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Virtual Training: Are You Engaging or Boring?

“It tends to be very foggy when you are training in the cloud, but remember, if you know your content, and design your training with user engagement and frequent interactivity, you will be sure to attain great results with virtual training from the cloud.”

Cloud-based virtual training allows instructors to deliver content without being present in a classroom with the students. In virtual training, when you can’t see the participants, how do you compensate for the environment?

The answer is to engage learners through the pace of your presentation, skillful use of your voice, and thoughtful employment of the features of your conferencing platform. Here are a few tips for clearing away the fog and holding a successful virtual training session from the clouds.

Use pace to engage the learner

Engaging the learner is the single most important design criterion for successful distance learning via virtual classrooms.

As you are well aware, the reality is that people in the corporate world are busier than ever today. Because of downsizing, many individuals are doing the work that two or even three people formerly did. When people decide to attend a virtual training session, they are likely to encounter many distractions: e-mail, talking on a cell phone, working on a project, or multitasking on other activities that their duties force upon them.

Most learners will feel motivated to attend training if the topic is one in which they are interested, but in the case of “required” training … not so much. The content had better be great in either case, or else they will be off multitasking at the first sign of boredom. How do we keep the learner engaged in our live Webcast or virtual training session?

Keep it moving

Everyone loves to hate slide-based presentations, whether done with PowerPoint or some other presentation software, but a presentation will inevitably be part of most virtual training sessions. Depending on what you have available to support your session you may not have any other options – not all Web conferencing software provides a whiteboard, video, interactive features, or other capabilities.

The brain reacts to colors and images, and goes to great lengths not to miss anything once the eyes focus on a screen. If you were watching television, and the screen only changed every two or three minutes, it would not take you long to figure out that you could multitask and not miss anything at all. When you watch the news, notice the flow … the director starts with the anchor reading a teleprompter to begin the story, and then quickly switches off the headshot and rolls in field footage to help tell the story with images. By keeping things interesting, with compelling visuals that move and update quickly, viewers become more engaged because they don’t want to miss anything.

The lesson is that in a virtual classroom, you must keep the content constantly moving. This means that, when presenting content, you will need more slides, with more pictures and less text per slide, than you may be accustomed to using for physical classroom training. Design the presentation to move along smoothly with pictures telling a story.

Do not build your content with a few slides that only contain text. Slow-moving, text-heavy slides are a recipe for disaster. Participants refer to text-heavy slides as “Death by PowerPoint” … meaning, no one wants to read slides or (even worse) have a person read the slides to them. Learners leave these presentations, and the chances of their returning are slim.

So, when do you know that the change of imagery is fast enough and not too fast or too slow? One way to test this theory is to ask yourself another question: If you posted the slide file as a stand-alone asset, could the students get the same benefit from it alone as they would get with an instructor? If the answer is “yes,” then you haven’t designed your content for a virtual training session with a live instructor.
Use your skills as a speaker

Many facilitators who are excellent face-to-face trainers approach virtual training with the attitude of “how hard can it be?” However, delivery in the virtual classroom is completely different from face-to-face training, and requires simultaneously mastering the technology and the content. It’s like asking a news anchor to direct the news and deliver the news at the same time … not an easy thing to do!

Bring it to life, don’t flatline it

Figure 1. Listen to radio hosts and commercials to get ideas on creating voice inflections.

You must become the master of visual stimulation, and the master of show direction, and the master of focusing your learners’ attention at the right time. While all this is going on, you are unable to see them to know if you are delivering an impactful training session or if you put them to sleep. So what can you do?

Your voice has a tremendous impact on the quality of your virtual sessions. You must focus on inflections, speed, the tone that you use with the learners, and how you pace your delivery of the content. Learners will evaluate you not only on the quality of your content, but on how pleasant, natural, confident, and interesting you sound. Reading slides is not training. Maximum impact and higher retention levels require dynamic delivery – coupled with your visuals.

To build vitality in your voice, pay attention to radio commercials and listen to how the narrator changes pitch, rate, and volume to get your attention. (Figure 1) Just like a radio personality, you can’t see the audience, and, in many cases, they cannot see you. A dynamic voice and changing visuals must stimulate the learner to pay attention. You are not “reading the material,” you are delivering ideas, facts, concepts, and examples in a way that brings them to life for the learner.

Team up for variety

Another great tip for longer training sessions is to deliver content with a co-presenter whenever possible. This immediately adds vocal variety to your virtual sessions. Think about the news or any sporting event … there is always more than one broadcaster so personalities can interact with each other and keep the delivery more interesting.

We call this vocal variety. This style of training is less predictable, so people will be more inclined to pay attention. Have the co-presenter start off the presentation by giving the introduction and explaining the proper etiquette and ground rules of the training session, and then taking on a moderator role. Your co-presenter can also help to answer questions, prompt you for questions, reiterate points for clarification, provide time checks, and keep the conversation focused. With this type of co-presenter coordination, the meeting will come across as professionally organized and VERY engaging.

Use the conferencing features

Although platforms differ, all conferencing software provides some set of features that will help you keep your learners engaged. Here are some tips for using the more commonly available features.

Annotate, don’t just dictate

Use of annotation tools in your conferencing software, such as pointers, arrows, or highlighters, will command and direct the learner’s attention to specific points on complex graphics. These tools allow you to drive the learner to the exact item that you are referring to. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The green arrow allows the participants to focus on a specific spot in complex graphics

Tailor the training space to the task

Always customize the virtual training room to reproduce the format that learners would experience in a live face-to-face classroom. Leveraging room layouts (such as those available in Adobe Connect – a Flash-based rich-media platform) is a great way to build a portion of the training with PowerPoint, a portion with pre-produced digital video, and a portion that uses video capabilities to broadcast several subject matter experts at the same time during a Q&A session. In an advanced platform like Adobe Connect that permits “multi-camera broadcasting,” each person can broadcast simultaneously so the learner can see the person answering their question.

Customization is a great way to make the training session dynamic and engaging to maximize the learner’s attention. This is especially important for well-known speakers or high-level executives. Put them on stage, let the learners interact with them, and they become part of the learning exercises.

Learners should not be listeners only

Polling is a great way to help you acquire instant and quantifiable input from your learners, and engage their minds. Even if you can’t see the learners, you can use polls to gain insight on their thoughts and emotions about the training content. A good polling question can get learners thinking in depth about the implications or applications of key points in the presentation. You can also use polling questions to determine the level of interest in a topic, and then make adjustments on the fly based upon real-time feedback to make the session more dynamic and fresh for each group of learners.

There are different types of polling questions, each with its own special characteristics. (See Figures 3 and 4) Don’t overuse polling questions, use them when necessary, and make them useful so the feature does not become redundant to the learner.


Figure 3. Multiple-answer polls allow more than one selection.


 Figure 4. Multiple-choice polls allow only one selection.

Check their status to maintain engagement – and stimulate thinking

Another method to engage the learner is by using “status tools,” or emoticons. Leverage student engagement by using whatever emoticons or response icons are available from your conferencing platform. (See Figure 5)

Figure 5. Emoticons

Status tools or emoticons compensate for lack of visibility between the instructor and the student. These icons can help you replace the visual cues you would normally get in a physical environment where you see people. Encourage all participants to use them throughout the presentation.

This type of classroom structure lets the participants know that you will accept interruptions and that you are paying attention to their opinions. It makes the delivery dynamic – not just some “cookie cutter” or canned presentation. A great example of use of status tools is to ask if they “agree” or “disagree” with a question or statement you deliver. As a trainer you would say, “Give me a thumbs up if you agree that this solution fits well within your company,” and you would see the feedback in real-time. This also allows a trainer to “see” the type of audience they are working with and make adjustments on the fly if necessary.

Are you ready for your close-up?

If supported by the conferencing software, use the Webcam feature so you can employ your presentation skills and gestures; this brings learners into the content and helps them take the journey with you.

Your Webcam is the direct link to your audience. Use it wisely, and look into the lens when speaking to your audience to give the illusion of eye contact with each of them. (Figure 6) Even though you cannot see your audience, they can see you. When using the Webcam, you must use facial expressions, inflections on words, and gestures to build a connection with your learners. You may even want to place a sticky note next to your Webcam, to remind you to stay focused on keeping the connection with your learners.

Figure 6: Webcams allow you to have a direct, emotional link with your audience.

Key advice: rehearse it, don’t wing it

The more you rehearse the content in real time, the easier it is to keep eye contact with the Webcam. Rehearsal gives you mastery of the content.

More key advice: use the Webcam wisely

New virtual trainers often ask, “When should I turn the Webcam on and when should I turn it off?”

Remember this guideline: content that includes data, statistics, and facts that require reasoning and analysis can be included in a PowerPoint format without a Webcam. When you have any complex graphics or content, you don’t want the Webcam competing with it so turn it off. The Webcam image will command the learner’s attention and focus – in other words, if they see you on the Webcam, that’s where they will look. Movement in the Webcam will distract them from the graphics, and learners will not be sure which area of the screen to focus on.

Content that appeals to participants’ emotions is better expressed through the full-motion Webcam, because gestures and facial expression can sell the emotional side of your message. I like to use the Webcam when conducting polls and getting feedback so learners can see and hear my inflections along with the specifics I’m asking about.

Always be aware of your learners’ environments

Figure 8. Design your presentation
with smaller screen resolution in mind.

Finally, you must be cognizant of the devices used by your audience. Many people are now participating via tablet devices with smaller screens. (Figures 7 and 8) You should design your content so that the images are legible on smaller screens, including on smartphones. Learn about the mobile applications for these devices with the virtual training platform you use. If learners can tab around on window options, you must include narration that will guide them to the proper window when discussing graphics or charts. If it’s hard to read on your screen, it’s probably more difficult to read on a participant’s computer or tablet device. Make the effort to keep screens simple, and include less text and more visuals to help tell your story.

Figure 7. Mobile devices, like this tablet, are becoming
more popular

Melt the fog away with engagement and interactivity

It tends to be very foggy when you are training in the cloud, but remember, if you know your content, and design your training with user engagement and frequent interactivity, you will be sure to attain great results with virtual training from the cloud.

This article was originally posted at

Benefits of Elearning

If you’re in the business of training and communication, then you know all too well how difficult it would be to translate your message into actual learning and into that change that you are trying to create. For e.g. if you want to learn to change oil in the car, you will not want to spend more time in reading a manual or taking a workshop, instead you will want an expert to show you how to do it. This is where E Learning plays its role by letting you integrate Video, PowerPoint text, audio narration and interactive exercises and games. The learners are allowed to see, hear, read and try what you are trying to teach them. The advantage of ELearning is that the training is recorded and this can be used multiple times and for multiple purposes.

The Benefits of E Learning:

  • The first benefit is that the training material is portable and is convenient to use. The courses are accessible with a simple click and these can also be downloaded and carried in a pen drive if required. You can do the learning at any time and at any given place without having to rush yourself. The same learning link can be made accessible to multiple users at a given time so there are no issues with the site.
  • The cost of the learning is less expensive compared to the cost of doing the learning physically. The courses that are available are set to suit that needs of the users so that they have a variety to choose from depending on the program, price, length and commitment required. The learning is self directed since the students can choose content and tools appropriate to their differing interests, needs, and skill levels.
  • The flexibility of this learning makes it preferred since it accommodates your preferences and needs. It makes it easier for students who are slow to grasp things at their own speed. The multiple learning styles use a variety of delivery methods geared to different learners that can make learning more effective.
  • Collaboration among students is much better in this form of learning since the tools of this learning are productive. The students don’t have to be face to face and work on a comfortable environment that is more adaptable. This also fosters a greater student instructor contact and eliminates the geographical barriers of communication.
  • The opportunities that are provided through this learning are global. The technologies that are used give online instructional designers the ability to build in tools that take you to resources you may never seen in a traditional classroom. Hence, it’s possible to have the global learning community at your fingertips with ELearning.

Compliance Solution through Learning Management System

The Learning Management System is an e-management system, which manages e-courses imparted to the online learners. The basic idea is to educate and train students who come from diverse fields. There are many online learning courses offered, which educate people about safer and better working environment. LMS is a software package that provides a reliable platform for delivering of e- packages to the online learners around the world.

The LMS offers a multitude of advantages to the users, which makes make their access of the online courses quite easy.

  • The courses are completely managed online, hence it possible for every one to enroll, easily.
  • People are not bound by the time and distance and can easily access the on line courses of their choice from their own computer.
  • The courses are tailored to address the need of particular industry and LMS play a critical role by ensuring that all the relevant information is updated on regular intervals and brought to the knowledge of the students.

The online courses pertaining to Joint Commission, HIPAA, OSHO and Red Flag are smoothly managed and can be easily updated on a regular basis. This is a great feature that protects the organization from legal lawsuits due to non conformance on the part of employee due to lack of proper knowledge.

Ensures Compliance and transparency

The system keeps tracks of the individual performance and displays the result online, and gives the user a good understanding of the learning path that they have to undertake. They can also checks their progress and review their records at regular intervals. This helps the users to check, where they stands during different phases of the e-course. Learning Management System is a great boon for the organizations as it has a tracking system that quickly points to the non conformance of standards and reduces considerably the risks of legal actions due to lapse on the part of the employees or employers. It provides regular updates and ensures that the organization and its people stay abreast when it comes to following the requisite laws and regulations that are enforced by government regulatory authorities. The system also provides greater transparency by allowing the users to:

  • Set a predetermined course completion date that suits them.
  • Update themselves on their progress.
  • Know exactly how many people have completed the course at any given time.
  • Allows the candidates to view their results online

LMS in Safety and Healthcare Applications

The Learning Management System allows for better management of OSHA courses, which train workers about occupational safety standards employed in the workplace. There are various courses on protection from various hazards that workers face at work site.

Joint Commission courses for hospital accreditation are available, so that learners can enhance their knowledge about requisite standards. The aim is to make people aware about the norms that will help them greatly to increase the quality of patient care.

LMS in Security applications

The e-courses in HIPAA are well managed through Learning Management System. The course is about how to prevent identity theft and is of great use to patients and the insurance companies as it saves them from the fraud claims due to stolen identity and in the process saves millions of dollars.

Learning Managment System offers an interface thast makes it possible to address compliance issues, easily.

About emPower

emPower is a leading provider of comprehensive Healthcare Compliance Solutions through Learning management system (LMS). Our mission is to provide innovative security solutions to enable compliance with applicable laws and regulations and maximize business performance. We provide range of courses to manage compliance required by regulatory bodies such as OSHA, HIPAA, Joint commission and Red Flag Rule etc. Apart from this emPower also offers custom demos and tutorials for your website, business process management and software implementation.

Our Learning Management system (LMS) allows students to retrieve all the courses 24/7/365 by accessing our portal. emPower e-learning training program is an interactive mode of learning that guides students to progress at their own pace.

For additional information, please visit

emPower e-learning Solutions launches course to train employees and help you create policies on new amendments on HIPAA and ARRA act

emPower provides e- learning courses as mandated by the U.S. Government and other regulatory bodies like HIPAA, OSHA, Joint Commission and Red Flags rule. The successful passage of the new Health plan of Obama Government and resultant health care regulations have made it mandatory for the Covered health service providers, Practices and their Business Associates to achieve complete compliance to stay on the right side of the law. This, they can easily do by providing proper compliance training to their employees and in process eliminate expensive compliance risks. The latest amendment to HIPAA Privacy and Security rule, which came into effect from February 17, 2010, makes it mandatory for all the Covered entities to revise their Business Associate Contract.

The Business Associates now on share more responsibility for protection of the privacy of the patient health information. Any lapse on their part can invite serious penalties or criminal conviction, depending upon the severity of the violation. Keeping this in mind emPower, as a part of its compliance training program, has launched two online courses; one on amendment related to Business Associate Contract and the other one in policy template form. The template form provides an easy option to just sign a standard agreement policy, framed by the Regulatory authority and enter into a business alliance with Covered Entity in legal manner.

The course trains both the existing and prospective Business Associates to achieve complete compliance to the HIPAA norms through secure and efficient documentation, management and transaction of the patient health information with the Covered entities as per their written business agreement.

About emPower

emPower is a leading provider of comprehensive Health care Compliance Solutions through Learning management system (LMS). Our mission is to provide innovative security solutions to enable compliance with applicable laws and regulations and maximize business performance. We provide range of courses to manage compliance required by regulatory bodies such as OSHA, HIPAA, Joint commission and Red Flag Rule etc. Apart from this emPower also offers custom demos and tutorials for your website, business process management and software implementation.

Our Learning Management system (LMS) allows students to retrieve all the courses 24/7/365 by accessing our portal. emPower e-learning training program is an interactive mode of learning that guides students to progress at their own pace.

For additional information, please visit

emPower e-Learning Solutions developing new Learning Management System

Louisville, Kentucky (May 2010) – emPower e-Learning Solutions provides array of compliance courses, which enable the practices to ensure that all its employees are up-to-date on Government mandated compliance and HR policies. Presently we partner with Cosaint for our LMS. The LMS is SCORM and LM- Light compliant.

In our efforts to make e-learning an enjoyable experience we are developing in-house Learning Management System which will host range of customized interactive features. Our LMS development In-charge, Mr. Harshal Shah says, “A well integrated e-portal (LMS) plays crucial role in success of the online courses. The LMS should allow maximum interaction between instructors and learners by providing real time environment, on-line.”

Keeping this in mind our team is working zealously to equip our LMS with features like:

  • Social networking
  • Graphically Representation of Reports
  • E- portfolio
  • SCORM,AICC, LM-light, 508 compliant
  • Library feature for better content management
  • Whiteboard feature- enables a two way online live interaction between instructor and learner.
  • Online chatting and conferencing.

This all features will provide a real-time classroom effect to our LMS users and allow a very smooth bidirectional flow of information, necessary for success of any e-learning course. The in built SCORM compliance features ensure interoperability and allow the users to share different online courses on our LMS.

About emPower

emPower is a leading provider of comprehensive Healthcare Compliance Solutions through Learning management system (LMS). Our mission is to provide innovative security solutions to enable compliance with applicable laws and regulations and maximize business performance. We provide range of courses to manage compliance required by regulatory bodies such as OSHA, HIPAA, Joint commission and Red Flag Rule etc. Apart from this emPower also offers custom demos and tutorials for your website, business process management and software implementation.

Our Learning Management system (LMS) allows students to retrieve all the courses 24/7/365 by accessing our portal. emPower e-learning training program is an interactive mode of learning that guides students to progress at their own pace.

For additional information, please visit

Media Contact
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Ph: 502-400-9374
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emPower is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved.

Guarding Hearts Alliance – Protecting the quality in cardiac care

The Guarding Hearts Alliance is a group of more than 23000 cardiologists dedicated to preserve and protect the highest quality cardiac care available in America. This group strongly favors Medicare regulations and health care reform initiatives that put patient first in preserving access to quality cardiac care.

Cardiovascular disease takes lives of more American compared to cancer, accidents and diabetes combines. It is considered as Number One Killer in America, claiming 2,400 lives each day. “That number will continue to climb if currently proposed Medicare regulations or certain provisions within health care reform legislation are implemented,” said Warren Levy, M.D.,F.A.C.C., a Virginia-based cardiologist and a spokesperson for the alliance. “We are launching the Guarding Hearts Alliance to make sure that America’s heart patients are heard in Washington. We support the intention of recently proposed Medicare regulations, but we cannot stand by as proposals are adopted that will hurt patients and their access to the highest quality cardiac care possible. Our focus is on our patients and protecting the progress we’ve made in fighting heart disease.”

The group’s mission is to educate lawmakers and others about how proposed Medicare’s regulations and health care reforms. Administered through the Cardiology Advocacy Alliance, this group is vitally concerned about potential changes that could inadvertently endanger patient lives. Issues such as imaging equipment utilization rates and reimbursement fee schedules might sound like they would generate simple shifts in business practices, but they represent a real threat – restricting access to lifesaving technology that serves the range of rural Medicare recipients to privately insured urban residents alike.

Guarding Hearts Alliance wants Medicare Officials and Congress to consider following measures under this reform:

  • Support strong credentialing and accreditation programs to make certain that diagnostic equipment is used properly and cost-effectively.
  • Encourage the use of criteria to help physicians determine which tests are appropriate based on a patient’s symptoms and medical history.
  • Provide for disclosure of physician ownership in hospitals and imaging equipment to promote transparency.
  • Ensure patient safety through the creation of emergency care provisions and protocols at physician-owned facilities.

Guarding Hearts Alliance support Medicare Regulations and health care legislation that put the patient first i.e. making sure cardiac patients have access to the tests their doctors use to diagnose and treat their heart disease.


emPower pledges its support to Guarding Hearts Alliance in an effort to protect access to Quality Cardiac Care for all Americans

Health Conferences in Sept. – Oct.

Health Conferences are the best place for knowledge and Networking.

Short Intro To emPower e-Learning.

emPower provides Regulatory Compliance solutions for hospitals and healthcare organizations through Learning Management System (LMS). Learning Management system is an excellent vehicle that lets you deliver, track and manage training/education.

emPower offers courses to stay in compliance with standards set by regulatory bodies such as HIPAA, OSHA, Joint Commission and Red Flags Rule etc. Our parent company Mediscribes, Inc. is a top notch medical transcription provider offering comprehensive medical transcription services and document management system to hospitals and physician practices.           

emPower and Mediscribes would be visible to you at various conferences in the month of September – October, 2009.

GEMMS User Group Conference Indianapolis, Indiana on September 16-18 2009. This conference addresses anyone who uses the GEMMS ONE system – physicians, administrative, clinical, practice management, and IT personnel to learn, network, and share information. At the conference you would find emPower and Mediscribes displaying their various products and solution – comprehensive Healthcare compliance solutions through Learning Management System covering HIPAA, OSHA, HR policies, Red Flags rule training packages, etc. Also, Mediscribes that deals with high end Medical Transcription service would displays its deep insights on web-based electronic medical transcription service for hospitals, clinics, individual and group practices and rehabilitation centers.

Another exciting conference followed in the next week would be MedAxiom conference in Monarch Beach, CA, September 23 – September 25, 2009. MedAxiom is one of the most valuable resources and a comprehensive subscription-based service provider for cardiology practices. MedAxiom conference keeps members informed of changing technologies, trends, strategies and best practices in cardiology-practice administration and service delivery. Cardioscribes is Mediscribes’ extended hand that aces in providing high quality Cardiology Transcription services; it delivers robust document management system that allows Cardiology practices to capitalize on their patient documentation. Cardioscribes ensures consolidated end-to-end transcription solution that lets you around 25 – 35% lower cost than what cardiology practices incurs.

emPower / Mediscribes would also be visiting 81st AHIMA Convention and Exhibit at Gaylord Texon Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine TX in the month of October 3-8, 2009.

AHIMA 2009 convention will feature education and networking opportunities to a wide spectrum of professionals, from entry-level to middle and senior management, and also in areas like information systems.

Cutting-edge technology that provides cost-effective and end to end solution to meet your medical transcription needs ensuring high quality standards. You would be pleased to see product presentation and live demos of all our e-learning solution – healthcare compliance training, HIPAA training, HR policies, Red Flags Rule regulation education, JCAHO and OSHA Training packages.

Last but not least – MGMA 2009 Annual Conference Denver in the month of October 11th – 14th 2009. MGMA’ 2009 Annual conference is the largest professional development and networking conference for medical practice administrators. The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) 2009 Annual Conference will help you to know what’s going on with HEALTH CARE Reform and how it will impact your business in the near future. In addition to transcription service provided by Cardioscribes and Mediscribes also presents Health care practices with dictation and transcription work-flow systems, software development, EMR interface and voice recognition integration. Besides, this you could also find emPower elearning solutions with broad collection of e-learning, e-reference and blended learning that drive business results. Our online courses cover compliance solutions and Human resource policies effectively covering full range of business needs.

I’m really excited and look forward to meet so many people and companies. 

You could find me at Mediscribes / Cardioscribes / emPower exhibition booth.

Looking forward to see YOU there


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