Success Story: An Engaging Virtual Training Series
With the country adjusting to the new normal, many schools and other organizations are resuming in-person activities and instruction. But some are employing a hybrid model, implementing both in-person and virtual learning options.
This month, we highlight The Association of Federal Deposit Insurance Alumni, Inc. (AFDICA)1 and their experiences teaching Money Smart virtually. AFDICA had two key financial education engagements in late 2020.
First, AFDICA volunteers presented four modules of Money Smart for Adults remotely to US Department of Agriculture employees. Each of the two-hour sessions had over 100 participants.
Second, these volunteers led a discussion with students at Florida State University at Jacksonville about budgeting and borrowing using Money Smart for Young Adults.
None of the volunteers had experience teaching Money Smart virtually. Based on their experiences, the volunteers offer these tips for other virtual trainers.
- Conduct initial virtual meetings with the training sponsors to tailor the training to the organizations’ needs. For example, understand the objective of the training. Also, try to find out the financial experience level of the participants.
- Assemble a training team (if resources permit). Mindy West, Director at Large of the AFDICA, mentioned they found it helpful to have a presenter and someone else monitor the chat and question and answers feature. The person monitoring the questions could then speak up to answer a question as needed. “We also found it beneficial to have a third person designated to troubleshoot issues during the training, such as helping participants find any training materials or troubleshoot technical challenges,” added West.
- Provide a link to electronic copies of the participant guides ahead of time to the students. Links to the participant materials are available by starting at the Teach Money Smart webpage.
- Be creative with the case studies. If time is limited, consider listing the key points from the case studies on slides. Students can then submit responses via “chat.” “This strategy allowed us to highlight key learning points from the case studies within our time constraints,” said West.
- Be willing to adjust the content once the training starts. “We used the chat and question and answer (Q&A) functions to assess the educational level of the participants and adjust the training accordingly,” said West.
- Consider a multi-session training. “One advantage of having separate sessions was that the presenters could do follow-up research on issues of interest to the participants after each of the first three sessions and report on the issues at the subsequent presentation,” said West. She added that the presenters also identified additional sources of information that could interest the participants and bring it forward in the next session. West noted that participation was consistent across their series of trainings.
West reflected that the participants in each of the virtual training sessions were very engaged and participative from the start -- unafraid to provide responses or to ask questions. “In fact, we found the participants to perhaps be even more engaged than an average in-person training.” She added that the instructors also found the virtual teaching to be energizing, engaging, and rewarding.
1The AFDICA is a tax-exempt charitable organization. Membership is limited to former employees of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Resolution Trust Corporation. The AFDICA is not affiliated with the FDIC.