Length and timing of sessions
1. Have shorter sessions and more of them. Think along the lines of 45-90 minutes per session initially and – once you’ve had your first couple of sessions – adjust to what works best for you!
2. Allow time for everybody to get on the call. This can take its time! You can also ask people to sign in 10 minutes early to make up for this ‘lost’ time.
3. Rather than diving straight into content, allow time for checking in with everybody and getting participants comfortable. This is even more important online because your participants are missing out on the ‘waiting outside’ and break times which they would usually have to ease into the situation and get to know each other informally. See content on Doing Better than ‘How Are You?’ (in the Understanding What’s Different section) for initial ideas.
4. Be aware when planning how much time will be you/another facilitator speaking. Minimise this to the absolute minimum and alternate voices as much as possible.
5. Just as you’re mindful of the time participants spend listening to the same voice, consider how much time they spend looking at the same ‘thing’: Alternate plenum (i.e. tiles of all participants’ faces) with screen sharing (e.g. videos!), breakout groups and time away from the screen.
6. In comparison to ‘normal’ i.e. face-to-face training, it is likely that it will take less time to present the content but that activities will take longer. Again this depends on you and your group!
7. It is even more important to tell participants how much time they have for each task and do reminders, particularly when working with breakout rooms!