In the last year, remote work environments have become more prominent than ever. With the latest technologies creating endless virtual learning possibilities (and COVID-19 encouraging social distancing), more and more companies across the globe are implementing remote L&D processes. Some did so out of necessity but many organizations have already realized the long-term advantages that remote learning can offer in terms of convenience, learner/employee engagement, and cost savings.
One of the most common strategies companies leverage for remote learning is the use of web and video conferencing tools such as Google Meet or Zoom, which are incredibly useful for connecting teams, but can present unique challenges or drawbacks if not optimally leveraged. To make sure your remote learning investment has maximum impact, it is imperative to make sure learners are aware of remote learning best practices and zoom etiquette.
Here are a few tips:
1. Follow a Dress Code.
It’s no secret that remote initiatives save costs for employees and employers when it comes to travel and office operations. One of the not-so-obvious benefits of remote learning in terms of reducing costs is the ability for employees to save money on having to invest in daily work attire or business clothing. However, as tempting as it may be to sport a hoodie or t-shirt when hopping on a call, it’s important to still look as presentable as possible, even via Zoom or Google Meet, in order to maintain professionalism and represent your organization for both internal and external meetings or seminars.
While a strict dress code may not be necessary, learners must be dressed similarly to the way they do during offline training sessions. By dressing in some form of business casual attire, an employee does not just show respect to other course participants but acquires the right state of mind for learning.
2. Consider the Background.
When using video, learners have to make sure the setting is appropriate for participating in collaborative learning activities. As beneficial as it may be to work from anywhere – from your living room to a coffee house or even outdoors (if you’ve got the WiFi connectivity), a loud or messy background can be distracting for you and other participants.
Even when the background is not directly interfering with learning, it can be distracting for other people who participate in the call. Zoom and other web conferencing tools allow you to blur backgrounds or upload a virtual background, which helps to hide the caller’s background setting. Always choose an appropriately neutral virtual background. Doing so will help remove any distractions from your camera view.
Finally, it is imperative to adjust the settings before the learning session, not in the middle of it. Tweaking the settings during a call can distract participants.
3. Look Into the Camera and at Other Attendees.
If your eLearning program is arranged in a virtual classroom and you have to participate in a discussion, make sure to look into the camera and keep a visible view of other attendees. Many inexperienced users look at their own image or other screens without acknowledging attendees. This can diminish opportunities to gauge initial feedback and reactions with learners on the call, and encourage questions or comments when appropriate. To show your involvement in the learning process, it is imperative to look into the camera and check on attendees as you would in a face-to-face setting.
4. Ensure Proper Lighting.
Even though video-conferencing technologies are relatively high-quality, they still cannot work without proper lighting. In order to ensure a clear video stream, avoid harsh lights or darkness.
Consider bringing an additional lamp and placing it near the monitor. The light must be in front of you. If you light up the background, it will just make it harder for others to see you. Another way to add more light is to move your laptop to the window.
5. Do a Test Run.
Before participating in an eLearning session, it is imperative to test your video platform and that your computer’s camera and microphone are working properly. Make sure mute, video filters, or other elements work with your software before, not during the call. Otherwise, you could find yourself in an embarrassing situation.
Professionals who have little experience with Zoom or eLearning platforms can benefit from reading short guides, which are always readily available. Ensure you know how to navigate and optimize your web conferencing tools to limit distraction or technical issues during virtual sessions and meetings.
6. Check Your Image.
While it is good etiquette to look at the camera while participating in a discussion, learners should not ignore their image completely.
During video eLearning sessions, it is often easy to forget that other people are looking at you. Even the most experienced professionals can drop their guard and start doing something they would not do in an offline environment (scratching, yawning, etc.). Users can often forget to turn their camera or mute on or off at a given time, which is crucial to ensure when working remotely. By checking your image occasionally, it is possible to stay focused and show respect to other participants.
7. Use Instant Messages.
If you have questions or comments but do not want to interrupt the speaker, consider using the chat to send messages that can be addressed afterwards. The speaker can check the message window when there is time and answer questions accordingly. This is a great way to sneak in participation where possible and encourage dialog during seminars or trainings.
Consider writing notes and questions in the chat window without pressing the “send” button. By the time the lesson ends, you may already have your answers. If not, you can always send them later.
Pro tip: Hit the mute button when you are typing something. Typing sounds are especially loud and distracting.
8. Consider Eliminating Video.
In some cases, it’s fair to ask: is video necessary for your eLearning session? If not, consider turning it off. No matter how good the internet connection is, videos take up a lot of bandwidth. If you do not need to show anything to the course participants, eliminate the video altogether or encourage users to only share video when speaking.
9. Know How to Leave.
While it is important to be present for the entire lesson, issues may arise. If you need to leave a live eLearning course or seminar mid-session, do it appropriately:
- Turn off the sound
- Turn off the video
- Notify other attendees in the chat that you need to leave
Such actions show your professionalism and do not interfere with the learning process.
10. Always Be On Time.
While punctuality goes without saying, being on time for a Zoom lesson doesn’t just involve showing up at a certain time.
You need to come to the computer at least five minutes before your meeting starts in order to leave time in advance to adjust all the necessary settings. Otherwise, you could start the call by breaking several etiquette rules simultaneously.
In 2020, remote learning went from being a nice-to-have option to a necessity. Millions of people around the world are learning how to get the most out of the new online opportunities.
By implementing best eLearning practices and Google Meet or Zoom etiquette, it is possible to take full advantage of the remote learning process while being respectful to others.
For more information about optimizing your remote eLearning process, please contact us or request an individual demonstration of our fully-managed LMS solutions below.