Since the dawn of time, the most effective means of learning has been through storytelling, stories engage the imagination, and create a state where we are more able to take in the narrative and the meaning.  An engaging tale creates intimacy required to convey non-verbal elements of communication to deliver true learning.  And while we seem to be more “connected” than ever, getting the type of intimacy required to have meaningful engagement is more of a challenge than ever.  Adding to the challenge is the reality that our learners are more and more dispersed and isolated, making learning, especially the type of learning that results when balanced with social interaction.

Even with advanced communication platforms like Adobe Connect,  L&D professional find gaining real engagement requires a bit of an effort.  While cameras, and more importantly people’s comfort with being on camera, are continuing to grow and be more expected, there is more to engagement than seeing each other, although it is better than presenting to a real and virtual wall.

Engagement among humans goes beyond verbal or visual and requires a connection facilitates a variety of modes of communication.  While it is easy to address the most common means, we need to ensure that all participants are given the opportunity to learn, regardless of their preferred communications style, both in how they express themselves, and how they take things in and input those things for processing and learning.

Peoples’ learning is influenced by peers or others participating in the same sessions.  It has been shown that much like people have different modes of communication, they also have different factors as to how they engage and sustain that over time.  Some are more likely to explore material they are presented based on how their peers interact.  For example, the encouragement derived from peer approval can make a real positive impact for some; just as a lack of it can discourage people taking the chance.  Not to mention that reverse is also true, having the ability to encourage others, has a positive impact on those sharing their approval.  These simple, subtle and critical opportunities are missing from common collaboration platforms.

The best learning happens when we can create a group experience that reinforces key learning elements, the needs of the individual learner, while not negatively impact on the entire group.  But with a group where learner that is dispersed and removed, it is hard to get those learning moments that are the result of the environment.

Understanding when a participant is disengaged, and being able to take steps to bring that person into the flow without distracting others or signalling the individual in question can also be a challenge.

Professional instructors are aware of these and other things that impede or enhance the learning experience and do their best to bring balance to a challenging experience.  But when distance, technology, and human nature get in the way, even the best need a hand.

That’s where Hands Up comes in.  Hands Up is a pod specifically designed to drive engagement and improved learning results.  Hands Up! is a suite of interactive tools for participants to ask a question, applaud, make comments and asides without interrupting the audio or video stream.

Their actions appear as icons on the screen but don’t break the flow of the meeting or training session. They’re fun and innovative and restore the human element to the virtual space.

It is often the little things that add a big element to the learning experience, in the case of engagement, a little Hands Up goes a long way to changing someone’s status from being present to being engaged.

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