25 de mai de 2021

How to use breakout rooms for interactive and interesting learning sessions

TREINAMENTO 4 minutos de leitura

A breakout room is a virtual space separate from the main online session, containing a small number of participants. Only those present can hear the discussion, read chat messages and share content, giving way to quality interaction and in-depth collaboration. 

Why use breakout rooms? 

  • foster meaningful connection between participants by creating opportunities for in-depth collaboration and positive interactions
  • allow for a thorough exploration of topics and productive brainstorming, encouraging discussions and critical thinking
  • maintain participants´ focus or re-engage them, making the learning process more effective; especially if they are led in a purpose-built learning environment like a virtual classroom
  • serve as a break from presenting to an entire audience, giving instructors the opportunity to assist and assess their participants closely. 
  • support introverted participants who might be reluctant to share their thoughts in a larger group setting. Breakout rooms will make them feel more comfortable and open to speak up.
  • explore targeted content, that’s of interest to some but not all participants. Just split participants into breakout rooms based on topics, skill levels, experience or preference.
Top 5 activities for breakout rooms 

  1. Icebreakers. Since you will most likely have participants from several geographical areas that might have never met each other before, start the learning journey by making learners get to know each other more closely. 

  2. Problem solving. Present participants with a problem, such as a business case to be solved, and ask them to work together, brainstorm towards a solution and then present the results in the main session. 

  3. Situation-based role-playing. Help learners improve their sales or customer skills by practising them in breakout sessions in small groups of 2-3 people. Ask them to share in the main session what they learned. 

  4. Four corners debate. Share a statement with your participants and ask them to take a stance: strongly agree, agree, disagree and strongly disagree. Split them into breakout rooms based on their chosen stance and ask them to develop an argument. 

  5. Networking and socialization. Whether you´re setting 5-10 minutes more for an activity so people can chat, organizing an informal virtual quiz, apéro or speed networking session, use breakout rooms so participants can get to know each other better than in a larger group setting. 

While breakout rooms are a great tool in teaching and training, you also need to consider a series of best practices to ensure they run smoothly and successfully. To make the best out of breakout-room sessions, here are our five tips! 

5 tips to make the best out of breakout rooms 

  1. Communicate in advance that you will be using breakout rooms. It will help them mentally prepare for collaborative, in-depth work and might even give them something to look forward to in the virtual learning session. 
  2. Time breakouts strategically. Make sure you are not hosting too many breakouts throughout the live learning session - 1 or 2 should suffice. Schedule them halfway through to have time to introduce the general concepts but also for clarifications and wrap-up at the end.
  3. Make the task clear. Ensure you give detailed explanations of the task learners have to complete, what the exact outcome should be as well as how long they have to work on it.
  4. Share instructions for the breakout activity so that participants can easily access them when needed. 
  5. Assign 2 to 6 people per group for an optimal experience and encourage participants to take on roles in the breakout room: someone who will take notes, someone who will present the conclusions in the main session, etc.  

Barco tech offers real-life interaction and engagement 

With the enhanced breakout rooms, the Barco weConnect virtual classroom supports your efforts to create quality interaction and in-depth collaboration among your learners while teaching and training remotely. 

The feature is designed for high-quality engagement and has been designed to overcome the challenges in the education and training world.  
Instructors stay fully connected to their audience while keeping a steady flow during the session. They can prepare the breakout rooms using several options of splitting participants. During sessions, they keep visual contact with everyone, spot participants asking for help and share content in the main room – content that will be visible also from the breakout rooms. 
Learners can freely collaborate and access shared breakout content, as well as the content from the main session. They can easily switch between multiple available content views. They can ask questions, including silent ones, chat with peers, answer polls and quizzes, draw or add pins to the whiteboard.