Training Event: Keeping them Engaged-Live Online Learning Activities (LOLAs)

july-august 2020 live online learning activities thiagi training May 15, 2020

What would you say if someone offered you an 80% discount on a quality product? Too good to be true? In this case, it really is true. SIETAR USA is offering a virtual workshop by Sivisailam Thiagarajan, known to his friends as Thiagi and his talented co-trainer, Matt Richter. This will be a special day of Thiagi’s Live Online Learning Activities (LOLA) at a super bargain price.

Want to know more? Details are: 

Date: September 12, 2020. 

Time: 10:30AM CDT to 5:00 PM CDT (US Central Daylight Time) (Several breaks and a lunch break)

Cost: Student: $27

Member: $57

Member Sponsor: $77*

Non-Member: $97

All Registrants receive Thiagi’s electronic LOLA manual that accompanies the exercises and more. (Price of the manual is included in registration fee.)

*The Member Sponsor category is for members who want to add a little extra to help support SIETAR USA and the programming it provides to intercultural and DEI professionals—our community. They will be recognized for their gift and our gratitude goes out to them.

Now I bet you are thinking: tell me more about these LOLAs and the workshop. Thiagi and Matt describe it this way…

Live online training (also known as virtual classrooms or training webinars) have several cost-effective advantages in the field of intercultural training:

  • You can reach participants from different countries and different cultures at the same time.
  • Most trainers and participants are familiar with the basic technology required, whether it is based on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or a smartphone.
  • Trainers can easily upload slides, video and audio recordings, and other media as a part of their online training session.
  • Online training sessions can be recorded and archived for study by people who missed the original session or those who want to review what they learned earlier.
  • The technology behind webinar platforms are becoming less expensive and more reliable, flexible, and user friendly.

Live online training sessions have limitations and disadvantages also. Here are some of them:

  • Webinars have become synonymous with dull one-way data dumps. They encourage subject-matter experts to indulge in pontification.
  • Participants who lack computer literacy have difficulty figuring out how to participate in a webinar.
  • In spite of their increasing reliability, webinar platforms still present some technical problems. 
  • Webinar platforms look and work differently on different browsers and on different devices.

The major disadvantage of live online training is the lack of interactivity among the participants and between the learning content and the learners. To reduce the impact of this problem, Thiagi and Matt have been designing and delivering interactive experiential activities in virtual classrooms. Not all face-to-face activities can be exported to a webinar session. However, there are creative techniques for adapting classroom activities to a webinar. In addition, some online strategies (example: instant polling) can be conducted more effectively in a virtual classroom than in an actual classroom.

About LOLAs

LOLAs are different types of live online learning activities that are incorporated in training sessions to provide effective and engaging activities. 

Here are a dozen sample types of LOLAs:

  • Shared Learning LOLAs help participants learn from each other and with each other. These LOLAs typically create a format for sharing, organizing, and evaluating the participants’ experiences, best practices, knowledge, and opinions.
  • Interactive Lecture LOLAs transform passive presentations into active exercises. The facilitator conducts different activities, quizzes, tasks, projects, and discussions before, during, or after a lecture presentation.
  • Textra LOLAs combine the effective organization of text documents with the motivational impact of games. The participants read some online or offline text materials and participate in interactive exercises that use peer pressure and peer support to encourage the recall and application of what they read. 
  • Opener LOLAs are conducted at the beginning of a live online training session. These LOLAs are used for previewing the training objectives, content, and format. 
  • Closer LOLAs are conducted at the end of an online training session. They are used for reviewing main points, tying up loose ends, planning for future action, and celebrating successful completion. 
  • Debriefing LOLAs enable the participants to reflect on an online activity, come up with insights, and share them with each other. 
  • Graphic LOLAs are designed around images such as photographs, paintings, drawings, icons, illustrations, cartoons, sketches, and doodles. They require the participants to study, analyze, understand, verbalize, summarize, and caption the images.
  • Jolt LOLAs incorporate engaging experiential activities that last for less than 5 minutes. These LOLAs force the participants to think, come up with insights, and share them with fellow participants. 
  • Roleplay LOLAs involve the participants in taking on characters, personalities, and attitudes to achieve different multicultural outcomes. The participants act out their roles in a spontaneous and natural manner under imaginary scenarios.
  • Sampling LOLAs involve collections of examples of different elements (such as email subject lines, conference session descriptions, limericks, or lead paragraphs of articles). The participants analyze the samples, arrange them in categories, identify key features, and prepare checklists. 
  • Story LOLAs incorporate fictional narratives in the training session. In this approach, the participants modify, expand, shrink, analyze, deconstruct, and roleplay the stories presented to them. The participants also create and share their own stories.
  • Thought Experiment LOLAs require the participants to mentally rehearse new patterns of behavior or hold imaginary dialogues. Combined with self-reflection, these activities produce increased self-awareness and mastery of new knowledge and insights. 

During the past 10 years, Matt and Thiagi have field-tested and improved more than 20 types of LOLAs. Eleven of these LOLAs are explained and elaborated in our book, on LOLA: Live Online Learning Activities.

This one-day workshop walks the talk and teaches you to use different types of training activities in live online sessions. Thiagi and Matt will provide you with a conceptual framework for LOLAs, as well as countless activities you can modify and adapt to your own multicultural training sessions. You will learn activities for technical, management, sales, and interpersonal content. We will use these activities to also teach you how to adapt them to best fit your needs, handle the virtual participants, and decide which activity will best work with your training objectives.

About the Facilitators

Sivasailam Thiagarajan, conveniently known as Thiagi, has conducted interactive training in 25 different countries in five different continents. He has written more than 40 books on designing and facilitating engaging and effective training for intercultural communication. For the past 12 years, he has specialized on Live Online Learning Activities (LOLAs). Thiagi is known as the Resident Mad Scientist at The Thiagi Group.

Matthew Richter is the co-author of the revised and updated second edition of the book on Live Online Learning Activities (LOLAs). He has conducted online training session on this topic. An experienced user of different virtual platforms, he has also conducted live online training around the world on how to use the Zoom platform for improving interactivity in training. Matt is President at The Thiagi Group.