How to Use In-Person and Remote Learning Resources to Support Collaboration

Bringing stakeholders together frequently helps maintain their engagement in an initiative. For one, it gives everyone great insight into what different teams have been working on recently and lets folks “steal shamelessly” from those who are having success. Especially for in-person meetings, it is an opportunity for participants to get to know and meet one another. Sometimes people actually meet in person for the first time at these type of events.

The Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (Infant Mortality CoIIN) recently convened its fifth learning session. This was an in-person meeting of over 300 people that sought to bring together all of the participants in our national effort to test and implement strategies for improving health outcomes for every infant in the United States. Of course, not every stakeholder in a large initiative like IM CoIIN can get together in one place at one time. This is where remote learning techniques and new technology are necessities: Everyone can be involved and engaged no matter their location.

Here are a few techniques NICHQ uses to further learning, participation and collaboration for both in-person and remote participants:

  1. Livestreaming – Expert presentations and panels tend to be fruitful parts of large meetings. By livestreaming sessions, remote participants will be able to learn the same lessons as their in-person peers. Even in cases when they can’t ask questions or interact with speakers, remote participants get to listen to whole discussions as they happen. Be sure to have a promotion strategy for the livestreaming so that participants know they’re available. Even a reminder in a regular newsletter can help ensure that people access them later.
  2. Adapt activities – Some activities for in-person attendees might not translate well to remote attendees. Search for ways to adapt exercises so that they’re interesting to everyone regardless of their location to maintain engagement. For instance, storyboard sessions are an exciting opportunity for teams to share their work and progress, but some of the energy might not be obvious to online viewers. But showing storyboards to the remote audience can at least ensure they are on the same page with the content.
  3. Keep Time in Mind – In-person learning sessions are usually eight hours, which can be a long time for remote participants. Having networking opportunities can break up the day for everyone, giving live attendees a chance to meet each other and remote viewers to step away from their computers. It is important to be aware of the audience’s learning needs. Occasionally this requires flexibility and adjustments to the agenda. Be aware that people participating remotely may expect to tune in to a meeting session at 3 p.m., so be mindful of even small shifts of 10 to 15 minutes in a schedule, which have implications for remote attendees. Consider a communication strategy or make a “live” agenda available to share changes.