Planning steps for digital workshops

Before the workshop

During the workshop

After the workshop

Group formation

Content preparation
  • Netiquette
  • Privacy agreement
  • Selection and review of technology & equipment
  • Setting up the virtual rooms
    Sending materials and overview of technical requirements
  • Offer of help with technical problems
  • Recording desired?
    The moderation team needs its own channel for simultaneous exchange
  • Methodical design of virtual spaces and choice of formats
  • Flowchart
  • E-moderation
  • Who will participate in the WS and how will the groups be composed?
  • Change tempo/ format every 25 min (after 15 min attention already decreases)
  • After 50-55 min break
  • After max. 3 h long break
  • Time management
  • Supervision of working groups
  • Organize work processes
  • Consultation and office hours
  • Create forum for questions, answers and discussion
  • Put documents/records online
  • Organize feedback format
  • Answer questions
  • Evaluate feedback
  • Reflection between the responsible persons
  • Adapt format if necessary
The social must be organized!

Informal exchange, collaborative learning & working atmosphere.

  • Keep the room open before and after seminar times
  • Organize group messenger / chat
  • Offer get-to-know-you formats
  • Virtual break room
  • Blog
  • Profile/ introduction videos
  • is sequential not simultaneous
  • is delayed
  • all participants are 'hyper'aware of themselves
Content preparation
Here you will find all the information you need to prepare the content.
In visual events, rules of communication must be agreed at the beginning. These primarily concern the handling of each other's data, agreements on visibility and anonymity, and agreements on the form of speeches and questions.
Privacy agreement
If you would like to record the workshop, as well as to safeguard your own data, a data protection agreement should be signed by all participants before the workshop begins.
Selection and review of technology & equipment
The choice of technology used should meet both the requirements of the workshop organizers and the technical conditions of the participants. It is therefore necessary to consider which applications are required for the implementation, which know-how is available for this and whether everyone has a stable Internet connection. If new tools are to be used, think about how you can familiarize yourself and the participants with them before the workshop if possible. Before the workshop begins, all equipment and programs should be checked for functionality. Above all, a very good sound transmission as well as a stable Internet connection are an indispensable minimum requirement. One person should be responsible for the smooth running of the technology during the workshop, because problems that arise cannot be solved by the teachers on the side.
Setting up the virtual rooms
Take time to prepare well the virtual rooms in which you want to work with the participants. How many rooms do you need? Set up the applications required for group work (e.g. pads, whiteboards, etc.). Prepare appropriate documents with the work tasks. Think about how the results worked out in the rooms will be saved.
Sending materials and overview of technical requirements
In order for the participants to be able to prepare well for the workshop, they will need the relevant links, passwords and work tasks from you in good time, as well as an overview of the technical requirements. It may be useful to set up an online platform where all information and materials can be made available in a bundled form.
Offer of help with technical problems
If it is possible for you to offer technical support on the day itself or even beforehand, you should consider such an additional offer. There are almost always participants who have difficulties with the technical requirements or with the applications used.
Recording desired?
If you want to record the event, do it on a separate computer and do not rely on the recording functions of the tools. One person should be responsible for the proper functioning of the technology throughout the workshop, because problems that arise can hardly be solved by the instructors during a workshop. Remember to have all participants approve the recording in writing as part of the privacy agreement or on a separate form.
The moderation team needs its own channel for simultaneous exchange
Set up a separate messenger or chat channel for yourself, i.e. the teachers and facilitators, on which you can communicate in parallel with the workshop. Make sure that this channel works separately from the workshop software in order to avoid mis-postings to the whole group.
Methodical design of virtual spaces and choice of formats
When designing workshops in virtual space, setting up the breakout rooms is not only a technical challenge. The process in detail and the corresponding design of the virtual rooms should be thoroughly prepared. We detail which methods are suitable for which formats in the virtual room in the method collection.
Make a precise schedule for your workshop and note down for each session in as much detail as possible which technical and organizational aspects need to be taken into account and what support you will need. Improvising is much more difficult with virtual events than with face-to-face events.
Moderation plays an even more important role in the virtual space. It should be clearly defined in advance how questions can be communicated and how functions such as chat and reporting systems are to be used.
Who will participate in the WS and how will the groups be composed?
Make sure you know well in advance which and how many people will participate in your event, as this will influence both technical decisions and the choice of methods. Consider the composition of the group and how intensively you want to guide or accompany the work in the groups. In heterogeneous groups there is a broader spectrum of experiences and previous knowledge, homogeneous groups with similar experiences, on the other hand, may make it easier to find a question that the participants can relate well to their everyday work, etc.
During a virtual workshop, there are some basic factors to consider. Since the attention span is shorter in the virtual space, different rules for time management apply here. You should not plan sessions longer than 3 hours, after which you need a long break (e.g. lunch break) or asynchronous independent work. Within this time span, a break of at least 5 minutes should be scheduled every 50-55. Within a learning unit you should change the format after max. 25 minutes, e.g. from plenary to group work, because in the virtual room the attention span already starts to decrease after 15 min. We recommend that you plan the workshop precisely in advance.
Here you will find all the information on content issues.
Supervision of working groups
Working groups in the virtual breakout room can be led or attended by you. Depending on how intensively you want to accompany the groups, you will need more or fewer people for moderation. Thus, you can "walk" through the virtual rooms yourself and visit the groups or provide each group with its own moderator.
Organize work processes
A variety of methods are available to you for working in groups in the virtual space as well; we present some of them in the method collection. Depending on the group size, composition and work objective, decide on the appropriate methods and consider which of the applications from the "Tools for virtual workshops" compilation you need for this.
Consultation and office hours
Make sure you are available for one-on-one meetings and consultation. It is best to communicate a fixed structure at the beginning of the workshop. You do not need to be available all the time, especially in your own interest. Communicate fixed office hours and specify how participants can sign up for them. In addition, you can still be available for questions at the beginning and end of the sessions in an extra breakout room or in the big room for everyone.
Here you will find all the information you need to follow up on a digital workshop.
Create forum for questions, answers and discussion
Follow-up and feedback are a fundamental part of agile and action-oriented learning and teaching. It is therefore essential to provide formats for questions and discussion in the group as well as with the teachers. Messenger services are just as suitable for this as forums on the learning platform or additional offers for online meetings outside the regular workshop times. If asynchronous work is to be done alone or in small groups between two workshop units, the appropriate tools and working materials must be made available.
Put documents and records online
Independent learning and self-regulation play an important role for action-oriented learning. Learning materials, recordings, additional texts, etc. should therefore be made easily accessible at all times, ideally on a learning platform created for the course. Ensure that all participants have access to the materials and that tasks are clearly defined and securely communicated.
Organize feedback
Think about the feedback separately. What format will you and the participants use to get feedback? You can find methods on the topic of feedback in the method collection.
Evaluate feedback
Take the time to evaluate the feedback. What is retained, what can be improved? Within the team, also do a feedback round on the workshop and compare the results with the feedback from the participants. At the end of the process, the format for the next session or workshop can be further developed based on the results.
Group formation
In virtual workshops, group formation must be more actively supported to enable informal exchange and a collaborative learning and working atmosphere. Participants cannot get to know each other before the workshop and during breaks over coffee and snacks. A group feeling and thus a good working atmosphere must therefore be promoted by you. The following measures can help:
  • Keep virtual space open before and after seminar hours and provide additional meeting space depending on the tool used.
  • Organize group messenger: Create a group on a messenger service of your choice and invite participants to join before the workshop.
  • Offer get-to-know-you formats: You can offer get-to-know-you formats before, but also during the workshop. These can include joint coffee breaks or a virtual evening event, additional discussions, virtual exhibitions, or evening joint film offerings on an appropriate topic.
  • Virtual break room: offer a constantly open break room throughout the workshop. Possibly use an application that allows participants to open breakout rooms themselves if they want to talk to each other in smaller groups.
  • Profile/introduction videos: Ask participants to provide information beforehand and make it available in a virtual exhibit. You can find a suggestion for this in the method collection under " Self-introduction/I marketplace".