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Tactics for Virtual Learning Impact | Cindy Huggett, CPTD

What’s changed about virtual learning over the past few years, and what hasn’t? What do we need to know NOW to make it relevant and important?

In this episode of #ThoughtLeaderConversations, Roger Courville chats with Cindy Huggett, CPTD about virtual learning facilitation and what it takes to get beyond the expected to the exceptional.

Cindy Huggett leading industry expert known for teaching thousands of training professionals how to design and deliver practical, engaging interactive online classes to today’s global workforce through workshops, speaking, and consulting.

Cindy partners with organizations to upskill facilitators, maximize online learning design, and facilitate actionable learning solutions that meet today’s needs and leverage tomorrow’s technologies.

Cindy has written several acclaimed books on virtual training, including The Facilitator’s Guide to Immersive, Blended, and Hybrid Learning, Virtual Training Tools and Templates: An Action Guide to Live Online Learning, and The Virtual Training Guidebook: How to Design, Deliver, and Implement Live Online Learning.

Learn more about Cindy at


Series: #ThoughtLeaderConversations   Sponsor: V2, LLC, expert virtual and hybrid event production,   Host: Roger Courville, CSP,   

Keywords:   #virtualtraining #virtualfacilitation #presentationskills


Unedited transcript

[00:00:00] Roger Courville, CSP: What has changed about virtual learning over the past few years? And what hasn't? And what do you need to know now that makes it relevant and important?

Well, hello and welcome. Today, we're talking about tactics for virtual learning impact. And my name is Roger Courville. I'm the head of strategy here at Virtual Venues, which is the crew with a whole lot of experience, helping you just get the most out of virtual and hybrid events putting the production on us and letting you focus on something else other than tech. But today, we're not here to talk about us. And I'm welcomed to this. I'm welcoming to this virtual stage, Cindy Huggett, who is one of those rare people who actually goes back in this business as far as I do. And that is a good long way, a pioneer, a real, I mean, truly a pioneer in the field of online learning, more than 20 years of experience with virtual training solutions and more than 30 in talent development.

A known leading expert teaching thousands and thousands of training professionals how to design and deliver practical, engaging, interactive, not boring, like those other things that you've seen classes. To frankly, a global workforce, and of course she does this through workshops and speaking and consulting.

She's written more books than I think I can count. Uh, the one that you see on the screen, Designing Virtual Learning for Application and Impact, she was the lead contributor author on. But, there's a couple others that are really good. popular, particularly her virtual training tools and templates, I think is one of her, her perennial favorites.

She's written a whole bunch. You can find her 2Gs, 2Ts on Amazon. Welcome, Cindy Huggett. I'm so glad that you are joining us today.

[00:01:47] Cindy Huggett, CPTD: Roger, it is great to be here. You and I go a long ways back and I think we could talk about virtual training and learning and how it has impact for a long time.

[00:02:00] Roger Courville, CSP: It has been, but Rather than just think retrospectively, though, we will get to a little bit of that.

Let's start now and maybe even before we're done here, you know, talk about what's new, but along the way, I mean, seriously, we both been in this now countable in decades. What's the biggest change that you've seen? And maybe where are organizations still leaving money on the table when it comes to virtual training and virtual learning?

[00:02:25] Cindy Huggett, CPTD: Oh, it's such a great question, Roger. And when you think of it, in 2020, most organizations, if they weren't doing virtual learning, all of a sudden were. And so this quick, rapid pivot and shift to all things virtual. And the pendulum is now shifting and changing back as many organizations are returning to the office.

Thank you. And they're trying to figure out, well, what do we do about virtual now? The programs that we converted, are they getting the results that we're looking for? Or are we just spinning our wheels and wasting resources? Should we bring them back into the in person classroom? Or do some mixture, some hybrid type of learning?

It used to be that somebody's first thought in a learning department or organization was let's do this in person and maybe think about virtual. Now the first thought is, all right, it's virtual when maybe that's not the best decision. And so I'm working with organizations right now and coaching and consulting on strategy around what should stay virtual.

What belongs in person? Where's the mix? What should hybrid be? And I think the organizations who are grappling with this right now, working through it, making those decisions are in the right place. And the ones that aren't, if you're not going back and looking at, well, we changed that program really quick, but is it still serving what we need it to serve?

That's a place that they're missing out on. So I. I think all organizations should be looking and asking those questions. What should be virtual, what belongs in person, what should be hybrid and what's the right mix?

[00:04:11] Roger Courville, CSP: Yeah. In fact, let's, let's talk about hybrid for a bit because I'm curious. about how you define it.


[00:04:21] Cindy Huggett, CPTD: Isn't that the almost trillion dollar question when we say hybrid and what I've found I've done some research As you may know, I do a survey every year asking global professionals. Hey, what are you doing? And In 2022, I asked the question about hybrid and I realized not everyone has that same definition.

And so in my study, in my research, at the university or K through 12 educational level, we have the definition of hybrid being a mix of synchronous and asynchronous, that in person, Whether it's online or truly in person and self directed like a college course, right? You meet together with the professor once a week.

You do your work on your own. But in the workplace, when we talk about hybrid, hybrid is very distinctly. A synchronous event. It's a facilitated event, but some people are in the classroom, in person, some people are online. So when I say hybrid learning, I'm using the workplace definition of it. That we have an event that's facilitated, you have some people who are together, some people are remote.

Now, Roger, can I get in the weeds for just a moment? Bring

[00:05:34] Roger Courville, CSP: it. Let's talk about tactics and how we help people.

[00:05:37] Cindy Huggett, CPTD: Yeah, you, you say, all right, hybrid. It's that some people are onsite, some people are offsite, but it's just not that simple. You have that traditional hybrid where most people are together and a few people are joining remote.

But it could be exactly the opposite. It could be almost everyone's remote, but a couple of people are in the office that day, so they'll get together in a conference room or, or join. Then you have the kind of multi site hybrid where you have a group of people in an office in New York, they're in a conference room, and then a group in Chicago, and then a group in San Francisco in a group in Tokyo and these groups of people are connected together by a virtual room.

That's a version of hybrid. And then we need to ask, well, what about the facilitator? Like what if everyone's in the conference room, but the trainer is somewhere else? So there's all different. Types of hybrid learning that all fall under that umbrella of it's a facilitated event. So organizations, if you say, hey, we're going to do hybrid learning, what do you mean by that?

That's the first place to start and start defining, OK, this is what we mean by it.

[00:06:54] Roger Courville, CSP: That's why I asked the question, really for two reasons, one, because I mean, I think, you know, I'm working on my doctorate and oftentimes higher ed's version, like you pointed out, their version of digital learning is, well, you can submit an assignment online.

What are you talking about? Right? But corporates is, is synchronous. Albeit with some kind of mix, there's a second reason, which is for me, because putting on our, and to me, this is really where strategy and design and tactics intersect. You can't really get to tactics to me until you design for the known environment.

And to your point about, say, the different forms of synchronous hybrid that you just pointed out, I actually take it. Uh, come from a different angle, but we end up in probably a similar place, which is to ask about each participant's relationship to their computer, whether it's the facilitator or those people in a conference room or whatever, because You know, if I'm going to think about design or redesign, what am I going to do, vote in a poll and there's one, one computer in a room that represents eight people.

Is that, is that a useful, you know, right? So I have to go back and, and I have to understand each person's relationship to, to the tools so that then I can know which tools I'm going to use or deploy or redeploy or, or something like that. So,

[00:08:29] Cindy Huggett, CPTD: Yeah, I'm glad you brought that up because one of the things I've been doing and my partnership with organizations is helping them figure out hybrid and there's really when you think of trying to prepare for an in person class, you're thinking through the design, the content that when you're trying to design for an all virtual class, you're thinking about the polling, the whiteboarding, the do we have the links is all of that set up.

But for a hybrid class, a hybrid experience, you have to think about the people experience. It's not that the content's not important, it's not that the tech isn't important, but you're thinking about those learners, whether they're on site or off site, what kind of experience are they going to have? And my recommendation, which is slightly different from perhaps some others, but my recommendation is that Every single person in that hybrid learning experience has a device.

So even if they're coming into a conference room with 10 other people that they bring their mobile device, their tablet, their laptop, and again, thinking about that relationship. You obviously only want one audio connection in that room. So you're going to have people join into your virtual tool, your Zoom, Webex, Adobe Connect, Mural, Miro, right?

We could name a million of them these days. Um, but each person has access to it that starts to create the equitable experience. Everybody can answer a poll question or can collaborate on a whiteboard or other tools that that are available. And we can keep talking about those tactics. But before we do, the question that probably either you're thinking or somebody listening to this later is thinking is, wait a minute, what about those hybrid room setups?

Most vendors have a kit that can be set up in a conference room and it's the hybrid classroom. It still doesn't take the place of each person having access to a device. Those rooms are great. I highly recommend them if you're going to do hybrid learning. But let's give each person the same tools so that we can start designing and getting to a learning experience that's somewhat equal or more equal than it would be otherwise.


[00:10:50] Roger Courville, CSP: In fact, I'll even, I'm just going to get in somebody's business right now. If you think about the nature of facilitation, it's one thing to facilitate in person. It's another thing to facilitate when everybody's online having the same experience, but when you have different audiences having different psychosocial experiences, you just ratchet up.

And I don't mean double. I mean, you ratchet up the. The, uh, the requirement for what it's, what it's going to lay on the shoulders of the facilitator, and that is often then how we end up, um, degrading to a lower common denominator because they either don't have the skill or they don't want to put in the time or something like, I mean, it's not, It's not easier.

It's harder to facilitate in a hybrid context, unless you are really tightly, the facilitator and design is really tightly integrated and therefore, um, know what's going to happen and how I'm going to help. Because if I'm going to. I don't want to connect to, I want to connect through, right? That's exactly what you said before about helping people have an experience.

And if I'm going to connect through, I got to know what each person's experience is going to be on the other side, right? Which is one person sitting at their computer with a big old monitor. Somebody else is sitting in a conference room and they're also holding their mobile device. Whatever that is, I've got to be able to direct traffic because I figure I'm the, I'm the attention director.

And so. That, that puts something extra on somebody's shoulders. I'm, I'm curious if you, well, I won't put you on the spot. I'll take the heat for getting somebody's business going. You can put me on the spot. Putting hybrid, defaulting to hybrid because we can have some training, but we're going to include the people in that office over there usually worsens the experience unless you're on top of your strategy game.

[00:12:59] Cindy Huggett, CPTD: I agree with you, Roger, where we see that happen is you've planned for an in person program, but, oh, wait a minute. Can you accommodate so and so? Because they're not in the office today. And it's a last minute type of thing where the planning didn't take place. And Roger, I reached behind me because I actually.

If you can see that on the camera, I, uh, released this book that goes along with what you were just saying, Roger, uh, the facilitator's guide to immersive blended and hybrid learning, and you are spot on when you say the burden on the facilitator to connect. What was your phrase? Through not to, that's a brilliant phrase by the way.

Uh, but that ability for the facilitator, so let's, let's give them the tech support they need. It's a whole lot easier to facilitate when everyone has the technology that's needed. Now we've got the facilitation skill. How do you connect with an audience? are not all in the same location, don't all have that same experience.

So number one, it's very rarely a solo thing. We use producers and moderators for virtual events. We need to use them for hybrid events as well, so that you have another person to help with the technology, with the setup, with, uh, with those things. And then, um, in my workshop, I do a workshop on how to facilitate hybrid learning.

It is by far been one of my most popular workshops over the last year or so, uh, where we teach facilitators things like where do you look in the camera? Who are you speaking to when you're asking a question? And it gets tricky if you have a camera that's a 361 or you have multiple cameras in the room, but we're we're helping the facilitator have a remote first mindset, drawing the remote audience in, show that they feel like they're in the room and then managing the discussion so that if two people at the conference table turn and start talking to each other, cause you know, that always happens.

What do you do as a facilitator to help eliminate The conversations that, uh, the outside, the remote audience feels excluded and part of it's in the way we set up the program or set up the class in how we manage the discussion and how we phrase the questions in how we assign buddies, um, assigning remote buddies is one of my, uh, go to strategies when I'm facilitating a hybrid class where I'll take Each remote participant and pair them up with somebody in the room so that they can have a conversation if needed, you know, remote person one says to their buddy, I didn't hear that.

Or, or what was that, or when we split into breakouts that that remote participant goes with their buddy to whatever location and on and on and on. It's just so helpful. So back to your point, Roger, the facilitator. skill. And I think that's where organizations in many cases are falling short. They're not upskilling facilitators in hybrid facilitation skills.

You build on the virtual skills we've been using for the past several years.

[00:16:21] Roger Courville, CSP: Well, I mean, one of the reasons I decided I was going to focus on skills as opposed to tools long ago is for, for that very reason, because one of our challenges, well, it's my language, you're welcome to take it and adopt it, is the problem isn't connecting to, that's what I mean by that.

It's the problem isn't connecting to. It's connecting through and I'm sure you've seen the same, but over the years, you know, lots of people come in and go, Hey, we need help with virtual presentation skills and they think they need help with Webex when, when they, when they just haven't made it up to that next level on, on, I don't know, Maslow's hierarchy or something, but, but I think one of the, you, you pointed out the right thing, which even before, which is early in this conversation, To me, the right thing is to go, what should be in person versus what should be all virtual versus what can effectively be hybrid and more importantly, or ultimately, are we getting the results that we want?

Sometimes I think of that in terms of trade offs too, right? Because sometimes, sometimes we make a trade off because, you know, this isn't the ideal solution, but we can do it three times as much. And therefore, You know, maximizes our budget and you're making some kind of a trade off, but you don't know what that is until you kind of figure out what the pieces

[00:17:45] Cindy Huggett, CPTD: are.

Yeah. And, and Roger, I think a layer on top of that is if you can avoid doing hybrid, don't do it. Don't. If you... Hallelujah!

Preach it, sister!

[00:18:02] Roger Courville, CSP: Preach it, sister! Hallelujah!

[00:18:06] Cindy Huggett, CPTD: Okay, keep going. I love it, right? And, and, and I've, I've even, I've written that in the, like the, the caveat, like, but if you have to do it, here's how you do it well, but if you can avoid it, think about it. Let's say you've got whatever program it is, sales negotiations, uh, you know, 101.

Offer an in person version of it for those who are in the office and offer a virtual version of it for those who are remote, like create duplicate versions and filter your audience there, or if you're like, I don't have the resources or organization can't support two versions of the same program, then go all remote.

The tools today available in our virtual classrooms far exceed what we can do in person. And yes, there's always exceptions. There's always times where we need to bring people together for ABC reason. Great, do it that way. But for many programs, even programs you don't think we could do virtually, we can do them virtually.

It just takes a skilled designer and an effective facilitator. So first choice is Don't do it if you don't have to. But then if you have to, you can do it well.

[00:19:20] Roger Courville, CSP: I just, I'll share this and then I'm going to ask you some more questions, but I was working with the instructional design team or got invited to work with the instructional design team of a very large company and all of their trainers who were now, now working virtually weren't getting what they wanted or needed out of the instructional design team, sizable team, every one of them with a master's degree in instructional design or education, right?

So we all. get together in person because they're bringing together and they're trying to, they're trying to close some relational gaps in the organization. So everybody's in person. And so I designed an exercise where, where I asked them to do a very typical in person kind of exercise. Okay, everybody stand up, go line yourself up against the wall.

according to your birth date from January 1 to December 31st. And I had them do a number of other things, including count off. And then I said, I made them go back to their table, wherever they were sitting, pick up their stuff, go to the tables where they'd broken, you know, where, okay, you're the ones and you're the twos, all very in person kind of stuff.

And they're like, what the hell's going on? What's this got to do with remote or virtual training? And I'm like, all right, take that. and adapt it for online, right? So at first, of course, you could just hear everybody crap their pants. Um, but what you get to is that I might have the same, I have the same learning objective, but I might need to redesign or adapt.

In terms of how I get there, meaning there's more than one way to build rapport or whatever you're trying to accomplish when you line people up against the wall by birth date or whatever. And, um, it was just one of my favorite experiences because the look on their faces, this was some years ago, the look on their faces was like, Oh.

[00:21:11] Cindy Huggett, CPTD: Roger, I love it. I've done the exact same thing. Literally. Birthday, lineup, pair up, partner up, go for it. I took one group, we were in a hotel and I said, with your partner, go walk around the lobby and then come back. And I had them figure that out of, well, how would you do that virtually? And they did. You can, you can do.

Oh, you and I are so in alignment on that one. Love it.

[00:21:39] Roger Courville, CSP: So in many ways, let's get down to some tactics in it. We can presume, I think, reasonably well that in 2023 people have touched virtual, right? Whether they feel like their master's at it or not, uh, is probably a different story. And probably most people have a high degree of comfort and facility because for a while we lived in, you know, virtual meetings, but what's that next few tactics.

That, you know, touchdown for people when I'm facilitating, let's talk about maybe the synchronous time. What are those next few tactics or engagement tools that that you like that get people beyond push a pole or whatever, whatever thing they might begin

[00:22:27] Cindy Huggett, CPTD: with? Yeah. Oh, Roger, we could talk about this for probably the next three hours.

So let's boil it down to a couple of really practical things. Number one, I find with the facilitators I work with, many of them think they are experts in virtual facilitation and don't realize some of the simple things that they're either not doing, or they've never realized they can do, or they've pushed this.

Uh, and so part of it is those of you listening, if you've been facilitating for a long time and you have not gotten feedback on your facilitation from an expert, I would 110 percent recommend it. Everything from how are you showing up on camera? How are you connecting with your audiences? Those, those things that we seemingly think, Roger I work with so many groups and I'll ask a simple question like, who's using an external headset?

And less than half of the people raise their hand, right? And like simple, basic, little things that, that, are what we think of as 101, but just aren't standard yet. So that's one place that I would look. The other thing is, so many facilitators that I work with, say, I'm creating an engaging environment. I'm, I'm, I'm connecting with the audience.

And then they proceed to lecture for 15 minutes straight because they don't see their audience or their audience cameras aren't on or they're not comfortable or just whatever reason. And so going back to the really exceptionally practical thing of, are we setting expectations with the audience? Are you sending them a message in advance or using the communication tools or starting off at the very beginning?

By putting a learner first mentality, and then the simple thing, Roger, like, who's introducing themselves first, you or your audience? And if the answer is you, the facilitator, you don't have a learner first mentality. It should very practically be, hey everybody, welcome, I'm Cindy, who's here? Let's go to chat and introduce, or let's pop into breakouts, meet two other people.

Like, you can do a breakout in the first five minutes of a class. You don't have to wait until... 30 minutes in to to start creating those social connections, or maybe it is a poll question, but a poll question with the what's your experience with the topic? What's your question? What's your something that's tied to it right off the bat?

Let's get our audience involved and then continue it. It is learner first mentality from the start. As much as we like to say we need good presentation skills, and we do, we need good facilitation skills. We are there to enable our audience to learn, to practice, to get a new skill, uh, and so, I, I mean, let's just think of it.

You've got a slide with content on it. So many facilitators default to let me read this slide or let me talk about what's on this slide. When We can let our audience read that slide and ask them a question like, Hey, what stands out to you? Grab your marker or type in chat or raise your hand or look, Hey, here's a numbered list, five items.

Which of these is the most challenging in your environment? Like we default to teaching and we should be facilitating. And I think so many people think they're doing it, but if they play back. a recording or somebody was watching. I don't recommend you record really interactive virtual training programs, but if you were to watch back a recording, where's the balance of the conversation?

Is it on you or is it on them? Yeah, we could keep going, but let me pause. You're nodding your head, right? You and I are on the same page. Oh, totally.

[00:26:29] Roger Courville, CSP: I'm again, we could trade stories, but. Yeah, I mean, when the pandemic hit, you know, a client comes and they've got a three day in person seminar in, you know, healthcare, continuing medical ed.

And of course, like a lot of people, they're like, we're absolutely sunk if we don't figure out how to do this, right? So fairly late adopters in the problem thinking, oh, three day seminar, our audience is doctors. There's no way we could pull this off online. And interestingly, I remember one of the very first recommendations was get to a breakout as fast as you can.

And, uh, they didn't do it the first time. The second time it was like 10 minutes or something. Next thing you know, people are going seriously now that it's like they're not 10 minutes in to a three day seminar before everybody's off in breakouts, picking team names and, you know, various other, various other things.

But I think if there is an underlying thing, uh, even if you may or may not express it the same way to me, if there is an underlying thing, we have a cultural. impetus to overcome, which is the paradigm. This is going to be like a webinar and I'm going to sit here passively. And if, if you ask me to do something, I'm not, I'm probably not even really paying attention, meaning to your point, important difference between presentation and facilitation, but as a facilitator, I'm, I'm overcoming some negative inertia here.

So, you know, whether it's, I'm, I was planning to multitask and get my report done or. Whatever their thing, you've got some negative inertia to overcome relative to whatever your, their cultural expectation is that was probably set either by them attending a whole bunch of info barf at you webinars, or whatever your company culture is with regard to meetings, right?

Like my, my significant other works for Fortune 500 company and their company culture is to have the cameras off like all the time. Learn Like shoot me, just shoot me.

[00:28:36] Cindy Huggett, CPTD: We can, let's have a conversation about that. But first, before we do, um, you brought up webinar and, and there is a time and a place for that.

There, there's a time and a. Place where there may be an expert panel, an expert speaker, somebody who is, uh, needing to present to a larger group. And then we're taking lots of lessons from Hollywood in keeping our audience attention and, and still having a conversation, uh, with the audience, even if you're behind a camera and just in that presentation kind of mode.

So there's a time and a place for that, but I think we. think of that more often than we should. We're talking about learning experiences. And for the most part, our adult learners can learn the basic knowledge things on their own, create videos, let them watch some of those, but we come together for dialogue, discussion, practice, conversation.

Can you otherwise, why bring people together? Like why make somebody sit in a session at 10 o'clock on a Tuesday? If They didn't need to be there at 10 o'clock on a Tuesday because you weren't going to draw them in, right?

[00:29:49] Roger Courville, CSP: Right, you know, it's interesting, corporate Adopted synchronous faster than higher ed because higher ed had this really vested interest in brick and mortar, but interestingly, over the last, you've probably seen this too, or this is my assessment of the last 20 years is, you know, now teachers started figuring this out and going, Oh, what about this flipped classroom thing?

If it's on demand content and it's just some lecture, let's send it out and then we'll synchronous time about the dialogue. Interestingly, some of that's flipped. It's coming back from education to, to corporate who still maybe have a propensity to, to, to want to talk too much. I'm curious. Go ahead.

[00:30:30] Cindy Huggett, CPTD: I was going to say, let's talk about cameras, but tell me what you're curious about first.

About cameras? No. You started to say cameras. I mean, you started to say something else. Oh,

[00:30:41] Roger Courville, CSP: I was just going to ask you what you've seen that's new that you like. What's new with virtual learning tools, expectations, skills, what, what you got?

[00:30:49] Cindy Huggett, CPTD: Yeah. So one of them I will say is cameras, because when we think about platforms 10 years ago, cameras just weren't like they were maybe there, but they weren't in the forefront.

Now they are most platforms you join and immediately you're asked to turn your camera on. And so, uh, the ability to have eye contact with others is, uh, is there. Yeah. And, uh, that's been a big shift in virtual learning, number one, number two, the immersive tools, the, uh, tools that are now getting integrated and built into platforms like hand gesture recognition.

So think about, you know, platforms. I want to raise my hand. Such a common, basic thing to do. We have to hit the mouse or get the track pad or find the raise hand button and then we click on it. But now with hand gesture recognition, you literally. Raise your hand and your hand goes up and at first that seems like like just fun tool but the reality is if you're in the in the mix in the moment and you have something to agree with you just raise your hand and the tool follows you or you give applause you and the tools follow you so going you On building on that and tying back to the camera, many platforms now have avatar capability built in.

And if you haven't seen it, I know Roger you, I'm sure you have, but for those of our listeners who might not have seen it. It is a digital replica. You can, yes, be the cat, the dog, the pig, the animal, but you can, and I recommend you do create a likeness of yourself, a digital likeness of yourself with your hair color, your skin color, your face shape.

And because it recognizes your Face through artificial intelligence. When you blink, the avatar blinks. When you talk, the avatar's mouth moves. When you laugh, the avatar laughs. It creates this almost real time version of you, a digital version of you show that people who. don't want to be on camera, uh, for the entire length of the virtual class or for whatever reason, um, are, are shy about being on camera or, uh, have other reasons for wanting to keep it off.

They can still have that social connection through the use of avatars. I've facilitated a number of classes over the past several months since this technology started coming out where I've had my audience on. And it still feels like we are creating that connection, that we have this face to face communication over the camera.

And in case you're wondering, Oh, but wait a minute. What if they step away? Well, most of the technology, the face goes blank if they step away from it. It's like, it's smart enough to know. Um, but then I'd also say we're working with adults. That we respect. And if they have to step away, they have to step away.

Like, right, let's give some grace here. Uh, we know that that happens from time to time. Um, but finally, one other thing, and it kind of goes along with the immersion because many platforms are now expanding by adding in. apps by adding in these tools that we used to use before, but we would have to step outside of the virtual classroom, you know, here's the link to Survey Monkey, go take this survey, or here's the link to launch out to a collaboration whiteboard, but now those apps are getting folded into the virtual classroom, which expands the tool set that we have Immensely.

You can now add in a virtual reality simulation. You're facilitating a workshop on whatever. Name the topic, and at the appropriate time you tell everybody, click on this link. And if they have a heads, Set, they could don it and be fully immersed. If not, it may just be a three D model on their, uh, web browser, but for five or 10 minutes they're in the experience.

It's not just, well, imagine you have an employee who, um, you know, You're not imagining it like you're experiencing it. You have built into that scenario, and that's just one example, but the virtual classroom capabilities have expanded far beyond where we were 20 years ago with, um, A whiteboard, marker, and one simple poll question in chat, right?

The tools are amazing. Now it's designers, let's learn how to use them so we can build in meaningful activity. Facilitators, how do you facilitate in this type of environment? We have to equip both of those audiences. And then of course, our participants. We need to teach them to get comfortable with the tools if they're not already.

That's what

[00:35:55] Roger Courville, CSP: I'm seeing. One of the things that I, I, I'll add to that is that I love that that actually opens up new opportunities in terms of thinking about metrics and reporting and continuous improvement, right? Like you mentioned that now a camera can recognize that I raised my hand. which has always been slightly problematic depending on the size of your clasp and I you've seen it right facilitator goes, Hey, give me a show of hands and they're like expecting a literal show of hands problem is that only relates to the 25 cameras that are online that they can see, or, you know, some limitation thereof.

The same time that was only a visual cue. As opposed to this now registering something within the platform, whereas when I raise my physical hand, it raises my digital hand, and that now becomes a measurable event, right? So just like seeing or reporting on the results of a poll. Or some other form of engagement, right?

Attention meters back in the day when it would register whether or not that was, was or wasn't the active app on your desktop. But there's some new stuff that's really cool. And I love that you just shared a few of those. I guess one of my questions for you, Cindy, here would be, well, I got two questions here and we'll call her good.

One would be, what's the best way for somebody to get in touch with you? Or connect with you, Cindy Huggett, 2gs2ts. com, or do you have a

[00:37:29] Cindy Huggett, CPTD: preference? Uh, the best way, pop on my website, cindyhuggett. com, or I'm very active on LinkedIn, you can find me there, cindyhuggett. I respond as quickly as I can, and I love to hear from organizations that are either using my methodology, or could benefit from some strategic help in figuring out hybrid, virtual, and upscaling.

skilling. So website or LinkedIn, either one.

[00:37:56] Roger Courville, CSP: All right. Last question. What question would you love to have been asked?

[00:38:04] Cindy Huggett, CPTD: So if we had more time, I would love to talk about the very last thing you said, and it was about this new technology and the really cool stuff that's there. The question that I'm starting to get is, well then Cindy, why do we need a facilitator? Computers are as intelligent as they are, and they can read when I'm raising my hand, or in a virtual reality simulation, we can pre program through artificial intelligence bots to talk back with us, and therefore, why do we need the human element added in?

In a short response, I'll say, think of the trust issues that are potentially there. Have you ever argued with Siri or Alexa because they didn't quite understand you, right? The technology's getting better, but the frustration, and if you're in the middle of a learning experience, you're in the middle of practicing something and the tech isn't working, or there's just that little bit of mistrust.

ti's changing. As the human element that softens that, and so, even as the technology evolves, there is still a place for facilitators in learning experiences. That's not going away anytime soon. So for organizations who are thinking about kind of strategy, for trainers who are wondering, is my job going away?

You know what... What am I being replaced with? There is still that need for, uh, facilitators for humans to encourage and enable learning to happen and um, you know, it's that, that human connection that's so important.

[00:39:51] Roger Courville, CSP: No argument. What it's gonna do is force us to be sharper about where and how we, what really truly needs that human connection, right?

Just like going virtual. Made us get sharper about what really truly belongs in person, right? It's not it's not an either or it's a both and they both serve their own thing But we had to get sharper about it over time Your point is exactly dead on AI is not replacing a great facilitator, but it might make us get a little sharper about about what skill You bring to the table empathy or whatever that might be.

Cindy, thank you so much for, oh my gosh, for spending a little time. This hour went by so fast. So again, thank you. Virtual round of applause to Cindy Huggett. You can find her at Cindy Huggett. com. She can find you can find her many books at the bookseller of your choice and her availability to be your organization's strategic partner.

Just reach out to her on LinkedIn or through her website. And thank you again for being with us today. Thanks again to our sponsor virtualvenues. com where you can instantly scale your virtual and hybrid event production team. We'll catch you on the next episode of Thought Leader Conversations.


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