Seminar für ländliche Entwicklung

Do's and Dont's in online trainings with Gregrory Pearn - from a trainer's point of view

Gregory Pearn is an experienced disaster risk management training facilitator and consultant, who is passionate about the topic and its application in different contexts. He has worked as a consultant in numerous projects focusing on institutional frameworks and capacity development for disaster risk management, particularly in Asian countries. As a training facilitator, Gregory’s approach is objective-oriented, participatory, and with a focus on applying new knowledge and skills in the post-training working environment.

Click on the titles to listen to his responses!

  • Gregory Pearn
  • 10+ years as DRM specialist including capacity development & training
  • Working for NIRAS-IP Consult
  • Collaboration with SLE TRAINING – designing and delivering training on Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation
  • invited to share some of my training ideas and experiences
  • As DRM trainer, participatory training face-to-face has always been a big part of the methodology
  • Since COVID, more focus on online trainings

Do engage participants:

  • Active participants, not passive
    behind the computer.
  • Extra effort at the start to engage
    each individual.
  • Try to not only encourage trainertrainee interactions, but also
    trainee-trainee interactions.
  • Use different online tools: not only
    PowerPoint and plenary
    discussions! Quizzes, polls,
    interactive whiteboards, group
  • Set some ground rules: what trainers expect of trainees (for example, switching off the
    phones, notifications of the computer to reduce any distraction), and what trainers do to try
    and meet trainee needs and expectations

One of my favorite ways to engage participants is to ask the question: “If you were not for example a project officer, working for an NGO, what would you be doing instead? What is your other career path?”

Sometimes you find out some funny and very interesting careers or ideas. Maybe the person is passionate about painting, and would love to be a painter. Or they are passionate about the outdoors and they would love to spend the whole day working on a farm.

So, I find this is a nice way to engage the participants and is an example also of an energizer activity for a training.

Energizers – small exercises between technical & content exercises that help to motivate and energize the participants o

  • At least as important for online trainings (but not all f2f ones are applicable to online versions)
  • My favorite online energizer: “Find something blue” – everyone has to find something blue in the room and come back to the camera; the quickest person can then decide what new item has to be found (e.g. something yellow)!
  • Sometimes you really need to run into another room, so it keeps everybody active!

Type of exercises:

  • Step-by-step interactive group work using online interactive whiteboards
  • Particularly good for group exercises, to bring e.g. introduced theories and concepts into practice.
  • Helps in engaging and interacting participants
  • Do set up the online tools in advance
  • Create, check, and double and triple check the links to interactive tools and group rooms.
  • Try to avoid any participants left hanging between virtual rooms
  • Easy to lose time in the online universe, and training time is precious.
  • Don’t lose energy
  • I am a big believer that the trainer’s behaviour, body language, voice, expressions contribute to the learning process in a participative training course.
  • But in online training, some of this is just not available to the trainer e.g. body language.
  • So, it is important to “gear up” the trainer’s available behaviour, voice, and expressions.
  • The result = surprisingly tiring experience, even though the trainer is in fact mostly sitting behind the computer!
  • In the end I am sometimes more exhausted after an online training than after a face-to-face training due to this extra effort!
  • With each online training course, it is always a learning experience for the trainer, where she or he finds out what works well or what did not work so well
  • This helps to improve for the next training course o I am currently preparing another SLE Training on
  • Thank you to SLE for this opportunity to share my experiences and wishing it all the best for the jubilee.