Tips on Virtual Learning Events

The move to virtual has accelerated rapidly with Covid19, but long before this some teams and organisations were doing things virtually — and finding not only disadvantages, but also some benefits.

Here a few tips on hosting virtual meetings — and sharing knowledge, building relationships in the process.

These are gleaned from recent experience at The Nature Conservancy, which has over 4000 staff across many countries — as well as from experts sharing their insights on platforms such as the Harvard Business Review.

Some tips from recent events and ‘best practice’

Other Resources

Three links to one pagers that summarise some tips on virtual meetings and effective webinars. Gleaned from inside and outside TNC. Get in touch (d.schaub-jones@tnc.org) if you’ve some to add or feedback!

Bucks Primer 1 — Effective Webinars

https://tnc.box.com/s/wkedpmjpxlcc8a43fm0tmzxd99o5vj64

Bucks Primer 2 — Virtual Meetings Advice

https://tnc.box.com/s/ngjnbt4dhxqbdnyfoi2oengx2iplfcwu

BuCKS Primer №03 — Behind the Scenes for Zoom Webinar Organisers

https://tnc.box.com/s/xjklo9f96xl7w1qzryq1xvy8xjjaup4r

BuCKS stands for Building Capacity & Knowledge Sharing. Here a copy of the powerpoint used in the video:

A virtual event can open up new opportunities

It is tempting to think of a virtual event as a pale facsimile of the real thing.

Better is to think of a virtual event as something different than an in-person event, something that permits fresh thinking and new opportunities.

In March 2020 when we needed, with 3 weeks notice, to turn a 12 country, four day get-together in Bogota into a virtual event, we saw some immediate new opportunities. One was to invite more people now that there were no travel costs. We went from 45 attendees to 95 in short order and still managed to generate effective engagement through a mix of lectures and breakout groups (although, a note of caution, going over 60 people for even a virtual event seems to shift the dynamic and remove some possibilities).

One opportunity is to use digital tools to engage with the audience, break up presentations but also launch new discussions. For this a wordcloud, generated live, can be particularly thought provoking (especially if groups then work off the words and phrases generated).

Another reflection is that, with a virtual event, you’re already engaging remotely with participants. As such it can offer a great opportunity to spread your interaction over time and not have it compressed inside a few long days. This can allow time for assignments, groupwork, sub-topics and small team interaction.

Creating touchpoints that ‘echo’ your event after it happens (which can be as simple as email conversations, or shared photos) can reinforce the key messages, learning and team building.

Creative, light-touch, ways exist to reinforce the learning or sharing after the event, or even to build up to it in advance.

Flatten the Curve —reducing how fast your engagement decays

Resources for TNC staff only

Staff blog on having a virtual Provide Food & Water retreat

Video of an interactive discussion on hosting large meetings virtually

Workplace (facebook) group for staff to discuss large virtual events

Click here for the group: https://tnc.workplace.com/groups/633985460720369/

Get in touch with David Schaub-Jones if you’ve any further questions or suggestions!

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The Nature Conservancy is one of the world's largest conservation organisations. Water security is amongst our top priorites-follow this account to know more.