Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Training through Twitter: It IS possible!

I recently facilitated an evening workshop for the CSTD Toronto Chapter. The aim of the workshop, 'Training through Twitter: It IS possible!', was to help people working in the Learning and Development field see that Twitter is a valuable and viable training tool.

As my approach to workshop facilitation is to always have as much hands-on interaction as possible, I planned to use Twitter the entire evening, and had pre-published some tweets in advance by using HootSuite's Publisher feature. No Power Point slides, just tweets on the screen all night!

I used Twitter to introduce the Learning Objectives for the evening:

I then set up the ice-breaker via pre-published tweets as well:

The ice-breaker, with tweets appearing on the screen in real time, accomplished a number of things: 
  • It helped me see who had what level of experience using Twitter, so I could form groups accordingly.
  • It got participants using some of the 'hallmarks' of Twitter right off the bat: tweet, hashtag, retweet and mention. 
  • It facilitated social learning as groups at each table were helping each other to tweet, learn and use Twitter correctly. 
  • It briefly had participants already thinking about Twitter as a customer service tool, which warmed them up for the main activity. 
  • It was damn fun! Lots of laughter and engagement! 
The main activity, a training challenge, was also explained via pre-published tweets:

Rather than have me as the 'Sage on the Stage' explaining how to use Twitter as a training tool, I had the groups dig in, use Twitter and come up with a solution to my training challenge: Use only Twitter to train a group of CSR's -customer service representatives - how to provide effective customer service on Twitter. The groups' solutions were then to be tweeted in 15 tweets maximum under a given hashtag, rather than presenting in front of the 'class' on chart paper. 
*(NOTE: Unfortunately, yours truly didn't realize that Twitter only allows search for past tweets up to a week into the past, so I can't send you to the hashtags to see the wonderful solutions! Sorry.)

I was blown away by the full-on engagement, the wonderful ideas and the social learning that was taking place once all five groups dug right into the Twitter mud and got their hands dirty! It was fantastic, exciting and so much fun! 

Here are some of the tweets explaining some solutions to the training challenge: 

I was very pleased with how the evening went and that everyone who attended gained a fresh new perspective on how Twitter, an increasingly ubiquitous platform that to some is still threatening, can be a powerful and useful tool for training. 

How about you? Have you trained through Twitter? 

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