Meet Virtual Facilitator Blaine Rada

March 8, 2017 10:00 by Dana Peters
In my line of work, I have the pleasure of working with talented people from all over the world. Today, I would like to introduce someone that is almost in my backyard. Meet Blaine Rada.  As a Chicago-based trainer, speaker, and communication coach, Blaine also serves as a Virtual Facilitator here at Mondo Learning Solutions. Some of our clients find their virtual instructor-led training (vILT) programs growing at a rate in which their internal facilitation team can’t meet the demand. When this happens, we are often called upon to provide skilled Virtual Facilitators to supplement the internal team. Our Virtual Facilitators, like Blaine, have years of experience facilitating learning on a diverse set of topics. Once engaged with a client on a new program, Blaine works closely with the client to understand the unique learning needs of the learners, and quickly learn the course curriculum and virtual classroom set-up.Many qualities about Blaine impress me but the following two really standout for me…First, is his ability to make content come alive in the virtual classroom. When the situation calls for it, Blaine has the ability to take client specific or off-the-shelf course material and deliver customized, comprehensive, and relatable learning experiences for our clients. There is an unmatched energy when Blaine is facilitating.Second, is his commitment to continuous improvement. Blaine routinely seeks out new ways to engage and promote learning retention; he is always considering how he can enhance the learning experience. Blaine has an impressive background as well: He is a member of the National Speakers Association and has earned a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, a recognition held by fewer than 15 percent of professional speakers worldwide. He has more than 20 years experience working as a corporate trainer for the mortgage industry. He was also named “America’s Greatest Thinker” in 2005 after competing in The Great American Think-Off, an exhibition of civil disagreement put on by The Cultural Center. In addition to his work with Mondo Learning, Blaine is a regular keynote speaker and trainer throughout the country and also coaches individuals on how to be more effective communicators; skills necessary for all facets of life and business. For more information about Blaine, check out his LinkedIn profile here.  

To Script or Not to Script? That is the Question.

May 27, 2015 12:37 by Dana Peters
Last week, we had a call with a new client to discuss the concept of developing a fully scripted facilitator guide vs. a simple facilitator outline documenting the general plan for each content section with related facilitator talking points (what I would call a semi-scripted guide). This is a topic that comes up regularly with clients new to the virtual learning space.We have several pieces of advice to share when it comes to whether or not your sessions should be fully scripted or not. First let’s take a look at the pros and cons of scripting out your session, and then we will dig into a few of the specifics. PROS of Scripting Multiple facilitators and producers can pick up the guide and have a clear concept of class objectives, what should happen, and when. Facilitators and producers are able to deliver sessions seamlessly without having to meet extensively beforehand. Allows for easy mass delivery of sessions over a long period of time, utilizing a large delivery team. Helps keep timing of the course on track. Enables the delivery of consistent content to all participants regardless of when they take the class and who facilitates it. Provides support for facilitators who may be less confident or nervous. CONS of Scripting Less prepared/experienced facilitators may rely too much on the script, not enhancing the content with their own experiences, stories, and examples. Can lead to monotonous talking; drives participants to multi-task or be inattentive. Can create a road-block for facilitators and producers to operate in the moment, and respond to immediate needs of learners. Can lead to the atmosphere of the session feeling more mechanical and robotic than natural and organic. Because of the level of detail, scripting involves more updating and maintenance to stay current and accurate as the class/lessons evolve. As you can see, there are several things to consider when deciding whether or not to fully script out your virtual instructor-led course. Think about this checklist as it relates to your facilitators. Who will be delivering the session on a regular basis? How much time will they have to prepare, or how familiar are they with the content? How comfortable are they presenting virtually? Are they experienced facilitators in general? Is this a mass delivery of sessions over a long period of time? Will you be drawing on a pool of facilitators and producers, with any combination being paired up to deliver a session? All of these items will come into play.A scripted facilitator guide provides opportunity for multiple presenters in multiple regions to effectively deliver consistent course content to every participant taking the class. There’s no confusion on what should be covered in the course, though a top-notch facilitator will insert relevant and powerful examples that will undoubtedly be different. Having a scripted outline can also help instructors stay on track, and may even help if the presenter has any feelings of nervousness. A scripted approach also allows any instructor to pick up the materials, and deliver the class with a clear concept of objectives and expected outcomes, provided they have ample time to prepare. The key to using a scripted facilitator guide for your virtual instructor-led training classes is preparation. Less prepared facilitators will rely too much on the script, leading to long and even monotonous reading from an instructor to the class. This doesn’t work in person, and it certainly doesn’t work in a virtual environment. Scripted speech, void of interactive and personal examples from an instructor, can and often does, lead to inattentiveness and attempts to multi-task from learners. Even prepared facilitators can get caught up in the script. In some cases, facilitators and producers will get so caught up in staying on track with the script that they miss out on opportunities to really engage learners in the moment. Experience and practice will help. Take a minute to consider the pros and cons. Is there anything else you would add to either list? How do they apply to your learning environment, your facilitators, and your participants? We’d love your feedback.