How to have a successful virtual session with an outside facilitator

The global pandemic COVID-19 has enlightened us to new and alternative teaching and learning methods. Although the world of video conferencing and virtual meetings has been around for a while, it is being used now more than ever, especially in classrooms around the world. The number of MAD-learn virtual app workshops during this period has increased greatly and has taught us so much about how teachers and students can have seamless and successful virtual sessions with an external facilitator. We hope you find these tips useful.

1.Test the virtual platform by logging all students in prior to the session. Preparing ahead of time is always a good idea. Ensure that all your students are able to log in properly. This way, they will know exactly what to do on the actual day of the session.

2. Encourage student participation by motivating them to ask questions either by using their microphone or using the chat feature. The more students participate, the more engaged they will be. This will also help both the teacher and external facilitator to gauge their level of understanding of the subject. 

3. Encourage students to turn on their videos if possible, and help them use proper lighting, minimal distractions, etc. Just like in the non-virtual environment, face-to-face interactions are vital in communicating effectively. This will also help teachers to ensure that their students are not being unnecessarily distracted.

4. Assist the facilitator by helping students who may have challenges or questions during the session. In our app sessions, we observed that teachers who pay attention to the facilitator are able to assist in answering questions students may have in the chatbox while the facilitator continues to teach. This way, the time allocated for the session is maximized and most fruitful.

5. Ask students questions periodically to verify that students are paying attention. As you do this, students will be more willing to respond to your questions and vocalize any challenges they may be facing.

6. Ask your own questions, too! Students might either not be willing to or not think of something to ask; however, your questions are likely to give them the confidence to ask questions of their own and may even help them tackle any challenges.

Working as a team is key. When teachers, students, and external facilitators do their part, virtual sessions run smoothly and the time is used efficiently.


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