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A colleague recently sent me a clip of trainees doing an activity during a pre-Covid training course; a packed room with around 20 young journalists based in Delhi, in pairs, discussing a thorny editorial problem. The energy in the room was fantastic – arms waving around, points being debated, everyone so involved. Of course this is what we are all aiming for with our remote training. And we all know that it’s much easier in a room, than over Zoom or Teams. But it’s not impossible. I’ve learned over the past year that with my longer courses when I have the trainees in a group for a week or more, one of the ways to encourage this active participation is to ‘stick’ the trainees together early on, to spend time making sure they know each other and are comfortable with each other. I don’t think this is just a ‘nice to have’ – the learning is definitely more successful if people feel part of a group. So I’ve built in time for extra breakout room activities, in groups of 2, 3 and more; created a what’s app group for them to share content and good wishes to each other (social learning), and I’ve built in activities that they do together, independently of a trainer, outside the Zoom sessions. Does anyone have any other ideas? And how do we create this ‘community of practice’ when we’ve only got people for a day – or less?
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