How to make your training sessions more engaging with a digital whiteboard
Successful training sessions are engaging and hold the trainees’ interest. Not only does engagement help the trainer – after all, there’s nothing worse than feeling no one is paying attention and you are wasting your time! – it also helps the learner. Greater levels of engagement have been shown to improve learning speed and increase retention.
There are methods and resources available to you to help learners engage and, as a consequence, learn more effectively at the same time. Digital whiteboards are one of the tools at a trainer’s disposal that can help with collaboration and engagement. Here, we will look at how and why you shouldn’t be without an online whiteboard in your training, as well as some tips and tricks on how to use them to your and your students’ advantage.
How are online whiteboards useful in training sessions?
Digital whiteboards offer all the features that a traditional whiteboard offers, along with a multitude of others. As a collaborative tool they are particularly useful for teamwork and increasing engagement. A digital whiteboard has multimedia capabilities: video, audio, and other files can be shared and real-time, and you can make really interactive presentations. Teams can use them when brainstorming ideas and, unlike a traditional whiteboard, these can be recorded and shared with the participants for future reference.
Digital whiteboards can be used as a centralized platform for a training and development session. It does not matter if the trainees are all in one room together, joining a call remotely, or a mixture of the two. All the participants see the same information, and can collaborate as necessary.
Why do online whiteboards make training sessions more engaging?
A digital whiteboard has various features that can make training more engaging. They are interactive: interacting with something rather than passively receiving information leads to greater retention of that information and therefore better learning outcomes. If you are required to do something, you need to pay attention to what you are doing. This is not the case if you are just expected to sit there and listen.
Multimedia integration means that digital whiteboards can easily incorporate things like pictures, video, and audio files. This makes training sessions more varied, visually appealing, and dynamic. Different people learn in different ways. There are 4 main ways of learning: visual, auditory, written, and kinesthetic. We all tend to favour one way over the rest although some people do learn in a multimodal way.
By introducing different elements into your workshops, you are providing variety. This makes it easier to stay engaged, as well as ensuring that all learning styles are catered to. Many studies have shown that interactive media can have a beneficial effect on learning outcomes. One based on research into student science learning outcomes found that interactive multimedia had an effect of almost 40%.
Using the collaborative features that digital whiteboards offer helps trainees to work together in teams. Trainers can also work with the trainees and engage in interactive discussions and exercises so that they feel supported and seen.
It can be difficult to plan engaging hybrid training sessions, due to the fact that not everyone is in the same room or situation. Introducing a digital whiteboard into the mix means that everyone can engage in the same way, regardless of where they are. This can help bring the group together as well.
Course facilitators also have the option to use data-tracking features and this can be useful for sustaining engagement. It means that the progress of trainees can be monitored, allowing data-driven decisions to be made as and when necessary. Need to change the emphasis of your training halfway through a session and pick a different activity to increase engagement levels? With an online whiteboard, this is not a problem!
What role can a digital whiteboard play in promoting and facilitating collaboration?
Collaboration in training sessions helps to increase interactivity and engagement. In a professional environment it is often useful to build a sense of team: collaboration ensures that trainees work together, and this can help to build bonds between co-workers. This has become particularly important after Covid, as workers and teams have spent time apart and often need to rebuild their sense of belonging to encourage teamwork.
Digital whiteboards allow all members of a team or training session to contribute, regardless of where they are working from, whether the training is being conducted remotely or in person. They can be used for real-time brainstorming sessions where everyone needs to get involved. People can share their ideas and any necessary files with the group immediately, and the online whiteboard provides a digital space where all these things are collected together.
With a central, online whiteboard there is no need to flick between different media or multiple apps for different things. This means that everyone has access to all the same information at the same time, and feels like they are part of the same group. This also makes it easier to keep track of any group’s progress or decision-making, again helping create a sense of team.
It is harder to sideline people if everything is easily visible, accessible, and being updated in real time. And it is harder to lose interest if things are changing in real time and you are part of a collaborative process.
Creating and designing training sessions to include digital whiteboards
Because digital whiteboards are such a useful resource, it makes sense to include them in your training sessions. Bringing interactive elements into your training will increase engagement and lend themselves to group collaboration opportunities. Online whiteboards make it easy to include interactive elements in your training.
As well as taking advantage of brainstorming sessions, which are particularly effective with a digital whiteboard, make sure your sessions make use of as many of its features as possible. For example, you can add files, images, videos, quizzes, and so on. Create teamwork opportunities and allow learners to edit and annotate things in real time as part of the exercise. Discussion and interaction should be encouraged. Group collaboration opportunities will lead to greater engagement and will help to build a sense of team.
How to adapt online whiteboards to remote, in person, and hybrid working and training styles
Digital whiteboards are useful because they are so adaptable. Whether you are creating training sessions for remote delivery, in-person sessions or a hybrid scenario, they will help the process. This is also the case for meetings, and particularly for ones involving large teams. The focus of your training will depend partly on the needs of the participants and any learning styles that need to be taken into account, but digital whiteboards can be used in various ways across the different training and meeting types.
In hybrid situations, maybe you will be in a room with some of the participants while others are online. Alternatively, you might be dialling in remotely and some of your trainees might be in a room together. Using a digital whiteboard allows all the participants to access and contribute to the discussion at the same time. And you have ultimate control of the media regardless of where you are which makes it easier to keep control of the session.
Real time feedback and encouragement can be given whether you are all in the same room or in different locations. Regular Q&A sessions and live discussions can help build a sense of collaboration and engagement regardless of how the training is being delivered.
You may wish to structure your whiteboard sessions slightly differently for remote and hybrid delivery, as the opportunities to spend time together in these circumstances are not the same as for in-person training. In-person training may include lunches or other social occasions where trainees will spend time together in an informal way.
With remote and hybrid delivery you will need to factor in opportunities for trainees to get to know each other while not having such informal opportunities. Use activities such as icebreakers to help participants to relax and get to know each other better. And your sessions need to be well-paced, with adequate breaks to maintain attention and focus.
Digital whiteboards can help engage groups outside training sessions
Using a digital whiteboard can be a way to get trainees to engage with your training before it even begins as well as once it is over. While asynchronous learning is typically used to describe learning on your own within your own timeframe, it can be applied here too.
If the training you are delivering permits this, you can connect with workshop or course participants ahead of time. You can let them know that you will be using an online whiteboard during their training sessions and give them prompts for files, information, videos, and so on, that they might like to have ready access to. This will enable them to think about the training they will be undertaking, which should mean they are already engaging with it before it has even begun.
Any work that is done on the digital whiteboard during a training session can be easily saved, and remain accessible. This is obviously useful for anyone who was unable to attend a session, but it also means it can be shared with participants for their future reference. It can even be annotated after the workshop has finished, to illustrate a point or provide further information that may have not been relevant or possible at the time. Digital whiteboards are the gift that keeps on giving.
Digital whiteboards make it easier to engage groups during workshops
Research undertaken in 2021 looked at the impact of using a digital whiteboard on student engagement during online educational sessions. It found that ‘students enjoyed the dynamic, believe that the incorporation of a digital whiteboard contributed to understanding abstract concepts, and perceived the resource contributed for class engagement’. Digital whiteboards support multiple learning styles which means that everyone can feel supported and find the best ways to learn and retain information for them.
It can be difficult for groups that do not know each other well or that perhaps have become splintered due to hybrid or remote working practices during Covid to get and work together. Online collaboration tools give them the means to interact with each other and the course content in a secure and participative way. Trainees can actively process information through collaboration and interaction, and engage with the trainer and each other.
A centralized platform for information delivery helps reduce cognitive overload and any of the common distractions that come with having to switch between apps, media, and processes. All participants can have equal input, and this can help engage those trainees who might be more reticent to speak up or offer their opinions in a traditional group setting.
Use your digital whiteboard resources and create engaging training sessions
Make sure you have the best digital resources that are designed to help you increase engagement, whether you are teaching online, remotely, or on a hybrid basis. Using a digital whiteboard will help all trainees receive a lookalike experience.
It is also easier to create training sessions that are adapted to all methods of delivery instead of having to do twice as much work and adapt the training depending on the environment. These online whiteboards can be applied with success to both hard and soft skills and by using them in the right way, you can create training that easily applies to both skillsets. This saves you the time and effort of creating different training sessions according to whether you are teaching hard or soft skills.
Digital whiteboards help to create engaging, interactive, and effective learning environments that support the diverse needs of learners.
Here at Klaxoon we have all the tools and resources you could need to help you create engaging training sessions. Why not check out our resources page for more ideas?