Talk:Training sessions across different geographic locations

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See the original thread of this E-Discussion on D-Groups

Alakh Asthana, 2009/02/04

Hi Folks!

We have to run 18 training sessions annually, now the problem is that my company has started a new location which is far away, but accessible by 'Video Conferencing'. Bandwidth is not a problem.

I did try running a session through Video Conferencing, however its not effective, presentations cant be run simultaneously, and theres no interaction.

I can understand these problems will always exist, however I beleive that there are few applications / tools / technologies that ease training sessions across geographies and are custom made for this purpose.

I would love to hear from you about these solutions!

Frey Faust, 2009/02/04

Dear Alakh,

Skype is a service that provides free communication to those with accounts. If skype is up and you make a call to another skype user, there can be both voice and image transfer. if the presenter drops his/her power point on a chat box, skype will allow large file downloads, then the presentation can run on the local computer as the speaker does his/her speech. Skype permits multiple chats and calls. Presentations can be sent via large file senders before the meeting as well.

go to for the free download

Sam Lanfranco, 2009/02/04


Technology will only go so far with your challenge here. Training sessions across distance run better if one starts the design from the other end of the process, the learning and the learner.

There are four ways to engage the learner across time and space: synchronous & local (face to face), asynchronous & local (homework!), synchronous & distant (tele/video conference) and asynchronous & distant (homework again!).

In most training/learning settings a good 80% of the activity takes place outside the local or distant real time mode. Access to training materials should recognize this and be available in advance of, in parallel to, and after the classroom or tele/video conferencing sessions. That should include learning materials, an online forum for learner-learner disucssion, and a feeback channel to the trainer.

Synchronous time is high cost time and should focus on high-value activities. It should not be spent just "presenting" or "taking individual's questions". The pedagogy of the training should make the asynchronous material the core of the learning exercise.

The learning process has the structure of an iceberg, with the synchronous part above water and the asynchronous part below the surface of the water. Training sessions frequently put too much of their planning and curricular resources into the "above water" synchronous sessions, and too little into the "below the surface" asynchronous part of learning. Also, a better balance can make up for technical difficulties during live sessions.

There is a different challenge, however, when the learners have little interest. They may prefer the emphasis on the "real time" training since there is no self-study (homework), and it takes less of their time, even if little is learned. That is a waste all around.

Cai Kjaer, 2009/02/04


I have a contact who has overcome this in - which I would consider - a pretty unique way. Greg Jenkins here in Sydney is offering courses in facilitation (the subject matter is not relevant as such in this context). He has a format which he calls Blended Learning, and the format is great for participants as well as the facilitator]. (scroll down to the section on the format about half way down the page).

I talked with Greg a couple of days ago and he was telling me about a recent program where he had people from multiple geographies and time-zones. I find the learning format very interesting and currently working on how to replicate this in my area of expertise.

Alakh Asthana, 2009/02/06

Hi Everyone!

The current call conferencing equipment that we use is 'PolyCom'; after few ineffective and cancelled sessions what i learned was.

1) Lighting: How 'Ctrl +C' and 'Ctrl +V' is regarded as one of the best features in MS Office, Lighting works for VC.

Something as small as adequete lighting will spoil your session. Ensure there is enough lighting on all locations.

2) Listening Skills: Equipment, no matter how loud and clear it is, will sound challenged. The mic needs to be in the middle of the classroom (for a batch of +- 25).

Inform the audience to participate more, or else they will be lost.

3) Camera: Position the camera is such a manner where eye contact is possible, no eye contact - no involvement Preferably, right below the projector screen.

I'm testing a software by Polycom, i'll shoot a review as I complete it.

Judith Henderson, 2009/02/04

I've just been researching this too - check out the KM4DEV website as there is a whole piece on some of the different applications such as elluminate and dimdim - which both seem quite good. WEBEX also seems to be ok. Depends also how much money you wish to spend.

HELIOS, Namibia.

Caitlin Bentley, 2009/02/04

Which videoconferencing application did you try out? Different applications provide different levels of interaction, and sometimes it's just the way that you set things up.

Also, what do you mean by presentations can't be run simultaneously? Within the same room?