Live Virtual Classes
Enhancing Your Experience
Everyone can recall problems with video conferences, whether it was a screen freeze, a meeting password that did't work, a weird echo, a dog barking in the background or something similar. Virtual training is a different experience to learning in a classroom. Research shows that we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language on a video call than meeting face-to-face. Paying more attention to this while attempting to focus on learning new material consumes a lot of energy, which is why teaching needs to be delivered in shorter sessions.
If you are reading this page, it is probably because you have been registered for a SGSA class that is being taught remotely to your location. We want to help you gain the most from the class by giving you some hints and tips to help avoid the common problems associated with video conferencing.
Preparing for the class well in advance will help prevent any last minute panics and avoid delays to starting the class for everyone else.
- You will be emailed a link allowing you to register your attendance for the class at least one week before the first session. Please complete the registration as soon as you receive the email. Your registration only needs to be completed once for all the sessions.
- If you will be attending the class from your office, consider booking a meeting room with a large screen or projector for your class. If other students are attending from your office then get together in the same room to make the class more enjoyable.
- If you are attending the class from your home, choose a room where you can work without being disturbed and reserve all the WiFi with anyone else in the house. Don't try and compete for bandwidth against Netflix, online gaming or YouTube videos!
- We recommend viewing the class on your PC as this will have the full suite of video conferencing features and functionality.
- Download the Zoom Client for Meetings by clicking here or below and install as early as possible. Contact us if you have any problems with the installation.
- Get a headset with microphone so that you can hear and be heard clearly. Your instructor will be using a headset because it makes such a difference. Start the Zoom app and click > Settings (Cog) > Audio. Test your speaker and microphone with your device.
- Check that you have received your student kit. Your kit includes a workbook with the slides, pen, exercise booklets, books, psychometric test, etc. (dependent on the class).
The duration of a SGSA live virtual training session is between 3.5 and 4.0 hours. Your instructor will intersperse the session with exercises and breaks as much as possible. Please respect your fellow students by being on time for the class and returning punctually from breaks. The following tips will help you to enjoy the class.
- Bring refreshments and an empty glass and knife (see later) to the class.
- You will be admitted to the virtual classroom fifteen minutes before every session. Use this time to finalise your sound checks and to chat to other students.
- Close all other applications to remove distractions and improve PC performance. Yes, even Outlook!
- Maximise the Zoom window and arrange your view. Click View Options > Side by Side Mode' and then Gallery View. Drag the pane to the left to reduce the size of the slides so that you can see larger thumbnails of your instructor and fellow students on the right.
- Hover in the top right hand corner of your thumbnail to reveal your settings. We strongly recommend selecting the 'Hide Self View'. If you can see yourself on camera, you become more aware of being watched. The thought that twelve heads might be staring at you can make many people feel uncomfortable. It is also very hard for people not to look at their own face or be conscious of how they are behaving when they see themselves on screen. You will be much more relaxed if you hide your self view.
- Useful Hot Keys are 'Alt-A' and 'Alt-V' to toggle audio and video on and off. A red microphone with a strike through will be shown in your video thumbnail when you are muted. We understand that you may need to leave the class briefly during the session, if doing so please turn off your audio and video while away.
- Please turn your video off if you are observing other students taking part in a role play. This will make it much easier for them and for you when it's your turn!
- Please ask questions at any time. Although you can send a question to your instructor using the Chat function or by clicking the 'Raise Hand' button, these may be missed by your instructor who is already multi-tasking across multiple windows. Instead, we recommend un-muting your microphone and tapping your empty glass with your knife. This signal will tell the instructor that someone wants to ask a question. As soon as convenient, the instructor will ask you for your question.
- Group exercises will be conducted in Breakout Rooms. During group exercises, please make sure that you are not muted and that one person is nominated to take notes, record the answers, etc. The nominated person should use the 'Share Screen' feature to allow a Word document or similar application to be viewed by everyone in the Breakout Room so that work in progress can be viewed in real time. A countdown timer will show how long is left for the exercise. You will be automatically returned to the classroom after the time has expired or can return earlier by clicking the 'Leave Room' button.
- Consider stretching, having a drink, getting some fresh air or doing some exercise during breaks. Avoid even more screen time by trying to catch up on emails.
- Some classes have Kahoot! quizzes to allow you to test yourself on what you have learned. If you would like to take part in a quiz then you will need to download the app onto your Smartphone...
Although a live virtual training class can never replace the experience of meeting your instructor and fellow students face-to-face, the above tips will help you to get the most from your class and minimise 'Zoom Fatigue'. To enhance the virtual experience, your instructor will leave the meeting room open at the end of each session for students to chat amongst themselves or with the instructor. This is something that happens naturally at the end of each day of our in-person classes, so we are trying to recreate this opportunity for our remote students as well. If you have a few minutes, please hang around for the social interaction or to discuss the session after the teaching has ended.
Lastly, remember that a one second silence feels more uncomfortable on a conference call than in a real-life conversation. Even a minimal transmission delay can give people the impression that the person they are talking to is less friendly or focused on what they have said!