Lots of things happen over the two days you are training. There’s team fun in the breakout rooms, there are exercises and discussions, and learning through the real-life experiences of the trainer and from the experiences of others on the course.
There are also frequent breaks so you don’t get tired looking at a screen all day.
This is Not an Online Meeting
I know, after that online meeting you feel drained, exhausted and need a break from your computer just to recover. So how can you sit in an online class for 2 whole days?
Well here’s the trick. It’s not one of those meetings. It doesn’t work that way. Experience has shown that online courses where you are actively involved, combined with frequent breaks, allows your brain to look forward to each learning session.
On a DragonsArm course, you will have a 10-minute break every single hour. That means you get away from your computer, go make a coffee or tea, do some physical exercise, or just walk around for a bit.
Over time with continual improvement from feedback, we have found this to be best for everyone. It relieves that strain that you may have experienced in those long boring online meetings and people can concentrate much better.
This is a screen dump of an actual class. We didn’t show faces, of course, I replaced the actual people with simple images to ensure privacy, but apart from real people, that screen will be what your screen will look like. You can see and interact with the trainer and all the other people on the course.
Everyone will have their video turned on, that’s a requirement, and you can interact with everyone in the same room just like in a physical class.
Teamwork and Breakout Rooms
During the course itself there are a number of things that happen. While you do meet and interact with the whole class, you also frequently go into what is called a “Breakout Room” for simple and fun exercises with your group. A breakout room is just like the main class but with only your team.
Here you will join 3-4 others who are also on this course. This will be your team and you will get to know them well over the length of the course. You will work using simple online tools to perform such things as using online sticky-notes, discussions, and working through a case study. These tools are very simple team collaboration tools that allow you to see all of the changes even when they are made by other team members.
In most of the training courses, you will build up a fictional project as the lessons progress giving you invaluable experience in these new ideas.
Throughout, you will also have a chance to learn from the trainer as well as the experiences of your team members and all of the others on the course.
Occasionally, when you are with your team in the breakout room, you might see your trainer drop by just to make sure that you are on the right track. Most of the time however your trainer will leave you to it as they know that the conversation changes when teams think they are being watched, and those conversations are often where the real learning happens.
Your trainer will be monitoring the work that your team produces due to the collaboration tools that you will use, and there is an icon to call for assistance at any time which will let your trainer know that you have a question and they will join you in that room to help.
What do I need?
You will need a computer of course. That is an actual computer as unfortunately you will not be able to join in the teamwork and complete some of the course requirements if all you have is a phone or tablet. You will need video on with your face clearly able to be seen at all times and a working microphone so that you can join in the teamwork.
You will also need to ensure that you can access Zoom and Google Docs. Some work environments restrict access to google docs so you will need to test this. I can send you a link to test this if you ask.
You will need to have a quiet space where you can concentrate, or at least the permission from those who might share your environment to allow you that concentration.
If you do not have these items available, then very sadly you will be unable to join the course.
But, what if …
Your trainer will outline some simple rules at the start of the course. Some of these rules are non-negotiable like having the video on with your face clearly able to be seen at all times. Other rules are fairly relaxed so that you have a fun and stress-free learning experience.
The trainer loves being interrupted for questions as this shows that you are learning. They will facilitate this to ensure that lessons are relevant and we don’t go off track. Pressing and holding down the space bar turns off mute so interrupting is encouraged as this is all about you and not the trainer.
Sometimes you might need to answer the door, chase after a child who has grabbed your permanent marker, pour another coffee or tea, go to the bathroom, or even take an important phone call if necessary. All this is understandable and the rest of the class can cope with you being away for a couple of minutes if there is a real need.
It does become obvious to everyone if you are answering emails during the course or spending too much time on the phone. We only ask that you plan and recognize that you are, after all, on a course and not at work. It is in the conversations and in using the new ideas and tools that you will learn the most.