How to start an Online Workshop from Scratch?

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How to start a workshop from scratch

Starting an online workshop is now more rewarding than before due to evolving technology and trends. Growing internet usage and new adoptions like artificial intelligence, and virtual reality, have allowed creators to showcase their skills even more.

Online Workshop is a live variant of an online course on digital platforms that is more specific and driven by practical implementation. Here, we dive deeper into the topics while interacting with the students to keep them engaged. Creators start workshops to share their expertise in different industries, tools, techniques, and technologies while demonstrating the whole process in real-time.

Difference between Workshops and Online Courses

Both workshops and online courses get delivered online but have different objectives and outcomes.

Online Workshops

Workshops are live sessions that spread around the period of 2 – 3 sessions. Workshops are more about practical implementation as instructors go with the ‘teach while doing’ methodology. You should communicate all the information related to prerequisites like software installation, hardware specifications, stationery before the workshop.

Online workshops are interactive and also support peer-to-peer learning in many cases. There is a panel discussion with experts at the end to facilitate learning.

Online Courses

Generally, online courses are a one-time thing for instructors as they get pre-recorded. These courses may get divided into multiple classes, and students can attend according to their preference.

Online courses offer more flexibility, but there is little scope of interaction with the course creator. Online courses are more accessible, and there is no fixed interval to attend the program. You can also choose to split the course accordingly.

Conduct an Online Workshop from Scratch

Planning the Workshop

Understand your Audience

This is the most important part, you need to assess the understanding level of your participants and then decide the workshop content. If you are catering to an audience, which is new to the subject, you have to start from the basics. Participants who are already aware of the topic will require in-depth and advanced knowledge. A mix-up in mapping the audience could make the whole exercise irrelevant for the attendees.

For better understanding, you can conduct a small fun quiz during the registration process to make an informed decision. 

Define Learning Objectives

Once you are aware of the audience, you can come up with the learning objectives with ease. These objectives should remain precise and result-oriented. Say, you are conducting a bakery workshop and guiding people to bake the best cheesecake using limited resources. Your content should not only focus on the cheesecake but also on the usage of limited resources.

Initially, knowing these objectives lets you design the content, and organizing the workshop becomes much easier. 

Tip: Don’t try to teach everything you know in a single workshop, people cannot grab that much. The more specific you are, the better it is.

Decide on your Tools

An online workshop is a lot more than you and your participants. The interaction only takes place when the technology is helping you achieve that. A primary setup would require a camera, tripod, noise cancellation microphone, favourable background and a communication platform.

You don’t need to buy anything fancy, a smartphone’s camera works fine most of the time and other equipment like tripods, mics don’t cost much. The most important decision is about the platform to conduct a session with your audience. People use Zoom, Google Meet and other platforms but those are not developed to facilitate online workshops. These platforms are for conducting corporate meetings. 

If you want a full-fledged system, GoSocial is offering one with an ecosystem of creators and followers being under the same roof. You can plan, promote, execute and review the whole workshop on a single platform without going anywhere else. GoSocial is also responsible for handling end-to-end payments for your workshops.

Come up with the most Important Aspects

You have already listed down several objectives. Now is the time to arrange them priority-wise for creating the workshop content.

Next is allocating a definite to each topic. This process will take some time and effort as it requires several iterations. It will also help you decide the flow of information for achieving the desired outcome.

Write down the Workshop Content

Yes, you need to write everything down for a smooth delivery during the workshop. Writing down not only makes delivery easier but lets you look for the gaps that may go unexplored during the planning phase. 

You should treat this as a script and follow it without fail during the workshop. I am not asking you to write everything down in a notebook. You can use slide decks and small handouts to make it easier. 

Written workshop content will help you practice and also determine the time taken by individual parts. You also get an option to decrease or increase the content according to the allocated time. A creator should never stretch or underdeliver due to the lack of practice. 

How to start a workshop from scratch

During the Workshop

Double-check your Microphone, Camera and other Equipment

You want to be bang on with the first impression. Asking “am I audible” during the workshop never helps you in achieving that. Before the workshop, take the help of a friend and ask him/her to become a participant for you. Then check for video/audio quality, internet connection and other aspects to execute with perfection. 

The technology could break down at any time, and we cannot control it, but we can remain proactive to solve the problems. 

Welcome the Participants

Once you have all the attendees on the platform, you need to break the ice. You can start with a joke that resonates with the discussed industry. You can also initiate with your experience or a personal story on how you gained the expertise of the subject.

This part also allows you to know your audience. To make the session more interactive, ask the attendees why they are passionate about this subject. The intent is to make them comfortable and encourage two-way communication.

Set the Expectations Right

You can take everyone through the workshop content and define the principal takeaways. This exercise helps build the mindset, and attendees get prepared for the information coming their way.

You can also go on to ask their expectations and try to incorporate some aspects that seem important and are relevant for the day. You should focus on involving the participants for keeping the essence of a workshop intact.

Group the Participants

This is another way of making the workshop interactive. Group people and provide them with a group task. Grouping also helps peer learning, and participants even stay in touch after the conclusion.

You can also ask the group to discuss the subject among themselves and answer some questions while being in a group. This will help when participants are hesitant and not interacting with other members.

Online workshops could become dull at times but interactive activities like grouping help to keep the morale high. 

Take Questions for Discussion

Generally, a workshop ends with a panel discussion, but if you cannot get other experts on board, you can alone take the questions as well. Rather than a question/answer session, it should be a discussion to explain the topics discussed on the day.

There is a chance of missing some aspects, and discussions help fill that void. A healthy discussion helps in relationship building, which works as an incentive to register again.

End with Certain Takeaways

Once done with the discussion, you should end with some learnings. You can list down all the topics covered along with the key takeaways of the day. You can also share the details of upcoming workshops here. To make it more interesting, reserve one trick for the later part and show it to the participants so that they sign off with satisfaction.

You should open a discussion forum, where people can share their insights and also ask questions if they get stuck while implementing. 

After completing the Workshop

Share Feedback Forms

After the completion, share a feedback form with all the participants and make sure that they fill it right there. You should allocate 10 minutes to this exercise as getting post-workshop inputs is difficult.

You can also try to incentivize them with a discount on the next workshop or any other benefit so that you get a chance to know more. 

Be prepared for some interesting answers coming your way.

How to start a workshop from scratch

Review and Improve

After getting the feedback, you get a chance to review your performance and make changes suggested by the participants. Be prepared for praises and criticism as both are part of this game.

There is nothing better for creators than honest feedback from their fans. This is another way of building a connection that helps you improve with time.

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