Categories
productivity remote work Whiteboard

How to Use Online Whiteboards for Effective Problem-Solving

Effective problem-solving is at the heart of innovation and success, especially for agile teams. Teams need to quickly identify issues, brainstorm solutions, implement strategies efficiently, and adopt technology tools to help. Online whiteboards are a popular tool for distributed teams and have revolutionized the way we approach these challenges, helping teams collaborate visually and structure their thoughts in real-time, no matter where they are. Below, we explore how to harness the power of online whiteboards for problem-solving, dive into various problem-solving strategies, and introduce Frameable Whiteboard as a top-tier tool designed for structured thinking.

The Power of Online Whiteboards in Problem-Solving

What is an Online Whiteboard?

An online whiteboard is a digital tool that mimics the functionality of a physical whiteboard but with enhanced features such as real-time collaboration, drawing and annotation tools, and more. These features allow users to brainstorm, organize ideas, and develop solutions in a virtual canvas accessible from anywhere.

Why Use Online Whiteboards?

Online whiteboards bring several advantages to the table, especially when it comes to problem-solving:

  • Collaboration: Teams can work together in real-time, regardless of their geographical location.
  • Visualization: Concepts and ideas can be illustrated with diagrams, mind maps, and other visual aids.
  • Organization: Notes, images, and other resources can be organized on an infinite canvas, making it easier to see the big picture.
  • Accessibility: All changes are saved in the cloud, ensuring that the latest version is always available to all team members.

Developing Problem-Solving Skills with Online Whiteboards

Structured Visual Thinking

Effective problem-solving often requires structured visual thinking, which involves organizing and processing information visually to enhance understanding and communication. Online whiteboards excel in facilitating this by offering various templates and tools that help structure thoughts and ideas clearly and logically.

Problem-Solving Strategies

Here are some key problem-solving strategies that can be enhanced through the use of online whiteboards:

  1. Brainstorming: This initial stage involves generating as many ideas as possible. Online whiteboards provide a collaborative platform where all team members can contribute ideas simultaneously on a blank canvas.
  2. Mind Mapping: This technique helps in organizing thoughts and ideas around a central concept. By creating a mind map on an online whiteboard, teams can visually explore and connect different aspects of a problem.
  3. SWOT Analysis: This strategy involves analyzing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to a problem. Online whiteboards can be used to create a structured SWOT analysis chart, to help you identify and comprehensively assess various factors affecting the problem at hand.

Approaching Complex Problems with Online Whiteboards

When it comes to complex problem-solving, structured thinking is crucial. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to approach a complex problem using an online whiteboard as a canvas for organizing your thoughts:

  1. Define the Problem: Clearly articulate the problem statement. This step should always be followed for effective problem-solving.
  2. Gather Information: Collect relevant data and insights and add this information to your online whiteboard so everything you need is organized in one place.
  3. Identify Possible Solutions: Brainstorm potential solutions and create a mind map to explore different ideas. If you’ve never created a mind map, there are plenty of mind map templates to help you get started.
  4. Evaluate Solutions: Use online whiteboards to create SWOT analysis or decision trees to evaluate the pros and cons of each solution.
  5. Implement the Solution: Develop an action plan in an online whiteboard and assign tasks to teammates using the whiteboard’s collaborative features such as tags and comments.
  6. Monitor and Review: Track progress and make necessary adjustments. Online whiteboards allow for unlimited updates and revisions.

Frameable Whiteboard: Built for Structured Thinking

Frameable Whiteboard is a premier online whiteboard designed specifically for structured thinking and problem-solving. It offers a suite of features tailored to facilitate complex and effective problem-solving strategies:

Nested Cards: Frameable Whiteboard allows users to create nested cards, which are perfect for breaking down complex problems into manageable parts. This feature supports structured visual thinking by helping users organize information hierarchically.

Templates for Structured Thinking: Frameable Whiteboard provides a variety of templates, including Business Model Canvas, SWOT Analysis, Concept Map, Mind Map, and Decision Tree. These templates are designed to guide users through structured problem-solving processes.

Real-Time Collaboration: Teams can collaborate in real-time, making it easy to brainstorm ideas, develop strategies, and track progress together, regardless of location.

Tips for Maximizing the Use of Online Whiteboards

Establish Clear Objectives

Before diving into a brainstorming or problem-solving session, establish clear objectives. Knowing what you aim to achieve keeps the team focused and ensures that the session is productive. Use the online whiteboard to list these objectives visibly so everyone stays aligned and on-task.

Encourage Participation

To harness the full potential of your team’s creativity and problem-solving skills, encourage participation from all members. Online whiteboards allow for real-time contributions, so ensure that everyone has the opportunity to share their ideas with time-boxed opportunities to do so in these sessions. This inclusive approach can uncover insights that might otherwise be missed.

Utilize Templates

Frameable Whiteboard offers a variety of templates designed for structured thinking. Take advantage of these templates to streamline your problem-solving process. Whether it’s a SWOT analysis or a mind map, these tools provide a structured format that can help organize and visualize your thoughts.

Break Down Problems

Complex problems can often feel overwhelming. Use nested cards on Frameable Whiteboard to break down these problems into smaller, more manageable parts. This hierarchical organization makes it easier to tackle each aspect of the problem methodically and completely.

Track Progress

An effective problem-solving process doesn’t end once a solution is implemented. Continuously track progress and make adjustments as needed. Online whiteboards allow you to update your plans in real time, ensuring that your team stays on track and any new issues are promptly addressed.

Leverage Visual Aids

Visual aids such as arrows and shapes can significantly enhance understanding and communication. Use these features on your online whiteboard to illustrate complex relationships and ideas, making it easier for the team to grasp and analyze information.

Transform Your Problem-Solving Approach

Online whiteboards are powerful tools for enhancing problem-solving skills and strategies. By facilitating structured visual thinking and real-time collaboration, they enable teams to tackle complex problems effectively. Frameable Whiteboard, with its suite of features designed for structured thinking, stands out as an ideal solution for teams looking to enhance their problem-solving processes.

Ready to elevate your problem-solving skills? Get started with Frameable Whiteboard for free and experience the power of structured visual thinking in action. Visit Frameable Whiteboard to sign up and begin your journey towards more effective problem-solving today! 

Problem solving made easy with structured-thinking practices

Learn more

Categories
Hybrid work productivity

5 Best Online Whiteboards for Better Virtual Collaboration

A version of this blog originally appeared on our LinkedIn.

Whether you’re part of a remote, hybrid, or distributed team brainstorming ideas, a designer collaborating on a visual project, or an educator conducting a virtual class, an online whiteboard can be a game-changer. These digital tools bring the best parts of in-person collaboration into the virtual space, making it easy to visualize ideas, organize projects, and work together seamlessly, no matter where you are. Here we explore the top five online whiteboards for enhanced virtual collaboration, each designed to meet diverse user needs and use cases.

1. Best Whiteboard for Project Management: Miro

Miro is a powerhouse in online whiteboards, currently ranking as a Leader in the G2 Grid Report for Collaborative Whiteboards. It is renowned for its versatility and comprehensive feature set, making it ideal for project managers.

  • Collaboration: Miro boasts a wide array of real-time collaboration with features like sticky notes, mind maps, wireframes, and Kanban boards, which are perfect for agile project management.
  • Templates: It offers a wide variety of templates to kickstart your projects, from sprint planning to retrospective boards. Explore hundreds of other community-made templates and even submit your own to the Miro-verse.
  • Integrations: Miro integrates seamlessly with widely used project management tech tools like Asana, Trello, Slack, and Jira, making task tracking and status updates easy.
  • User-Friendly: Its intuitive interface ensures that team members can quickly adapt and start collaborating without a steep learning curve.

2. Best Whiteboard for Design: FigJam

FigJam, a product of Figma, is designed with visual projects in mind, making it the top choice for graphic designers.

  • Visual Collaboration: With an infinite canvas and high-resolution image support, FigJam allows designers to share detailed visuals and feedback.
  • Feedback and Annotations: Designers can give and receive visual feedback through comments, annotations, and even voice recordings, facilitating clear communication, quick iterations, and streamlined review processes.
  • Integration: Since FigJam was developed by Figma, it integrates effortlessly with Figma’s design tools. Designers can easily switch between designing in Figma and brainstorming or planning in FigJam.
  • Templates and Widgets: FigJam offers various templates and widgets designed for design-related activities, such as wireframes, user journey maps, and personas. These resources help designers quickly set up their boards and focus on the creative process.

3. Best Free Online Whiteboard: Google Jamboard

Google Jamboard is the top pick for those seeking a robust, cost-effective solution.

  • Integration with Google Workspace: Jamboard is deeply integrated with Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), allowing quick access and collaboration with other Google apps like Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides.
  • Real-Time Collaboration: It supports simultaneous editing and sharing, making it perfect for remote brainstorming sessions.
  • Free to Use: As part of Google Workspace for Education and Google Workspace Essentials, Jamboard is free to use, making it accessible for educational institutions, businesses, and individuals without additional costs.
  • Cloud Storage and Auto-Save: All Jamboard sessions are automatically saved to Google Drive, ensuring that users’ work is securely stored in the cloud and can be easily accessed and shared later.

4. Best Whiteboard for Structured Thinking: Frameable Whiteboard

Frameable Whiteboard, recently ranked as a Niche player on the G2 Grid Report, stands out for its ability to facilitate structured thinking and complex problem-solving, making it ideal for operations teams needing to break down intricate projects and process mapping.

  • Nested Cards: Frameable allows users to nest cards within each other, enabling a detailed and organized representation of complex ideas.
  • Templates: Frameable’s Whiteboard comes with a variety of professionally built templates, including SWOT analysis, mind maps, and business model canvases, to get you started on all types of individual or team whiteboarding activities.
  • Real-Time Collaboration: Teams can work together in real-time, with features like in-call sharing, comments, and reactions enhancing the collaborative experience.
  • Microsoft Teams Integration: Its seamless integration with Microsoft Teams makes it a natural choice for organizations already using this platform for communication whether inside or outside of a video call.
  • Free to Use: Frameable also offers a free basic version of its Whiteboard allowing users to get started with their bright ideas without any commitments.

5. Best Whiteboard for Training: Lucidspark

Lucidspark is an excellent choice for those looking for tools to support virtual training with features that cater specifically to facilitators and trainees.

  • Real-Time Collaboration: It supports real-time editing and commenting, making it easy for facilitators and trainees to collaborate simultaneously and see each other’s contributions.
  • Breakout Boards: Lucidspark allows teams to split into smaller groups within the same session, facilitating focused brainstorming and discussions before bringing ideas back to the main board.
  • Voting and Dot Voting: Includes built-in voting tools that help teams prioritize ideas and make decisions collaboratively in brainstorming sessions and workshops.
  • Facilitator Mode: Designed for meeting facilitators, this mode allows the leader to guide the session, manage the flow of activities, and keep the team focused. Facilitators can highlight areas, start timers, and manage participant permissions.

Next Steps

Choosing the right online whiteboard can significantly enhance your team’s productivity and collaboration. Whether you’re a project manager, graphic designer, or educator, there’s a virtual whiteboard tailored to your specific needs. Miro offers unparalleled versatility for project management, FigJam excels in visual collaboration for designers, Google Jamboard provides a great free solution, Frameable Whiteboard enhances structured thinking and real-time collaboration, and Lucidspark serves as an interactive tool for training purposes. Remember to consider your team’s current and future needs when selecting new tools, and further explore these options to find the perfect fit for your team’s collaborative efforts.

Get started with Frameable Whiteboard for free today!

Try Frameable Whiteboard for free

Sign up now
Categories
Future of work online meetings productivity remote work

7 Whiteboard Templates for Reimagined Collaboration and Improved Processes

Processes, workflows, and team goals are constantly evolving regardless of the size of your organization, and collaboration tools are essential for documenting and maintaining all of them. Among these tools, online whiteboard applications are indispensable for teams to brainstorm, plan, and track projects visually and collaboratively. To maximize the benefits of these tools, using the right templates can transform how your team works together. We’ve gathered seven of our most popular templates that you can use today to reimagine and reinvigorate any of your collaborative workflows.

7 Different Templates to Try

  1. Organizational Chart

While internal HR systems make it easy for team members to see who their leaders or direct reports are, they often take time to update and are often not as flexible as we’d like them to be. A standard org chart is useful, but a dynamic chart showing relationships between your team and other teams, departments, or external partners can better illustrate your workflows.

  1. Customer Journey Mapping

Customer journey mapping is essential for marketing teams as well as sales and product teams. -Mapping the entire customer life cycle helps your team understand your customers, their goals, and their experience with your product. Building a clear customer journey helps to surface potential gaps in both the market and the product that your team can work to fill in your industry.

  1. SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis

SWOT analysis helps teams of all sizes and calibers make informed decisions and prioritize the next steps for improving the outcomes of any organization. By regularly identifying and leveraging their strengths, teams can achieve their goals more efficiently and boost morale, often leading to higher productivity. Recognizing weaknesses, spotting opportunities, and identifying threats help teams improve, innovate, and manage risks to stay competitive and forward-thinking. 

  1. User Story Map

While marketing, sales, and support teams will need to utilize the broader Customer Journey template mentioned above, engineering, product development, and quality assurance teams will find benefits in the User Story map. This helps teams visualize the end user’s journey within your product, ensuring a clear understanding of user needs and goals. Organizing and prioritizing user stories streamlines product development, ensuring efficient and focused progress. Additionally, user story mapping aids in identifying gaps and dependencies in various product workflows, so you can ensure a high-quality product is delivered. This approach can further enhance collaboration among team members, promote a user-centric development process, and ensure that the final product aligns with your users’ expectations. 

  1. Process Mapping

Process mapping offers significant benefits to your organization. It helps teams visualize workflows and understand the sequence of activities involved in a process. Documenting frequently repeated processes enables your team to work more independently, reducing the need for assistance Outlined processes also make it easier for leaders to identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks, enabling teams to streamline operations and improve their productivity. Clearly outlining processes promotes better communication and collaboration for cross-functional teams, makes aligning team members on process steps and objectives easier, and standardizes procedures for consistency and quality.

  1. Eisenhower Decision Matrix

The Eisenhower Decision Matrix is a tried and true approach to task prioritization. It helps prioritize tasks by categorizing them based on urgency and importance, ensuring that high-priority tasks receive the most attention. Doing so improves time management and helps reduce the stress in decision-making, as individuals can focus on what truly matters without being overwhelmed by less critical tasks. This approach increases productivity by helping people work more efficiently and effectively. Additionally, it ensures that focus remains on high-impact activities that contribute significantly to personal and organizational goals, ultimately leading to better outcomes and success.

  1. Kanban Framework

The Kanban method brings several great benefits to the table for task management and tracking. It uses a simple board system to visualize tasks, so teams can easily see what’s being worked on and spot any bottlenecks. By setting limits on how much work is in progress, the Kanban system helps keep your team’s workload balanced and aids in reducing inefficiencies. Use this board to help improve teamwork and communication since everyone can track progress and stay on the same page. Plus, Kanban encourages regular reviews and tweaks to processes, leading to better productivity and a smoother workflow overall.

Customizing Templates in Whiteboard

While there are many more professionally designed templates available for your team to use in Whiteboard,- you can also easily create and save your own templates to meet all of your collaboration needs.

When you’re ready to get more from your whiteboard, get started for free with Frameable Whiteboard.

Rethink your team collaboration with Whiteboard

Try for free
Categories
Hybrid work remote work Virtual Training

5 Essential Tools You Need For Effective Virtual Instructor-Led Training

Online learning isn’t just an alternative option to face-to-face training—it’s become the backbone of employee training and development. With remote, hybrid, and distributed work models cemented into many organizations, there is an increasing demand for powerful virtual training tools that can provide just as high of a return on your investment as in-person training. Dive into this exploration of five essential tools that promise to transform your Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) sessions, maximizing engagement, productivity, and impact.

1. Interactive Whiteboards

Interactive whiteboards are indispensable for VILT, enabling instructors to present ideas and concepts visually and interactively. Tools like Miro or Whiteboard by Frameable allow participants to contribute in real-time, fostering a collaborative space where ideas can flourish and group thinking can affect productive learning. Whether mapping out timelines, drawing diagrams, or brainstorming with sticky notes, these whiteboards make virtual training sessions more tactile and engaging, helping participants feel connected despite the physical distance.

2. Polling and Quiz Tools

To keep participants active and engaged, incorporating interactive elements like polls and quizzes is an easy and quick solution to shake up any lesson. Tools like Kahoot! and Poll Everywhere facilitate real-time interaction, providing instant feedback to trainers and learners alike. These tools are fantastic for breaking up longer sessions, assessing knowledge retention, and encouraging participation, making learning both interactive and effective.

3. Digital Breakout Rooms

Platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams all offer digital breakout rooms, a crucial feature for successful VILT. These rooms allow participants to work in smaller groups on exercises or discussions, allowing training to function as it does in a classroom setting. Breakout rooms are perfect for small group discussions, working sessions, and teamwork exercises, helping to break the monotony of longer training sessions and ensuring that every participant can contribute meaningfully. For the most effective breakout sessions, try Overview by Frameable, which offers a single view of all concurrent training sessions in real time. It allows trainees to join the right sessions at the right time. It even allows trainers to easily host office hours so that any questions get answered promptly as they come up.

4. Multiple Screen Sharing

If your organization uses Microsoft Teams (and a whopping one million organizations do), you may have noticed the limitation in sharing multiple screens simultaneously during video conferencing. Yet, the ability to share multiple screens simultaneously is essential for effective collaborative training sessions. MultiShare by Frameable allows participants to share multiple screens in a Microsoft Teams call. Multishare is a tool that enables instructors to monitor the learning process effectively. With the capability to view all trainees’ screens simultaneously, instructors can effortlessly track progress and quickly identify areas where trainees may be facing challenges. This real-time oversight allows for immediate intervention and support, ensuring that no one falls behind during the session.

5. Asynchronous Learning Platforms

Not everyone learns at the same pace, and sometimes it’s impossible to coordinate a training time with a dispersed, global team. Having on-demand or recorded training sessions allows trainees to refresh and absorb all of the content at a pace that works best for them. Asynchronous tools such as Loom or Frame.io complement live training sessions by allowing participants to access pre-recorded videos, readings, and exercises at their convenience. These platforms empower trainees to review content at their own pace, which is particularly beneficial for reinforcing learning or accommodating different time zones.

Integration and Implementation:

Implementing new tools often causes a lot of complications and looping in internal technology teams to help with accessing your organization’s infrastructure. It’s essential to both identify the tools that work best for your training sessions and also integrate them with existing systems. To make it easy on trainers and organizations, consider solutions that are already available inside of the tools your organization uses, or explore add-ons that enhance existing functionality. Using familiar tools means your teams won’t have to spend more time getting acquainted with a new system before they can start learning.

The Future of VILT in Microsoft Teams

Virtual instructor-led training doesn’t have to be a second-best alternative to face-to-face interactions. With the right tools, VILT can be just as engaging, interactive, and effective in Microsoft Teams. Ready to transform your virtual training sessions in Microsoft Teams? Discover how Frameable can elevate your VILT experience. Whether you’re looking to foster better visibility, encourage spontaneous collaboration, or simply make your training sessions more engaging, Frameable has you covered for virtual training.

Try Frameable for virtual training

Try now
Categories
Future of work productivity remote work Virtual Training

Mastering Engagement in Virtual Training: Key Strategies for Success

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.

Organizations that want to retain top talent and stay ahead of the curve know that remote and hybrid work arrangements are critical to their success. This crucial realization also comes with a new need: providing new hires, current employees, and potentially many others with an effective and engaging path to getting trained on company policies and procedures, professional development resources, ongoing learning. Translating an engaging and successful in-person lecture or course into virtual content, live or otherwise, is not necessarily a straightforward path, especially if you want to ensure trainees leave having had a high-quality experience.

Understanding the Virtual Training Landscape

The world of virtual training is marked by plenty of ever-changing trends and challenges. But one core issue remains: how to captivate and maintain your audience’s attention in an environment rife with distractions and the temptation to do anything else besides pay attention to the content (like answering emails or scrolling on your phone). Below, we dive into a variety of strategies for virtual training for overcoming these hurdles, so you can transform passive learners into active and engaged participants.

What Makes a Virtual Training Engaging?

There is a difference between adding shocking facts into a training session and providing true value comes down to making your content as relevant to the learner as possible. Think back on your current virtual training set-up and content plan: How can you include new or surprising ways to share the information you need to get across? How can you connect your content to real-world applications that learners will encounter in the workplace and beyond?

When learners are presented with content in a way that makes it easy to absorb and relevant to them, they are more likely to stay focused, engaged, and retain the information you are sharing. This can come in any form of training: live instructor-led sessions, pre-recorded training videos, or interactive quizzes. The crucial element remains the same: make sure your trainees leave the session feeling like what they learned is crucial to their success and relevant to their job. Learners who leave sessions feeling energized and capable are a huge win for trainers and their organization’s bottom line. 

When you start with this approach, instead of repeating the same processes, you’re likely to discover room for improvement in both your content and how you deliver it.

Strategies for Virtual Training Success

The virtual environment requires a new approach to teaching methods. Virtual learning can be uncomfortable or hinder community building without clear instructions due to a lack of established social norms. While some students may feel exceptionally comfortable in a virtual learning environment, not everyone will.

This offers you, the instructor, the opportunity to be exceptionally prescriptive when assigning group projects or having students disperse into virtual breakout rooms during a call. By taking away some of the worry and anxiety that can come from uncertainty, you can better equip your students with the information they need to focus on the task at hand and find the value in what is currently on the docket.

Furthermore, when it comes time to break out into sessions or develop new modules, you will also want to rethink how you disseminate different lessons. Repeating the same slide show and lecture format can become exceptionally arduous in a virtual classroom. While sometimes it is unavoidable, there are other approaches to consider when developing lesson plans that drive better student engagement and participation.

Consider how your team can implement a variety of the following:

  • Personalized learning paths: for small class sizes or one-on-one training, consider spending time getting to know the individual goals of your student or students
  • Gamification of certain modules: Explore Kahoot, Quizlet, and many others that can make learning more fun and aid in content retention.
  • Dynamic, visual content: Instead of classic slideshow presentations explore options such as Prezi for redefining how you develop lectures.
  • Video-based lessons
  • Peer-review assignments

Building Community Through Virtual Training

Community building is essential for sustaining long-term engagement and for creating a sense of belonging. Regular check-ins, group projects, and social forums can help in crafting an inclusive and supportive community. Utilizing approved internal channels or other connection platforms helps to make the learning experience more comprehensive and integrated into participants’ daily lives.

Measuring the Success and ROI of Virtual Training

Measuring the success of virtual training can come in a variety of forms. This can include closing larger sales, reducing turnover, increasing in-house promotions over external new hires, or seeing improvements in your employee satisfaction surveys.

If one of your goals with training is to develop a loyal customer base, great training can help you get there faster. Buyers especially take notice when they have a great experience with your brand. A pleasant experience with a skilled and knowledgeable representative and great support content leads to more closed deals and a higher average sale according to data from Seismic

Both employees who represent your company to customers and those with internal roles report higher job satisfaction and likelihood of staying with a job due to consistent and supportive training, according to IBM. For those with a goal of increasing overall employee satisfaction, offering professional development courses, trainings, and opportunities for career advancement are a crucial piece of the puzzle. 

At the end of the day, engaged employees are more likely to benefit your bottom line, and those with the resources to succeed are going to provide more value to both the company and their team. 

Next Steps

The journey from traditional to virtual training environments is complex but rewarding. By implementing the strategies outlined, trainers and HR leaders can foster more engaging, productive, and effective learning experiences. Building connections in virtual settings is not just about technology; it’s about creating an immersive, interactive, and inclusive learning culture that adds value and resonates with participants.

Explore how Frameable can help your team level up virtual training in Microsoft Teams or sign up for a demo today.

Start improving your virtual training toolkit today

Talk to our team

Categories
Microsoft Teams remote work Virtual Training

5 Tips for Successful Virtual Instructor-led Training with Microsoft Teams

Remote work and learning have become the new norm with 90% of companies offering some form of digital learning for their employees. Early adopters like IBM reported that employees learned 5 times more content by incorporating virtual training sessions into their programs. As a result, creating an effective virtual instructor-led training (VILT) program has become crucial across industries. With Microsoft Teams being the most common platform for delivering virtual training, making sure you leverage all of its capabilities effectively can mean the difference between an average training lesson and one that is most effective. Here, we outline five essential tips for leveraging Microsoft Teams to conduct successful VILT sessions, ensuring that your training leads to effective learning outcomes and more productive workers.

Understanding the Importance of Engaging VILT

Along with the shift to remote work, there has been a growing body of research supporting the effectiveness of well-designed virtual training programs. For instance, a study by the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute found that participants in virtual classrooms outperform traditional face-to-face learners in knowledge retention and application when the training is engaging and interactive. Engaging VILT sessions not only facilitate better learning outcomes but also contributes to higher job satisfaction and productivity among employees.

Leveraging Microsoft Teams for VILT

Microsoft Teams offers a rich set of features that can be leveraged to create interactive and engaging VILT sessions. Here are some tips for corporate trainers to make the most of Microsoft Teams:

1. Maximize Engagement with Interactive Tools

Engagement is the lifeblood of effective learning. Microsoft Teams offers a plethora of interactive tools like polls, quizzes, and surveys through integrated apps such as Microsoft Forms. Trainers can make the learning process active and participatory by using these tools in VILT sessions. For example, interactive polls can be used to gauge learners’ opinions or knowledge on a subject at the beginning of a session, setting the stage for a tailored learning experience. These interactive tools not only break the monotony of traditional lecture-based learning but also encourage trainees to think critically and engage more deeply with the content. 

2. Utilize Breakout Rooms for Personalized Learning Experiences

Breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams allow trainers to divide participants into smaller groups for discussions, workshops, or role-playing exercises. This personalized approach not only enhances learning by allowing for more in-depth exploration of topics but also encourages collaboration among participants. Research from the Harvard Business Review supports the idea that small group learning leads to a 55% improvement in learning application over traditional lecture-based training.

3. Incorporate a Mix of Media and Content Types

Diversifying the types of content used in training sessions can cater to different learning styles and keep participants engaged. Incorporate videos, infographics, and interactive content like digital whiteboards to help boost retention rates. This approach is not merely a nod to the variety in learning styles but a powerful method to ensure that all participants remain engaged and can absorb information in ways that suit them best. 

4. Leverage the Power of Asynchronous Learning

Not all learning needs to happen in real-time. Microsoft Teams allows for the creation of dedicated channels for ongoing discussions, resource sharing, and asynchronous learning activities. Trainers can even record the training sessions and offer them on-demand. This approach not only accommodates different time zones and schedules but also encourages continuous learning beyond the confines of scheduled training sessions.

5. Provide Immediate Feedback and Support

Feedback plays an integral role in the learning process. In the context of VILT, leveraging the capabilities of Microsoft Teams to provide real-time feedback and support becomes a game-changer. The platform’s instant messaging and meeting features facilitate a direct and immediate line of communication between trainers and trainees, enabling a dynamic exchange of feedback that can significantly enhance the learning experience.

The immediacy of response serves various purposes during training sessions. Firstly, it enables trainers to keep track of the progress and level of comprehension of trainees. Secondly, it facilitates the prompt correction of any misunderstandings or misconceptions, ensuring that trainees are on the right track. Moreover, real-time feedback creates a supportive and interactive learning environment where trainees can gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Solutions to Uplevel Microsoft Teams for VILT

While Microsoft Teams provides a solid foundation for VILT, exploring advanced platforms like Frameable Core can take your training programs to the next level. Frameable offers tailored solutions that enhance VILT engagement, interactivity, and the overall learning experience. Features like multiple simultaneous screen shares and digital whiteboards allow trainers and trainees to experience highly collaborative sessions. With its intuitive design and specialized features for virtual learning, Frameable addresses the nuanced needs of modern corporate training programs.

Explore Frameable for Effective Virtual Instructor-led Training Solutions

In today’s fast-paced corporate world, delivering engaging and effective virtual instructor-led training is more important than ever. By leveraging the capabilities of Microsoft Teams and embracing innovative platforms like Frameable, you can ensure that your training programs are not just educational but truly transformative. Engaging VILT sessions are the key to unlocking effective learning outcomes and fostering more productive, knowledgeable workers.

Dive deeper into how Frameable can revolutionize your virtual training programs and embrace the future of corporate training today with engaging virtual learning experiences.

Looking to transform your virtual training in Microsoft Teams?

Learn how
Categories
Hybrid work Microsoft Teams remote work

The 5 Best Microsoft Teams Integrations for Productive Distributed Teams

When it comes to distributed work, what sets successful teams apart from their less successful competitors is staying productive and efficient no matter your work style or location. To take your team to the next level of success, it’s critical to ensure they have the proper tools and training in how to use them. Even if your organization uses Microsoft Teams, you can still improve upon numerous workflows. Whether it is automating repetitive tasks, gathering information, or communicating with team members, some workflows can be disjointed, frustrating, or simply take way longer than they should! This post explores the best add-ins for Microsoft Teams to boost your remote, hybrid, or distributed teams to the next level. 

Trello

Distributed teams need clarity and efficiency when tackling projects. Making sure everyone is on the same page with real-time updates and a tool that is easy to use means wasting less time figuring out how to manage projects so you can spend more time completing them. Adding Trello boards directly to Teams channels means you never have to stray far to check up on related tasks and progress across multiple channels or projects. The Trello integration allows team members to receive real-time updates, send notifications, and access Trello boards directly within the Teams app. Not leaving Teams means fewer tabs open or programs running that slow down your devices, making it easier for remote and distributed teams of any size to stay organized and on top of their to-do lists. 

Polly from Microsoft

Clear and efficient communication lies at the heart of successful remote collaboration. The Polly add-in for Microsoft Teams facilitates engagement, feedback gathering, and data-driven decision-making inside and outside meetings. With Polly, teams can create polls, surveys, and quizzes within the Teams app, making it easy to gather feedback, involve all team members, and drive engagement in various settings. This add-in enables remote teams to foster a collaborative culture, ensuring everyone’s voice is heard, even when working from different locations. By adding Polly, teams using Teams can better streamline communication channels, boost participation, and make informed team or project decisions.

Zapier

Helping your team stay on top of their to-do list is easier when everyone can automate repeatable workflows or send alerts automatically. Zapier connects with various other highly used platforms like Salesforce, Google Sheets, and Hubspot, just to name a few. With Zapier, you can create custom workflows, generally known as “Zaps,” that automate repetitive tasks, synchronize data across platforms, and trigger actions based on specific conditions. By integrating Zapier, teams can eliminate manual data entry, streamline workflows, and focus on tasks that add value, enhancing overall efficiency and productivity. For distributed teams or remote workforces, adding automatic notifications to project channels can help ensure everyone stays updated with the latest information necessary to remain as productive as possible.

Overview and MultiShare by Frameable

Whether you find yourself leading a large team for a multi-national organization or a small, bootstrapped remote team, you will need to collaborate effectively and efficiently. For teams using Microsoft Teams, having an all-in-one dashboard like Overview is akin to having a trusty guide by your side. It consolidates the cacophony of documents, conversations, and events into a tidy, digestible interface. The beauty of Overview is not just its utility, but in how it simplifies the often-overwhelming task of sifting through digital chatter to find what you need when you need it.

Whether you’re onboarding new recruits, leading a remote training session, or tackling a shared project, the ability to display up to 15 different screens simultaneously means you can handle just about anything. With MultiShare, the flow of ideas and collaborative energy feels more natural, like pulling up a chair to a coworker’s desk to work side-by-side. If your organization recently transitioned into using Microsoft Teams, this could also be a feature you’re used to but are now missing. 

Better Workflows for a More Empowered Workforce

In the era of remote work, maximizing the potential of collaborative tools like Microsoft Teams is essential for business success. By integrating any of the above tools with Microsoft Teams, remote and distributed teams can develop more seamless workflows that the keystone workplace tools just don’t offer on their own. 

Ready to elevate your remote collaboration? Explore Frameable for Microsoft Teams and unlock the true potential of your distributed team. Refresh your workflows, enhance productivity, and give your team the tools to thrive in any work setting. Explore Overview and MultiShare, or get started for free on the Microsoft AppSource marketplace.

Learn more about Overview and MultiShare for Microsoft Teams

Learn more
Categories
Hybrid work remote work

The Remotely Possible™ Podcast: Insights from Sabeen Malik on Enabling Innovation on Distributed Teams

Many tools on the market can help remote and distributed teams channel their creativity. But instead of forcing teams to use a small set of company-sanctioned tools for the team’s unique problems, it’s helpful (and empowering) to give employees the freedom to use the tools and processes that work best for them.  

In the seventh episode of the “Remotely Possible” podcast, I spoke with Sabeen Malik, Vice President of Global Government Affairs and Public Policy at Rapid7, to discuss building trust and enabling innovation on distributed teams. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation, including the three elements of trust and how to strike the right balance of synchronous and asynchronous communication when problem-solving.

Introducing Sabeen and Her Remote Cybersecurity Team

Rapid7 is a cybersecurity provider with solutions spanning detection and response, vulnerability management, and application security. Sabeen is building her team and currently works with five people in the U.S. and U.K. She is used to working with remote-first teams, partly due to her previous role at Thumbtack.

“Thumbtack very much is built around this idea [of] remote first,” she said. “Even pre-pandemic, the idea was to think about this model and how are we going to think about remote-first work in an environment where so many more tools were available for folks to work not only across time zones, but across different operational capacities, and what does that look like to bring that all together.”

Why Trust is Essential for a Healthy Distributed Team Culture

Sabeen recognizes that many teams use video calls to tackle challenges. She encourages companies to establish clear rules and expectations about when cameras can be on or off as a way to help employees process information in their preferred mode.

“I personally don’t feel like I need to see everybody when I’m doing what I need to do, which a lot of times is discussing concepts and information and deliverables,“ she said. “At the same time, I have found there is a little bit of a difference between consistently building trust in teams and having video on and off and everyone understanding what the rules are as to why someone may turn their video off and what the norms are around that.”

Trust is vital for enabling an effective distributed team that achieves the innate advantages of remote work. Sabeen encourages leaders to consider what trust means to them and their organization.

“It’s important to think about ‘what is trust at the end of the day?’ and ‘what are we actually looking for?’,” she said. “Thinking about how do you continue to use the tools and yourself, in terms of your ideas, to build it.” 

Sabeen shared her own perspectives on the three critical elements of trust. “I think about three elements: competency, integrity, and goodwill. For a team that has a lot of external stakeholders, trust is built by meeting them where they build trust. Internally, it’s more about how do you share with your teams the ideas around each one of those as a norm-setting behavior.”

Over the course of our conversation, Sabeen rejected the notion that in-person teams are more collaborative or innovative because of serendipitous encounters.

“[The idea] that you’re just sitting randomly and someone comes into a booth or someone stops by your workstation, and you have this amazing idea… I think that’s a little bit lionized or this mental model that I’m not sure most folks are operating that way,” she explained. “I think it has to be a little more structured than assuming it’s going to happen just because you all happen to be in the same space, and it’ll randomly happen.” 

When facing a challenge, Sabeen says that leaders should assess if they are explaining the problem well enough or if people need a change in time and space to let creativity flow. Innovation often comes down to allowing people time to think through challenges and work with their preferred tools.

“One of the things I’m doing more is asking folks the best ways that they think about creative ideas and how do they capture those,” she said. “If you’re at the early stages of a problem or a strategy, I tend to find that synchronous work tends to work better. What you’re truly trying to do is collect ideas and then shape ideas so everyone understands the end goal of executing on something. And then in terms of how and why and what the things are that are related to the execution, asynchronous tends to work a lot better.”

For more of Sabeen’s insights into building trust on remote teams, including a more detailed explanation of the three elements of trust and the tools her team uses, listen to the Remotely Possible Podcast, Episode 7. Interested in sharing your distributed work experience with our listeners? Apply to be my guest for a future episode.

Listen to Remotely Possible wherever you get your podcasts.

Listen now
Categories
Future of work Hybrid work remote work

New Frameable Research Reveals the Benefits of Distributed Workplaces

As company leaders seek to deliver the most fulfilling workplace experiences, new research reinforces that remote, hybrid, and distributed arrangements present a clear competitive advantage.

Frameable’s first edition of The Remote/Hybrid/Distributed Work Index explores how remote and hybrid work arrangements affect employee well-being, productivity, and collaboration. We also examined how effective existing workplace technologies are in supporting distributed workplaces. Here are a few of the key takeaways.

Four Things We Learned About Distributed and Hybrid Work

Frameable surveyed U.S.-based workers who currently work in a remote, hybrid, or distributed team culture. The research, conducted in November of 2023, dispels several persistent myths about the modern hybrid and distributed workforce and provides actionable ways for leaders to improve their strategies. 

Employees are More Engaged in Hybrid, Remote, and Distributed Workplaces

More than half of employees (66.2%) agree or strongly agree they feel more engaged when working remotely than from a company office. Only slightly over 12% of respondents disagreed. This suggests that some types of work still benefit from in-person collaboration—and that some companies need to work on being more intentional about inspiring engagement with their team. More on that later.

Remote and Hybrid Workers are More Productive

The majority of survey respondents (84%) said they feel more productive because of a flexible workplace model. Only 4% disagreed, and 12% felt neutral. The good news is these productivity benefits will likely increase as companies refine their technology stacks and implement tools and processes built for a remote-first model. 

Microsoft Office Enables Engagement

Digging into which tools specifically are most effective in enabling engagement, employees ranked Microsoft Office as the No. 1 choice, followed by Gmail, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Outlook email, and Zoom. Of course, leaders should set clear guidelines around how to use all workplace tools to their fullest potential. 

Workplace Flexibility Drives Retention

Adding to the productivity and engagement benefits, nearly three in four workers (73.6%) are more likely to stay with their company because of their workplace flexibility. This is likely in part due to benefits employees cited, such as having more flexibility to accommodate their lives, being more involved in their children’s daily routine, and addressing caregiving responsibilities. 

Prepare for the Future of Work

The above findings are just a glimpse at the reasons why remote, hybrid, and distributed models present a competitive advantage for companies—but there are several challenges that leaders should prepare to overcome. 

The full report provides advice on addressing some of the concerns workers raised in the research, including:

  • Essential skills for managers of a distributed team
  • Strategies to build and maintain trust in remote and hybrid settings
  • Technology recommendations to power an effective and secure distributed team

Download the full Frameable Remote/Hybrid/Distributed Work Index today.

Download the full Frameable Remote/Hybrid/Distributed Work Index report

Download now
Categories
Hybrid work remote work

Making a Positive First Impression that Brings Out Your Brand’s Best, Virtually

New employees’ initial experiences can forever shape their opinion of your company and significantly impact their job satisfaction and performance. This is especially true for remote workers, whose success relies entirely on virtual interactions and engagement.

Building an engaging onboarding experience for a remote or hybrid team is understandably challenging. Workplace leaders face unique hurdles when onboarding remote employees compared to in-person onboarding: It can be easier to build relationships and create a welcoming environment in a physical office, and remote workers often face technical hurdles and social barriers like a lack of context cues or feelings of isolation.

To help you overcome these common remote onboarding challenges and set a positive first impression for all employees, let’s explore five proven strategies to drive engagement and set everyone off on the right foot.

5 Strategies For Setting a Positive First Impression With Remote Workers

A positive first impression can help you foster a sense of belonging with your new hires, build their trust, and ensure a smooth integration into the team. There are many ways that you can approach this, and we’ve found the following strategies to be particularly effective in remote and hybrid teams:

  • Provide Preboarding Information: New hires will likely feel anxious before starting their job, primarily because they don’t know what to expect. You can begin to alleviate this anxiety by sending them preboarding information explaining their role, how they can access your company on Day 1, and what to expect during their first week.
  • Set Clear Expectations: It can be disorienting for new hires to get started, especially if they need clarification on their responsibilities and goals. During the first week, present a clear overview of the new hire’s responsibilities, including their role, responsibilities, and reporting structure. Set specific goals for the new hire to accomplish within the first week, and align these goals with your onboarding process.
  • Give Resources and Support: Provide your new hires with training materials, access to relevant workplace software or tools, and dedicated support channels so they can do their jobs effectively. This support system will be beneficial as they first navigate your virtual workspace and encounter the inevitable challenges they’ll face when getting comfortable in their role.
  • Schedule Virtual Introductions: During the new hire’s first week, schedule them to meet 1:1 with their manager, direct teammates, and mentor, as well as group meetings with the teams they’ll be working with. Encourage everyone to discuss their roles and responsibilities at the company and explain how they’ll collaborate with the new hire. It can be helpful to include icebreaker activities during any group meetings to help new employees learn more about their colleagues and encourage future conversation. 
  • Take Them on a Virtual Tour: If your company is hybrid with a physical office, you can give a virtual tour for remote workers during their onboarding process. You can conduct a live tour with video conferencing tools or share pre-recorded videos highlighting key office areas. If your company is fully remote, walk your new hire through the virtual workspace and explain how they can find and connect with their colleagues. 

Virtual Onboarding Is Essential For The Future of Work 

Despite lacking an in-person element, a remote onboarding experience can still create a great first impression. Reimagine your new hire’s experience in a virtual workspace to ensure you answer their questions, connect them with their teammates, and explain how they can thrive in their new role.

Be sure to provide a clear schedule for the hire’s new week and check in frequently to see how they are doing. There are many considerations for crafting an engaging virtual onboarding experience, and we’re here to help. Download our virtual onboarding ebook for a complete guide on everything you need to know, including a checklist of opportunities to build meaningful connections in virtual offices and tips for more effective virtual training. 

Set your new hires up for success with our latest e-book

Download now
Problem solving made easy with structured-thinking practices
Learn more