're interested in others' ideas. In a virtual classroom, you can still encourage participation with an enthusiastic voice and verbal reinforcement. In some instances, you may want to use a webcam for short periods of time.

  • Ask questions — a show of hands is a good way to start out, and in a ­virtual setting you have a feature called a poll.

  • Encourage participants to ask questions. In a virtual setting, encourage them to use chat.

  • Share something of yourself to begin a trusted exchange of ideas.

  • Learn and apply techniques to get learners to open up.

About This Article

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Elaine Biech is president and managing principal of ebb associates inc, an organizational and leadership development firm that helps organizations work through large-scale change. Her 30 years in the training and consulting field include support to private industry, government, and non-profit organizations.

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