How We Carried Out The Accounting Certification Program Online: Part 2
...continued from the last blog.
When this cycle ended last December, I came out richer with many insights into the facilitation of trainings in virtual environment (or in any environment):
- It is all about trust: in order to motivate a person, they must have confidence in you. In an online environment, this aspect becomes even more important: if there is a person in the group whom others trust, that person will automatically connect all the group members and give them the feeling of a mutual goal, so that they will begin to cooperate and build a stronger network.
- Be open and flexible: people will be more motivated to dedicate time to a goal, if they feel that there is a person who listens and helps them to overcome challenges. Take into consideration every feedback and comment that students have during their learning path, and offer them potential solutions. This way, they get the feeling that the time they invest is appreciated, while through the gathered feedback you can improve your training approach and design.
- Do not put too much pressure on active participation. Sometimes in an online environment, especially when students are under constant stress due to the exams, they may hesitate to speak and be active because they might feel unprepared in comparison with their peers. It is fine to encourage active participation but without pushing people to speak if they do not want to. Instead, when we feel that they need additional support in learning, we can individually address their needs through surveys or any other way of collecting feedback.
- It is ok to fail. Students often stop active participation and lose motivation when they fail an exam. This is the moment when they need the most support to make them feel that they are still part of the group. It is important to understand that the process of learning matters, not only the result. Keeping them engaged and comfortable in the group considerably increases their chance of passing the exam next time.
- Online approach does a very good job, but it is the meeting in person that makes a real difference. If possible, ensure at least one physical gathering of the group. Once they meet in person, it is probable that they will continue online communication and be open to support each other in the upcoming challenges.
There is one final observation for the learning facilitator: be ready to connect with people in a much stronger way than at some other workshops and events. Following these people during their learning path from such a close distance will make you feel proud of them, celebrate their achievements and professional growth, and admire their commitment. I know I was proud of every single public sector accountant from North Macedonia whose dedicated work I witnessed throughout the “Covid” edition of the PACT program. And I am honored to continue contributing to this communityin the new “battle” that we started in March this year.