129 Tips on Using Technology in Virtual and Physical Classrooms from eLearning Guild

If you are looking for some new tips about using technology for learning or are looking for a refresher you might want to take a look at the free ebook from the eLearning Guild. 129 Tips on Using Technology in Virtual and Physical Classrooms. You’ll need to give contact information to download the ebook, but I’ve never been spammed by the guild and have confidence in recommending this to readers.

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In this new, free 32-page ebook you’ll see short tips on everything from low-tech classroom training to using Google Hangouts as a tool for online learning. Topics covered include:

  • Using virtual-classroom and virtual-world features effectively
  • Instructional design and presentation skills for the classroom
  • Pros and cons of virtual classrooms and virtual worlds
  • Pros and cons of physical and blended classrooms
  • Games for the classroom
  • Mobile and social learning for the classroom

Download your complimentary copy from: http://bit.ly/109Ejyg

I’d love to hear what tips caught your attention. Add a comment and let’s discuss!

One tip that resonated with me as both a trainer and a learner is accountability during online training sessions or webinars:

A typical challenge in the virtual classroom is keeping participants from multi-tasking. After all, participants are often taking the virtual course on the same devices they get their email and do other work on. Many instructional designers and virtual trainers build in some level of interactivity (polls, chat, Q&A) to address this challenge. But it’s equally important to build in accountability. For example, assign participants a learning partner, then use the chat feature to allow participants to check in with their partners several times during the session.

~Anne Scott,  Training Program Developer, Sodexo

I’ve always tried to incorporate interactivity, but it’s challenging to keep learners engaged even with polls, whiteboarding, and chat. A partner makes accountability less intimidating for the learner and lessens the load on the facilitator.

10 Tips for Training in Tough Times



Libraries across the country are being impacted by the economy. Staff are being laid off. Doors are being locked as libraries close or reduce hours. As we face this new reality, how does this impact our roles as trainers/teachers/learners? What can we do to not only support our organizations but secure training’s place within our organizations? Here are ten ideas for you to consider.

  1. Alignment. Align training with strategic priorities. If ever there was a time to tighten the training belt it is now. Do you know what your library’s strategic priorities are? If not, ask. Make sure that all of your training supports those outcomes and priorities for your library.
  2. Attitude. Set a good example. Employees often look at trainers as role models for the organization. Doom and gloom do not do anyone a bit of good. Lead by example. Look for the silver lining that exists and embrace this time as an opportunity for growth and change. Be flexible and willing to do things that may fall outside of your normal realm.
  3. Network and Collaboration. Look for ways to collaborate with other trainers. There are trainers across the country who are ready and willing to share and trade training materials. If you need a handout on the fly try posting to an email list. Or you might decide to create a more formal training exchange with a sister library.
  4. Webinars. ALA Learning will soon be announcing a new resource for sharing training and learning opportunities. Many of these events are free. Better yet many are online and require no travel. Publicize these events to your staff.
  5. Outcomes. Think in terms of outcomes rather than trainings. What outcome or result are you looking for? What problem are you trying to address? Once you’ve determined your outcome then you can determine if training is the best way to reach that outcome (in many cases it’s not). Don’t invest time and resources in training that’s not needed.
  6. Free. Look for free authoring tools. Do a search for “free elearning tools” and you will find lots of great articles. Like this one and this one from our own Jay Turner. With her budget cut to nearly 70% Sue-Minton Colvin, training and development coordinator for Lexington Public Library turned to e-learning. Not already having an established platform, Colvin created an entire training intranet using Shutterfly. Yes, you read that right, Shutterfly. I never even realized you could create a Web site using Shutterfly! Talk about using your resources!
  7. Social Learning. On her Web site Ageless Learner, Marcia Conner says that, “Informal learning accounts for more than 75% of learning that takes place in organizations today.” Embrace the power of Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, Facebook, and Twitter to facilitate informal learning. Host a discussion. Host a chat. The sky is the limit and we are only on the verge of utilizing these tools fully in learning and staff development.
  8. Visibility. Be visible in your organization. When you work primarily behind the scenes, it’s easy to stay holed up in your office. Get out and talk to staff. Find out what’s going on. Let them know what’s going on with training. Listen with empathy and remember tip #2.
  9. Better With Less. Instead of focusing on how we are doing more with less, focus on the opportunity to do better with less. As I said in tip #1, this blip in the radar gives us a chance to focus on the basics, rethink our training strategies, and truly show an impact on the organizations we serve. Staff training in the library is very different from public training. We are here primarily to improve the performance of staff within libraries so that they can better serve our customers.
  10. Don’t stop. No matter how tight the budget is, it’s a huge mistake for any organization to stop training completely. As the economy ebbs and flows it is crucial that libraries and our staff learn to go with that flow. Only through continuous learning can we keep our workforce’s skills up to date and prepare our employees for the changes that will no doubt take place in organizations.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas about training in tough times. Please comment on this post to continue the discussion!

Lori Reed, managing editor of ALA Learning, is the learning & development coordinator (and mayor 🙂 ) for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She also blogs at http://lorireed.com.