In June and July 2020 my head hurt! I was helping to create an online course. COVID-19 had stopped people from meeting in the physical world, so we had to meet in the virtual world.
I organise training for OMF Japan missionaries. One of the courses that I facilitate is the Pre-Home Assignment Workshop (PHAW). Usually, this workshop is held in person over two weeks. It comprises of time thinking, planning, and preparing missionaries for Home Assignment. Part of the course is about communication and public speaking, and that was the part of the course that I was working on adapting in mid-2020.
I knew the theory of training; I had done some short online courses. However, actually coming up with creative ideas about how to do things on Zoom made my head hurt!
First, we had to cut down the material to what was essential and could be crammed into a few two-hour sessions. We considered what could be done by participants before the course started, what could be done for homework, and when they would need to check in with a course leader. We had to make it colourful and lively, fun and interactive, because, as I’m sure many of you know, it is very easy for your brain to turn off, even if your camera and microphone are still turned on.
We developed new materials, we videoed people giving talks, and we tried to work out how to keep people engaged. We tested things and found it didn’t work one way, so we had to formulate new ideas.
As of March 2023, OMF has now run this online course a number of times. It has developed as we’ve done it. My head hurt for months, but COVID-19 means that OMF now has a resource that will last much longer.
By Peter, an OMF missionary