Our usual training sessions for trustees have been on pause as we all went into lockdown and adjusted to new challenges and new ways of working. But, after getting some requests to restart we decided it’s time to take the plunge into online delivery!
We know there are a lot of organisations looking closely at how they operate now. Particularly, as new volunteers are looking at becoming trustees and wanting to understand the role, as well as there being existing trustees who are aware that their organisations need them to get more involved.
Running training online is a big adjustment – these are sessions we’ve done hundreds of times before, but it feels new and a little bit strange to do it from home over zoom! It’s obviously impossible to perfectly replicate face to face training, and of course, there are things lost in not being able to do that, but there are some real advantages as well.
Namely, it makes training so much more accessible when no one has to travel or arrange childcare. It makes a real difference when people do not to have to travel for an hour on buses across town or, feel that they’re in a more formal training setting.
As an attendee, I’ve been able to take part in conferences and other training that I would never have been able to if it hadn’t been online. People can join in a way that they feel comfortable with – cameras on or off, talking to the group, or using the chat option.
In sessions with board members from one charity, we also have the option of recording it as there are always one or two people who can’t make the date that works best for the rest. Given the benefits, whatever the future of face to face training looks like, I hope to incorporate online attendees into our sessions. This means that we can maintain the accessibility and flexibility of our sessions for people who would find it difficult to join in otherwise.
For people attending online training sessions, my best tip is to try to embrace it and continue to ask questions or add your comments. This really helps make the sessions feel a bit friendlier and interactive, despite the online format.
I find one of the best things about our training sessions normally are the excellent questions people raise and the discussions they lead to, and also the valuable experience that people share, so I hope that will continue.
And if your child wants to say hello or a cat jumps in front of the screen, the more the merrier!