Selecting the right technology that supports both learning and engagement in your virtual training sessions is essential. If you missed our last blog post on how we Tackle the Tech and the criteria for selecting the right tech tools, you can read it here.

Now on to The Learning Gym’s top tech tools.

JAMBOARD: is a free digital interactive whiteboard developed by Google to work with Google Workspace. This is one of our favourites, especially if you want to conduct a brainstorming activity. It allows people to share their thoughts just like in a face-to-face flip chart exercise, by allowing everyone to contribute to the “board” by inserting a sticky note.  

HOW WE USE IT:

Application example 1:

We often use Jamboard at the beginning of sessions to collect participant wishes – what they want to achieve from the training session. We  create a genie and a wish lamp for each of our participants with their names. Each participant can go to the “lamp sticky note” with their name and share their expectations and wishes for the program.  At the end of the session, we go back to check in with them on their  wishes being  fulfilled. If they have, they can delete their lamp sticky note, and we know that their expectations have been met. If not, we have a discussion to see what more the participant may need to fulfil their expectations.

Application example 2:

Another way to use Jamboard is in process training or modules.  In the simple example below, we show the “steps” to organising a dinner party. This tool can be used to depict the process of managing a customer service enquiry or the steps to facilitate hotel check-ins. The facilitator can create a footstep for each step of the process and get the participants to rearrange the steps to map out how they see the process working. It’s a very simple and easy tool to use in the virtual environment, with the advantage of having an “upload image” option.

OUR TAKE ON JAMBOARD

PADLET: is a real-time collaborative web platform in which users can write, upload, organise, and share content to virtual bulletin boards called “Padlets”. It is a wonderful way to keep learning alive (ongoing) after the actual session and can be used as a resource centre for participants to refer to. It can also be used before the program to enable participants to ask questions – the facilitator’s responses can then be viewed by all the participants invited to that Padlet.

HOW WE USE IT:

Application example 1:

We use Padlet as a learning repository and interactive resource centre. In the image below, we have 5 sessions each of which looks at 5 different activities that address a certain purpose in training. After each session, we upload an image of that activity and allow participants to use it as reference material, comment, or post questions on their application of the activity.  The advantage of this is that everyone has visibility and access, and we can collaborate on this live resource centre.

Application example 2:

Many programs offer certificates to celebrate the successful completion of a training. An engaging way to distribute these certificates in a virtual space, is to upload them, as shown below, in the form of gift boxes that each participant gets to open. An innovative and thoughtful way to create a ‘learner celebration’ activity.

OUR TAKE ON PADLET

CONCEPTBOARD: is a collaborative online e-whiteboard that helps get teams on the same page. It offers the power of real time visual collaboration, and we use it as a collaboration tool and whiteboard, when we have  workshops with more than 50 participants. It is, however, a tool that might require some technical training before participants are comfortable with it.

HOW WE USE IT: 

Application example 1:

We often use this tool to enable participants to get to know each other before a program. We share an empty Conceptboard (a virtual but endless white flip chart) and ask participants to create a short and fun visual introduction of who they are. This way, participants can get to know each other before the program, and they also have a safe way to experiment with the technology and troubleshoot before the program begins.

Application example 2:

For those who run world café activities, Conceptboard, Miro, and Mural are great tools to facilitate world café activities. In this example we have 4 teams, and each spends 10 minutes on 1 topic before rotating clockwise. Just like in an actual room where you might have a flip chart in each corner, we have those 4 flip charts on Conceptboard and participants can use sticky notes to write and share their contributions. Conceptboard, Miro and Mural are effective and powerful tools for larger groups wherein you need to brainstorm, collaborate, and create stakeholder analysis. There are multiple recourses available online that offer a competitive analysis of the 3 platforms, especially from a pricing perspective.

OUR TAKE ON CONCEPTBOARD

FLIPPITY:  is a free resource that allows you to gamify your sessions with the creation of quizzes, flash cards, presentations, memory games, word searches, and more.

Experience this tool first hand and try out the little scavenger hunt we created here.

HOW WE USE IT:

Application example 1:

Add a little fun to your sessions, boost participation and maybe even create a little friendly competition by adding some learning games.  Options include limited time Hangman, or a Randomizer that selects participants names against questions about the content. Spin the wheel and you’ve got a fun way to engage participants in a ‘review activity’.

Application example 2:

At TLG, we like to start our follow-on sessions with a review activity, using this Word Search game, to find the words from the previous session. This gives us a chance to ask participants to unmute and talk about how that word resonates with them.

OUR TAKE ON FLIPPITY

KAHOOT!: is a free, game-based learning platform, that makes it fun to learn – any subject, in any language, on any device.

HOW WE USE IT:

Application example:

We use the “delayed challenges” mode for reinforcement of learning between modules. For example, after completing a module, you can send participants a Kahoot challenge which they need to complete at least 24 hours before the next session.

OUR TAKE ON KAHOOT!

MENTIMETER: It is a versatile online tool which can add interactive elements through questions using multiple choice, word clouds, self-assessment, and ranking scales. It’s a great way to quickly gauge, through polling, what people think about a certain topic.

HOW WE USE IT:

Application example:

In the spirit of letting our learners drive their learning, we often get our participants to share what they already know about a specific topic/concept/model, before we share our take on it. The Mentimeter word cloud is a great way (as you can see below), to collect quick thoughts on what our participants know about a specific concept and what questions they may have about it.

OUR TAKE ON MENTIMETER

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