10 reasons why you need Producer support in Virtual Classrooms

A Producer in a Virtual Classroom works in collaboration with the facilitator, and ideally is an experienced online facilitator themselves.

Having a producer will increase the cost of the event, but must be viewed not only as an insurance policy for when things go wrong, but also as an extra pair of hands (and an extra voice!) to make things smoother and more professional. As the evidence shows we can’t really multi-task – so let the Producer focus on technology and process, and the facilitator focus on the participants and learning.

Man with headset in front of computer speaking to someone virtually

Take Away

Here are 10 responsibilities for a Producer to ensure that participants learn, and the facilitator facilitates.

1. Set up the virtual classroom environment to provide a seamless, flowing experience in readiness for the event
2. Welcome and perform a technology check with each participant as they arrive
3. Orientate participants in virtual classroom functions and features at the start where required
4. Manage and support participants who encounter either technical problems or need support with the virtual environment during the event. A support checklist is a great help for this
5. Prepare and manage polls, and monitor interactions. This frees up the facilitator to focus on the content, participant responses, and the learning process
6. Prepare and manage breakout activities: creating group lists, assigning roles, putting in/out of rooms, performing audio checks
7. Provide participants with a second voice and a richer dynamic to the event. The Producer can provide audio whenever there’s a poll, a move into breakouts, a need for instructions, a nudge for further chat input, and so on. The options are endless
8. Prompt the facilitator if any participant questions and issues aren’t acknowledged
9. Step in if the facilitator has a problem
10. Ensure that the show goes on! Technology glitches that would otherwise lead to cancellation can be avoided by a Producer who quickly gets on the case. Having a Plan B for most things – including having a second ‘mirror’ classroom prepared – are great insurance policies

Additional top tip: provide time for 1 and 2 above by sending out invitations with a start time 15 minutes before the learning starts so that any initial technical glitches can be resolved.

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