6 Ways to Retain Information Learned Online
April 28, 2009 @ 10:25 AM | By Nicole Scheel

20090505Retain-Online-Learn One of the most important things for a trainer to do is make sure their students retain the information taught to them. There are many statistics floating around on training-related web sites that talk about the “formula” in which adults learn and how much information they can take in. Unfortunately, there are just as many rebuttals to those statistics. I really don’t think there is a magic formula to make someone more successful in online learning—we need to remember that each person is different. 

As I’ve mentioned before, my team does the majority of their trainings online. So I went to the experts and asked them for tips on how to help students retain information taught in an online class.

 

Tips for Retaining Information:

  1. Annotation tools
    Use the highlighter or pointer provided by your web conferencing software. This makes information stand out and much easier to remember. Plus, it helps students follow along.

  2. Full screen mode
    Some web conference providers allow you to force attendees to view your content in full screen. This keeps participants engaged in the presentation and they are less likely to multi-task because what you are showing them takes up their entire monitor.

  3. File transfer
    Use this web conferencing feature to allow students to download materials before, during or after an online training. It makes information readily available to the students, on their computers, when they need it. And there are no excuses—they can do it then and there.

  4. Take breaks
    In a normal classroom setting, students need to decompress and absorb what they just learned. The same applies to online learning. Make sure you take plenty of breaks throughout the session.

  5. End each session with take-aways
    Ask each participant to give you at least one thing that they learned from the session. In most of our classes, we end with an action plan. We ask students to jot down what they are going to start, stop and continue doing as a result of the class.

  6. Use the notes tools
    Many web conferencing tools now have an area for students to take notes in.  It reinforces what they’ve just heard and helps them to remember the information.


If you have tips that you’d like to share with us, please do so in the comments below. If you are sitting through online training sessions and wish there was something your instructors would do to make learning easier, please share that as well. Next week, I’ll give some tips on how to make online classes more interactive.

 Nichole_blog 

Nicole Scheel is the Director of Training, and the “Tips & Training Blogger”. Nicole has been in training with InterCall for nine years and currently manages our internal and customer training departments, also known as InterCall University. When she's not training someone, you can find Nicole volunteering in her community or finishing her Masters in Training & Development at Roosevelt University.

Go Paperless to save our planet… or at least a tiny piece of it
April 21, 2009 @ 07:09 AM | By Guest Blogger

MeetingSensePaperless With a new U.S. President, a deepening global community, challenging economic environments, and a brand new baby daughter, I’ve been thinking a lot about our future. Not just my family’s future, but the future for us all. I’m sure that you have been, too.

It’s been comforting to see that everything ‘green’ has not only become trendy, but has become a focus at an institutional level. It seems that we are finally taking the state of our planet seriously. It doesn’t bother me that a big green push these days is comes in the form of travel and other carbon consuming activity decreases to save bottom-line costs. Where I work, we try to do as much for the environment as we can, we recycle (everything), we buy recycled products, we try not to print anything unless absolutely necessary … and we also make software that helps companies to go paperless and become greener.

But going paperless isn’t just an opportunity to do your small part to save the planet, or even to improve your less than perfect Karma, it’s also a great business decision. Going paperless, or probably more accurately, becoming less paper dependant is also about saving money. In today’s business environment, companies are facing numerous challenges like the dire need to cut costs and increase efficiency, which includes the need to sift through the explosion of email/IM/blog/document/etc… content. This allows us to adopt solutions that help clean up all the clutter, while allowing us to becoming less paper dependant.

Benefits to going paperless:

  • Reduce the costs to store documents and files (folders, cabinets, etc)

  • Decrease printing costs (fewer printers, less ink and of course less paper)

  • Less administrative staff to engage in document filing and management

  • Far less time spend filing, storing, searching for documents and files

  • Efficiency boosted by being able to access and search virtual repositories

  • Less time spent training employees regarding all of the above process

  • Improved client responsiveness … accessing client histories and needs takes seconds in a paperless environment

  • Ability to easily match a service or issue with the appropriate information and to contextually link information

At my company, MeetingSense Software, we make software that helps you and me much more efficient and productive in our day-to-day activities. As an added benefit, our product MeetingSense, also helps our customers to become less paper dependant by providing an easy and efficient way to capture, distribute and manage all of the information that is shared in meetings, all online in real-time. So, not only are we helping people to do their jobs and make their lives easier, but we’re also trying to do our part to decrease overall paper dependence.  Here’s a look at how we see MeetingSense helping at each level within your organization:

Users


Take back a full day of wasted time every week and gain complete control over project success.

  • Eliminate almost a full day of pre/post meeting clean up and management busywork every week

  • Gain total control over your meeting information and action item accountability cycles

  • Enhance online collaboration to foster virtual group deliverables and timeline buy-in. Foster a team environment where stakeholders actively participate online in team contributions.

Your Boss


Get complete vision into any team's meeting effectiveness, accountability and performance.

  • Dramatically increase employee efficiency to optimize tight budgets in difficult times

  • Help your team become much more productive while decreasing project cycle times

  • Gain complete transparency into your employees day-to-day performance

  • Increase team output while decreasing bottom line costs associated with all inefficiencies

The IT Group


MeetingSense offers absolute online data security and does a better job of providing strict governance and auditabiliy. This is done affordably and without infrastructure or information management nightmares.

  • Dramatically decrease enterprise email, storage, and ‘offline’ materials and system burden

  • Online data security with SaaS70 I &II, HIPAA, PCI certification

  • Minimizes total cost of ownership and maximizes ease-of-deployment

The Organization


Maximize organizational efficiency to decrease employee waste, optimize operational costs, increase project success, and instantly eliminate compliance risk.

  • Save $15,000 a year per employee in wasted time/effort to streamline organizational efficiency

  • Save millions of lost man hours and wasted materials by increases employee effectiveness and accountability

  • Ensure regulatory and legal compliance - Get complete online transparency/access to critical information without the hassles of physical paper use/storage


Where I work, we’re trying hard every day to help enhance the working lives and business success of our customers through smart, efficient, green resource management and the power of new technology. The benefits of going paperless to save our environment and enhance the future for our children can’t be overstated… but just in case your CFO needs a little more than the viable future of our planet, you can let her know that the cost of going paperless can also save your corporation millions of dollars every year.
I hope that you all enjoy Earth Day and take an opportunity to think about how you can contribute to the health and wealth of our planet every day. Thanks for listening and if there’s anything that I can do to help you, let me know in the comments below.

MeetingSenseBretHannon Brettt is co-founder of MeetingSense Software Corporation. He has more than 16 years of experience as a successful business professional for tier-one software and media companies. He has extensive experience with business P&L management, strategic marketing, and the enterprise collaboration space. MeetingSense is being integrated into industry leading audio and web conferencing services so that end-users can easily launch and control all of their communications applications from within a single intuitive interface.

Earth Day 2009
April 14, 2009 @ 11:52 AM | By InterCall Blog

Earth-day-activitiesAt InterCall, we are encouraging our employees to participate in Earth Day. If you have a volunteer activity, educational opportunity or festival that we can participate in, please post information here in our comments section.

Last year, our employees got involved in Earth Day activites all across the country, including school activities, local clean ups and festivals. We want even more participation and have employees world wide, so please tell us how we can help make your event a success!

Video Conferencing – Can You Do It Yourself?
April 9, 2009 @ 08:38 AM | By Brian Trampler & Sara O'Rourke

2009-04-09-video-conferenci I work with many of our customers to set up their video conferencing. Over the past few months, it has become more and more apparent that video is becoming a mission-critical application. Due to the economic climate, the effort to stay green and the proliferation of high quality endpoints, video is quickly becoming a key component of the conferencing and collaboration conversation.

Though video conferencing can be easy to purchase and install, putting forth the extra effort to outline the process for scheduling equipment and rooms, administering access to a system and providing executive guidance on the benefits are all integral to the success. In order to make video conferencing a highly utilized platform, one that lets you take advantage of the things I just mentioned, a company policy must be clearly communicated.

“Doing it yourself” may be a way to provide the service to your employees, but it’s not necessarily the best way. One of the mistakes organizations often make is giving end users control or allowing them to pick up the remote and dial the other site. But in most cases, users don’t want that (unless you happen to be a video geek, like me); instead they need clear directions to make video conferencing as simple as possible. Leveraging a consistent process for every video conference call can lead to better adoption and more success. Whether it is a point-to-point call or a multi-point call with more than two sites, the process should be the same.

That is where a great service provider becomes your partner in success.  A video conferencing service provider can:

  • Launch a point-to-point or multi-point video conference 
  • Join a webcam-based endpoint 
  • Launch your call on a hosted video bridge or MCU (multipoint control unit)
  • Provide training on equipment and messaging
  • Maintain video equipment remotely and dispatch on-site support if needed
  • Provide reporting on the uptime, utilization and cost savings of the equipment
  • Assist in marketing the video environment to encourage more usage

Because a good service provider has logged hundreds of thousands of hours managing this experience for their customers, they are able to leverage tried and true procedures for your meetings. Through the use of many utilities or tools in their arsenal, they can take the human factor out of repeatable procedures to increase success.  The service provider can also assist with any conference that involves audio, web or video—multiple technologies integrated for one seamless meeting. 

So in the end, can you do video conferencing yourself? Yes, you can. But to truly drive adoption within your organization and realize the cost savings and environmental benefits it’s best to let the experts assist you. You should be focused on your meeting, not how or if it will work.  If you have had success with doing video conferencing yourself, please share it with us in the comments below. I’d also be happy to answer any video conferencing questions for you.

Brian_2 Brian Trampler is the Sr. Product Manager of Strategic Video Solutions & the "Video Conferencing" blogger. Throughout his 10 years in the conferencing industry, he has successfully launched numerous web, streaming, and video services.  Prior to making the jump to conferencing, Brian was involved in gymnastics both as a competitor and coach.  If you’re lucky, you might also find Brian performing musical theatre throughout the Denver metro area.

Market Trend: How to Reduce Costs & Increase Productivity
April 2, 2009 @ 12:42 PM | By Guest Blogger

The real cost of travel

Please welcome a guest blogger and InterCall Associate Marketing Manager, Dan Carroll.

Anyone else feeling a little stressed? Maybe a better word is pressured. I like to stay informed and the news has been more than dismal lately. Everywhere you turn you hear about the economy. With that comes extra stress in the workplace and added pressure. The only option companies have is to ride out the storm as best they can. It’s a tough situation. Everyone is trying to cut costs and do more with less.

In a recent survey done by Challenger, Grey, and Christmas, an outplacement consulting organization, approximately 92% of companies are cutting costs given the unfortunate economic conditions. Ninety-two percent…that’s incredible. And you know what else is incredible? Sixty seven percent of the companies surveyed are doing just that by reducing travel expenses.

If you follow the InterCall blog, or pay close attention to the conferencing industry, this idea of travel reduction should be of no surprise to you. In today’s market, conferencing is a necessary tool in order to communicate effectively, efficiently and economically. Even if the economy were to get back on its feet tomorrow, we’d still be touting the cost savings of travel reduction because it’s a proven way for companies to do more with less.

To illustrate, let’s say you have five people traveling on a business trip from Los Angeles to Chicago. That may include two nights in a hotel and a rental car. The meeting itself is scheduled for three hours, and a total of 10 participants will be present. Did you know that if you chose to conduct this meeting instead over the web, you would have saved your company approximately $7000?

I’ve never claimed to be a mind reader but I’m guessing you’d be pretty hard-pressed to argue with those savings... it’s a lot of money. And that’s just the beginning. Imagine how much you could save in the long-term if you continue to use conferencing as the first choice for meetings.

Cost savings are exciting. But you may ask yourself if conferencing actually performs.  Is conferencing really the better alternative? As one of our customers put it, “If it doesn’t work, the cost is irrelevant.” So, how does conferencing allow you to connect more efficiently with others? How does it allow you to get more done? What’s in it for you? These are all valid questions, with fitting answers. There are substantial benefits in addition to the cost savings aspect.

According to a joint survey conducted by InterCall and Wainhouse Research, more than 80% of all employee respondents are doing more work than ever before. Additionally, 60% of people surveyed say they work with more people than in the past. Clearly, people need to perform as efficiently as possible in order to reach a set level of productivity. One of the trademark advantages of conferencing is its ability to increase productivity across all levels of an organization—and it does this in three ways.

2009-03-31-productivity-gra It allows for effective and proficient communication.

Have you ever felt like there was a disconnect between two departments at your workplace? And that disconnect created more work for you? You’re probably nodding your head vigorously. Let’s say your company acquired a competitor. Because of this acquisition, there will be very significant changes for your sales staff and they need to know about it immediately. In minutes, you can gather all company employees on a phone and web conference and explain the changes.

It enhances the ability to collaborate with others regardless of where they’re located.

Conferencing allows you to communicate easily, but what about the work? What about the project that’s not on target for completion? Now, I don’t advocate procrastination by any means, but what I am supporting is the ability to connect you with coworkers for real time collaboration.

Referencing the same survey above, 72% of individuals are using conferencing or holding conferences more frequently to increase productivity. That is their motive, they say. And 70% of these people claim to be very productive. Here is a perfect example of how it works.

Let’s say you have Excel documents. Lots of them. And the focus of your project is to combine the numbers so that they clearly indicate what kind of revenue your company’s new flagship product is bringing in. They have to be correct, because your boss is going to be presenting them to the company executives. What conferencing allows you to do is work from anywhere, with anyone. In this case, simply hop on the web with your colleague located on the other side of the pond, log into the web conferencing service and start reviewing the data while discussing the details over the phone.


It increases the organization’s level of knowledge and expertise because conferencing serves as a tool for hiring and retaining top talent.

So now that we’ve discussed the potential of conferencing to allow for greater communication and collaboration, how can we use this tool to better the company as a whole? How do you attract the best people into your organization and increase productivity based on human ingenuity? Once again, the answer is conferencing.

With a global economy, the best talent may not be local.  If your company wants expand your pool of potential new hires, the greatest prospects may be located around the world. Instead of spending time and money on travel, hold conferences with the candidates first. Then, instead of flying all ten candidates in, fly in the top few. You now have the best people ready to work for you and it was done in a very efficient and effective way.

Remember that conferencing does not just include phone calls. There are many services that can be integrated for a custom solution based on your needs. In these times, it’s important to remember that any vendor should be a partner in your success.  Keep in touch and ask them for help, ideas and suggestions. If there are questions that we can answer for you, please list them in the comments below or contact a conferencing expert.

Danc Daniel Carroll, is an Associate Marketing Manager and the company's resident competitive intel and market trends research guru. He earned a BBA in Marketing at Temple University. In his spare time he likes to swim, rollerblade and sample fine italian cuisine.

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