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Using a Whiteboard in a Virtual Classroom

Do you remember the time way back before COVID when we all gathered in classrooms for training? We have seen some Instructor-Led Training (ILT) return, but with the advancements of virtual platforms and the rise in a virtual workforce, Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) has become a common way for organizations to launch training. One of the largest platforms used for VILT is Zoom. Zoom (as well as many other platforms like Microsoft Teams) has been steadily launching features and app integrations that have made the addition of some tools more accessible and easier to use.

As a team, we have decided to test a few of the tools and see what might be possible. (Keep an eye out for our future posts as we explore the integrations and apps that Zoom has to offer!) Our first exploration was the virtual whiteboard.

When to Use a Virtual Whiteboard

When could a virtual whiteboard be helpful in VILT?

  • Icebreaker activity
  • Transition activity
  • Group brainstorming
  • Adding learner engagement

Our team tested a virtual whiteboard in Zoom for a team icebreaker activity. The question was simple: “If I could have any gift under $10, it would be…” And the instructions were also simple: Find the sticky note tool and add a sticky note with your answer and name. The result? Fun conversations, a group that felt eased into the topic, and a colorful whiteboard.

whiteboard in zoom with activity from virtual training

Lessons Learned Using a Whiteboard in a VILT Session

After our team icebreaker with the whiteboard, we gathered a few lessons learned:

Changing options on the Zoom Whiteboard.
TIP: Click the three dots in the top right corner of the screen, scroll down to “View,” and you’re able to uncheck “Collaborators Cursors.”
  • Not everyone will immediately know how to use the sticky note feature. If you have a large group and don’t have time for one-on-one coaching, it would be helpful to have a quick “how-to” available.
  • Name your sticky note! We laughed when we realized that we couldn’t tell whose sticky note was whose. 
  • We realized that we could see everyone’s cursors flying across the screen during the conversations, which became quite distracting. We learned how to turn them off so that we could dive into focused conversations.
  • There is a bit of prep required, including testing the tool. It’s important to ensure you have everything set up ahead of time to create a seamless experience for the learners.
  • Sometimes tech doesn’t work despite your prep. It’s key to have your backup plan to accomplish what you need. 

Want to do more with a Virtual Whiteboard?

Zoom has many apps and interactions for whiteboards in addition to the existing built-in feature. Some apps to explore more are Miro, Stormboard, Mural, Limnu, and InVision Freehand.

What did we learn about Whiteboards?

Whiteboards can be a fun way to get learners engaged and brainstorming together. They can bring levity and play to the virtual classroom and aid in helping fellow trainees learn from one another. What have you learned from using a virtual whiteboard? Drop us a line so we can learn with you!

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