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Webinars that WoW - eLearning Tips for Online Training

As one might imagine, The Bob Pike Group always is looking for ways to make training relevant while still maintaining its participant-centered focus. When doing training online, that focus is even more critical as holding the participants’ attention is more difficult to do. A few years ago, Becky Pluth came across Raptivity, a software that now has about 250 templates for creating interactive exercises for online training.

“It was designed to be asynchronous, but I saw the ability to adapt it and use it in a myriad of ways, including synchronously,” said Pluth, the CEO of The Bob Pike Group.

Raptivity’s templates include things like matching games, mazes or even picture books. “With the book, you can see the picture, read the content, have the content read to you and even turn the pages,” Pluth said. “You can also create a learning pyramid where the questions build on one another and require higher-level thinking to answer them. Other exercises are not games at all but lead you on a path to discover the information.”

Pluth has used Raptivity with webinars in many ways including as a precursor to class such as creating pre-games for a fun way to introduce a class and create curiosity, quizzes or bridging activities. “I also use this live during webinars by giving participants a link. They follow that link and can do an activity on their own during the webinar instead of building it into an elearning module. I find it to be very motivational for learners—to get them out of the regular hum-drum of a webinar. It gives them a chance to work online and at their own pace while you still are in control of the content,” Pluth said. “It’s a very versatile product.” [To see some of the exercises Pluth created in Raptivity, click here.]

For example, if you want participants to become familiar with jargon before the workshop begins, create a matching game with some of the terms. “You can also use the exact same activity later in the workshop but add in the element of an application such as ‘which one of these on the right would be the correct application of the term?’ It takes people beyond the knowledge or comprehension level, and kicks it up to a learning application level—can you comprehend the term and do you know how it’s applied,” Pluth said. Another activity she uses is to create a term on the left side like “opener” and then have a list of activities on the right. Participants then need to match those types of activities that qualify as openers such as “a meet-and-greet activity using name tags.”

Regarding learning preferences, “it allows for the learner who learns well individually or is an informative learner. It’s visual, auditory, kinesthetic so it meets all three modalities which is always a plus. I’m always looking for events that hit on all of those,” Pluth said, qualifying kinesthetic as the use of the mouse to cipher a problem, or drag and drop elements.

Pluth also makes her webinars interactive by creating games in Raptivity that can be either competitive or noncompetitive. “You can say the first team to finish, the first person to finish with 90 percent or better, or when you’re finished, enter into chat one element you want clarified.

“After class, it can be a great tool to say ‘the first person to get this exercise done receives a gift card to Starbucks’ or use it merely as an optional follow-up tool as a way to see how they retain the information 30, 60, 90 days later,” Pluth said. “It’s a great way to check for understanding.” While you can use Raptivity to gauge opinions, attitudes or skill level, “primarily it’s a knowledge thing because I’m not able to observe them.”

In this era of tight budgets, is this software really a good value? “I think it’s worth every single penny and more. In 2002, when I was at Target, we paid $8,000 for a designer to create two exercises,” Pluth said. “Now you can get the whole Raptivity suite for less than half of that!”

“In comparison to the other tools out there along the same lines, I really like how easy it is to plug Raptivity into elearning products,” Pluth said. “I have a little known elearning product from Australia called Metamorphosis. Raptivity still works with it. Like with any technology, there are some cons, but the pros so far outweigh any cons; once you get to know the product, there is a lot of value—there are ways you can do work-arounds with the product to make it fit your needs.”