Designing engaging training sessions and meetings

Designing engaging training sessions and meetings
Colorado State University
Use case
Higher education

Poll Everywhere adds a whole lot of engagement and keeps people interested in the meeting when they could easily be multitasking.

Dave Hoffman, Senior Project Manager at Colorado State University, gets participants actively engaged by incorporating a range of activities into his presentations.

Getting the audience involved

Dave works on projects with the central IT group at Colorado State. “Being probably the first and one of very few project managers on campus, I was also given the opportunity to start a project manager user group and teach some introductory courses for staff.”

After teaching a session in February, Dave had another class lined up for June which was moved to a virtual format “It was originally one three-hour session, but we broke it up into three separate days of one hour each. While talking with our talent management group on campus, I mentioned that I was looking for ways to make my class more interactive rather than just presenting my slides. They recommended Poll Everywhere.”

Dave started out by creating his own account and giving the tool a try.

I thought it was great and decided to use it for my class. I incorporated different activities like multiple choice questions, word clouds, and Competitions as a fun quiz at the end. Based on that session, my manager and department then asked me to run some activities during our all staff meeting to help keep participants engaged. The Poll Everywhere questions were very well received at our last meeting.

Collecting valuable feedback

Dave converted his typically in-person classes to an engaging online experience by embedding new interactive questions in his slides with Poll Everywhere for PowerPoint app. “When I created my Poll Everywhere account, I was building in new elements that dovetailed into the in-person session. I used most of the same slides, but I inserted activities where I wanted to get a discussion started.”

First, Dave presented a few activities participants could respond to while joining the workshop. “With a word cloud, I asked ‘What word comes to mind when you think of project management?’ That accomplished a few things. First, it made everyone start thinking about the topic and gave them something to do while they waited for others to join. Second, it got them ready to use Poll Everywhere so as other activities came up throughout the class, they could respond right away.”

Next, he used a Q&A activity to set expectations for the upcoming sessions. “I asked about what everyone was hoping to learn and let participants upvote each other’s answers. That gave me information about the topics to highlight and allowed me to create specific slides in the next sessions addressing their questions.”

Throughout the presentation, Dave incorporated questions that set the stage for surprising topics. For example, “I asked ‘What causes projects to fail?’ After collecting everyone’s feedback, I presented the next slide which revealed that it actually might be the project manager. Being honest with teammates and managers is very important to ensure a project goes to plan.”

To summarize that day’s content, Dave ended the meeting with a Competition with several questions about the material. The gamified element got participants’ attention and reinforced the topics they covered.

For internal staff meetings, Dave has been incorporating icebreaker activities and Competitions to keep everyone on the same page. He’s looking forward to trying new activities for the next one.

Now that we’re all working from home, we’re seeing people’s pets in the background on video calls. We’re planning on incorporating a ‘Match the pet with the owner’ clickable image activity for our next staff meeting. I think that will be a lot of fun.

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