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Distance learning: how to engage a remote audience


Distance learning: how to engage a remote audience

26.03.2020 • 4 minutes

How to engage a remote audience

In the early hours of February 27th, 2020, Wooclap Data Scientist Florian Zenoni made his way through the rainy streets of Brussels. He’d been scheduled to speak at the ASEAN University Network Technology Enhanced Personalised Learning (AUN-TEPL) Symposium in Singapore, an event hosted by one of Wooclap’s partners, Singapore Management University (SMU). Originally scheduled to be held at SMU, the symposium was converted to a virtual event in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to make sure overseas attendees and speakers could be present. In the end, more than 180 educators from 51 universities attended the half-day online symposium, a new experience for both the event’s audiences and its speakers.

The irony wasn’t lost on Florian: having been invited to speak at a Symposium that promotes best practices in the use of technology in education, he would have to rely on that very technology to deliver his presentation. As it turns out, this was the perfect opportunity to show Wooclap’s usefulness in a distance learning setting. After all, if he could use the classroom response system to engage a live audience 7 time zones and ten thousand kilometers away, that would mean teachers could use Wooclap during any lecture, whether in-class, remote or hybrid.

2 challenges

The first and major challenge Florian faced was one teachers know all too well: how to draw the audience’s attention and keep it for the duration of his talk. The answer was simple: interact with them, involve them in the presentation to increase their engagement and draw them in. Wooclap’s real-time interactions fit that role perfectly: by engaging the attendees with ice breakers, polls and other interactive activities, Florian could help the audience focus their attention on the content of his talk.

The second challenge was identified and solved just as quickly: Florian needed a way for the audience to ask questions live. Since he would face an auditorium through a computer screen and a webcam, identifying attendees who wanted to ask a question would prove difficult. “In addition”, he thought, “no matter how extroverted a person may be, asking them to shout their questions at a computer at the front of the room would be pushing it.” At any rate, he already had a solution in mind and at hand: Wooclap’s message wall allows any participant to ask their questions any time they want during the presentation, anonymously. The message wall also allows audience members to “like” questions they find interesting so the speaker knows which ones they consider most pressing.

The result

More than 60 people actively participated in Florian’s presentation by asking and answering questions about analysing learning behaviour, improving in-class interaction with students, and collecting student feedback.

He was a quarter of the globe away from his audience, but thanks to the Webex video conferencing tool and Wooclap’s real-time interactive features, he may as well have been in the adjoining room. Incidentally, the people in adjoining rooms were attending other presentations, and Wooclap was there to help them interact with each other too.

Curious about the presentation’s content and what it looked like ? You can watch the replay on the Singapore Management University website.

Team Wooclap after a successful remote online presentation

This picture of Florian and his teammates was taken after the event. Judging by their facial expressions, the presentation was a great success!

Wooclap and distance learning

As Florian’s interactive presentation demonstrated, Wooclap helps provide attendees with the best possible experience, whether that experience is live or virtual. Drawing the audience’s attention and stimulating their engagement is crucial, and particularly difficult in remote, online, and hybrid learning sessions.

If you want to discover how Wooclap can turn any remote or online event - a lecture, conference, meeting, etc. - into an engaging experience, check out our available resources!

Discover how Wooclap can help make distance learning engaging


Gauthier Lebbe, Content Editor @Wooclap

Gauthier Lebbe

Content Editor @Wooclap. I love to write, learn, write about learning, and learn about writing. And hit readers with puns they don't see coming. You know, sucker puns.

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