How to use smartphones effectively in online workshops

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How to use smartphones effectively in online workshops

The use of mobile learning has been taking center stage over the past few years. It’s a learning format that makes training, both inside the workshop and remotely, highly flexible. They are becoming indispensable on the training floor. 

But now, amidst COVID-19, when most of the training sessions and workshops have moved online, these smartphones have become all the more important. 

Without the physical connection between the trainer and the audience, smartphones, and their variety of apps, allow  trainers to engage with their audiences in a more efficient and productive manner. 

In this article we show how using personal devices is the way forward, and offer practical tips for incorporating them into your sessions. 

According to recent research by Statista, the number of smartphone users worldwide will surpass 3.8 billion in 2021. By 2021, they have estimated that over one-third of consumers worldwide will be using smartphones, both for professional and personal use, and this number is expected to continue to rise. 

Integrating smartphones into your training session is not just trendy, in the future of online workshop training it will become more and more essential. 

In this article, we will explore how to incorporate smartphones into your training sessions. Whether through learning apps or videos searches, phones will be key to training. 

There are many online platforms such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Microsoft Teams, which have emerged as great online platforms to host workshops, training sessions, meetings and hangouts, to help bring people get together while we all try to stay safe at home. 

Learning Apps

Learning Apps

Smartphones allow attendees to easily get involved with the learning material through apps that can be used to share content and information with attendees.

From creating lesson plans to communicating with attendees before or after a virtual workshop, these apps can help trainers utilize smartphones effectively in their workshops. 

Curious about which apps to start with? 

Here are our top six suggestions:

  • Pocket: The Pocket app allows trainers to save and, more importantly, share articles, videos, and other online content that is relevant to their workshop.
     

  • Udemy: This app allows trainers to easily build MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) for their workshops, which can be used before or after the workshop.
     

  • Educreations: Educreations is a simple course content creation tool for use on iPads. The whiteboards are not optimized for real-time, but the app does allow you to create and record sessions, videos, and images that can then be shared with attendees.
     

  • Blackboard: This all-inclusive app allows trainers to manage their courses and workshops with a customizable open architecture. From calendars to learning modules to chatrooms, this app is extensive and can be used in a lot of different ways. 
     

  • Skillpill: This app allows trainers to create bite-sized training videos that can easily be shared with attendees.
     

  • Articulate Storyline 2: This authoring tool is incredibly easy to use. It helps trainers create and share interactive, multimedia content quickly.

Apart from the variety of learning apps available to trainers, there are a multitude of ways you can use smartphones in your workshop with tools that you and your attendees are already accustomed to using. 

From silent discussion to short films, using smartphones in workshop sessions adds a new level of connectivity between trainers and attendees. 

See our list below for more ideas and practical tools you can use in your virtual workshop. 

Share and discuss ideas

Share and discuss ideas

There are a variety of apps available, like Google drive or Polleverywhere, which can help you share and discuss ideas with the workshop attendees. Whether you want to give them a prompt and have them brainstorm on it, or whether you want to create a poll to get the audience’s views on a certain topic, there are applications to help you do all that.

    • Get to know your attendees by having them complete a Google Form, you can assess how much they know about the topic prior to the workshop so that you can customize the session to the needs of the group. 

    • Have attendees assess their peers’ ideas by collaborating on a Google Doc or Sheet. Allow them to view real-time constructive criticism. Afterwards, polish up the spreadsheet or document and share with attendees on the big screen.

  • After the session you can easily allow the attendees to assess and offer feedback on the session through a simple Google Form.

  • Have a “silent discussion”, that is, a live chat in which all classroom participants can take part via Todaysmeet.com or Twitter.  Use a Twitter hashtag to augment the in-class lesson or extend the conversation after class.

  • Many trainers tend to distribute the material at the beginning or at the end of their workshop. Instead of photocopying many sheets of paper and handing them out, trainers can use their smartphones to easily share documents. Write and share with all participants via apps such as My Writing SpotEvernote, or Google Drive.

Utilize video

Utilize video

Videos are a great way to keep attendees engaged throughout a workshop. You can even create an introduction video of yourself and send it out to all attendees prior to the workshop so that they can familiarize themselves with you. If used correctly, videos can greatly enhance the overall experience of your audience.

  • Create videos: videos can be used by participants to record discussions or breakout sessions that can later be referenced either in the workshop itself or at a later date. Lean on Videolicious to easily create short, high-quality videos.

  • Watch relevant material: ask the attendees to share links during the workshop and show relevant videos within just a few seconds. This is invaluable for making connections. For instance, when an attendee poses the question, “Have you seen the video that….?” Being able to see and share the video solidifies the connection. 

  • Augment content with great videos: share great material from Vimeo or YouTube. You can always show shortened clips instead of the whole video by using a service like TubeChop.
     

Add audio elements

Audio elements

Audio elements include any type of audio recording elements, whether that be a recording of a presentation or a podcast. Adding audio elements can bring your workshop to life, and if activities are designed in the right way, then attendees can also make use of the audio elements available on their own smartphones to create an overall enhanced workshop experience for themselves. 

  • Smartphones provide attendees with the ability to record explanations or sections of the session. These recordings can be referred to later on and can save a great deal of time compared with writing.

  • Add audio and explanations to pictures and invite comments with Audioboo. Think of it as the speaking version of Twitter. The app is excellent for interviewing, reporting, and documenting.

  • Have attendees listen to related podcasts before or after the workshop. You can create and share your own podcasts with SoundCloud, or send attendees a simple voice recording via email. 

Photos

Photos

Visuals tend to increase attendee concentration for any workshop or presentation, as it makes it easier for attendees to grasp certain ideas and concepts when visuals are included in the mix. So it is always a great idea to add photos and visuals as part of your workshop. 

  • In many cases, attendees find it easier to understand the material when there is a correlating image. A simple and effective activity can be to have the attendees quick search and share an image from their personal device that relates to the content.

  • Take photos: smartphones can be used as cameras to illustrate work and presentations. Photos from the workshop can be great for referencing the session at a later date and can help attendees remember the content effectively.

  • Have attendees create an informative collage of pictures that address a particular area of concentration. PicCollage can be used to quickly create great collaborative images right on the attendee’s smartphone. 

Lastly, don’t forget that a smartphone is an amazing tool for all kinds of practical needs. You can use the Stopwatch/Timer/Clock to manage workshop session times (and there is even an app for a realistic-looking sand timer!. 

Also, the Dictionary/Thesaurus/Translator apps can help you get creative with your word usage in the sessions, while an app like Google Voice Translate can instantly break down language barriers.

There are dozens of clever ways to integrate smartphones with training sessions. Do you already use smartphones or personal devices in your workshops? What has been most effective for you? We’d love to hear your opinions and advice. Feel free to contact us at any time.

Find out more about being listed as a trainer on SpeakerHub here

An earlier version of this post was written by Esther Snippe featured on SpeakerHub on 19 April 2016. See the original article here.

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