15 easy ways to engage your online learners

You can see it on their faces.

If they have their webcams on, that is.

They’re bored. Zoning out. Nodding off.

How will you re-engage your webinar participants, so that they can retain and apply what you’re teaching them?

These 15 virtual engagement techniques are game changers for webinar trainers…

1. Stand up

It only takes three seconds to reintroduce blood to your learners’ brains.

Getting them to stand up can be just the thing they need to get them re-energized and re-engaged in your training.

2. Give a challenge

This could be a physical challenge, like having them get up and go find an object around their home or office that (loosely) reminds them of a key takeaway from your webinar so far.

3. Use a brain teaser

This could be a cognitive challenge like a word puzzle, optical illusion image, or simply a ‘90s trivia quiz.

4. Fill in the blanks

Human beings want closure and completion.

Have them make their best educated guesses at the blanks you provide for them.

Then they’ll be more engaged when you debrief with your teaching slides that contain the correct answers.

5. Play music

Change up the tempo depending on how reflective or participative the activity is.

6. Thirty second “chat” discussions

Encourage learners to flood the chat box with as many ideas or examples as they can think of on a certain topic.

7. Plant questions

Don’t ask yes or no questions.

Keep them open-ended and spark debate.

Then provide resolution with your teaching.

8. Create a poll, and then show the poll

Have them stamp on different sections of the screen that are titled based on different preferences they might hold.

Do agenda votes that allow learners to select which items they’re most excited to cover.

Conduct sit-stand activities where learners all stand up, then they sit and quickly stand back up every time a statement you read is true for them.

9. Ask for a volunteer

Have them read the objectives in the workbook.

It lets you take a drink, and it gives your learners some variety and a break from your voice.

At the end of private reflection times or chat-box floods, invite volunteers to unmute their mics and elaborate on why they wrote what they wrote.

You can also incentivize volunteering by giving them stickers, and then ultimately giving prizes to the top sticker earners at the end of your webinar.

10. Complete an assessment

Use a quick quiz or game to gauge their knowledge on a topic before you begin teaching.

This will help you tailor your content based on your learners’ most urgent knowledge gaps.

11. Put people in pairs

You can do this in breakout rooms or by having them work together for private chat-box conversations.

12. Use humor

Reduce tension to increase retention.

Tell a joke. Laugh at (appropriate) jokes in the chat box.

Oh, and it’s OK to laugh at yourself if you misspeak or if there’s a technical glitch.

13. Stand and stretch

Try doing some chair yoga poses as a group.

14. Look outside and report back

Have them stand up, look outside, and report back in the chat box with something they saw.

15. Incorporate CORE throughout your design

Closers, Openers, Revisiters and Energizers.

They are the core of a stable, strong, balanced and healthy interactive virtual training!

Which of those 15 tips will make the biggest difference in your webinars?

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