Did your dog purchase a place on this virtual course? Kids, pets, pandemics and Zoom: The uninvited course delegates and why everyone is welcome.

by | May 31, 2023 | Education & Training, Training Manager

As a clinical trainer whom regularly delivers virtual courses, I have not experienced many virtual teaching sessions where we haven’t had an extra little visitor appear at some point. I’ve met many a furry, feathery or reptilian participant over the last few years, as well as countless small children. Don’t ever worry if you have someone in the background who wants to make a brief appearance on your virtual course despite your best efforts to keep them at bay: I love it.

Why is it not necessarily a bad thing if an uninvited guest makes an appearance?

dog on a virtual course

As much as people sometimes assume that virtual courses are more ‘impersonal’ than a physical classroom, I would beg to differ.

On Zoom, often people are in their own homes. Family life is going on in the background, the dog is reminding the delegate that it’s walkies time, and their children are trying to show them some sort of fabulous creation made from loo roll tubes. 

How much more personal can you get than that?

Why cats can help humans (unintentionally of course) and why kids can have the same effect as coffee.

It’s not always detrimental if there’s a small unplanned interruption on a virtual course. Indeed, it can be quite the opposite. My cat, Coco, often makes an appearance if I’m overrunning and it’s break time. She has learned when all the breaks usually are. She angles herself just perfectly so that her bottom is center of the screen for all to see. Coco knows I get rather embarrassed about this. She casually tries to delete my PowerPoint files with her paws and hangs from the curtains by her claws to get my attention. She knows full well this also stresses me out and it will make me relent and go and feed her. So, you can totally rely on Coco to ensure you get a timely break.

At 3pm-ish various kids usually start appearing (including mine on occasion if they manage to sneak away from whomever picked them up from school). It might seem like it could be annoying, but watching a screen full of 20 faces all light up and start waving at which ever mini-human has presented themselves is quite endearing. People tend to start to flag at around this time having been taking in information all day, whether it be on Zoom or in a physical classroom. There is only so much coffee one can get through. Grinning at a small child wakes people up a bit. It offers some light relief from what can be quite an intense day.

Most people these days seem to be accepting that everyone is human, have personal lives, and that distractions happen. An impromptu Zoom appearance on a virtual course shines a spotlight on the everyday lives of parents and pet owners who are just trying to juggle meeting the needs of everyone around them. The struggle is real!! Why should we hide that from one another?

cat on a virtual course

You might just gain a better relationship with your teacher (and gain a better teacher)

Before the pandemic, I did most of my teaching face to face in a traditional classroom setting. Learning to teach remotely has been quite a journey. I’ve had to think far more creatively about teaching and learning strategies than ever before. It’s HARD keeping people engaged, and its hard assessing learning at the best of times. Remote teaching is a whole other ball game and has made a lot of teachers, like myself, reconsider their strategies. I’ve therefore become a better teacher in a physical classroom now too thanks to the virtual classrooms opening up.

But on a virtual course, you also get a brief invitation into each other’s home, or a glimpse into each other’s work-spaces. You find out things about each other that you would never find out on a face-to-face course:

  • Their interior design skills and preferences
  • One’s favourite coffee cup
  • The lizards name
  • What the kids want for tea
  • Which internet provider one’s uses (and hates)
  • Why the plumber has turned up 2 hours late. 

Just little things that make everyday life what it is. Rather than hide it, why not embrace it and just enjoy the experience of getting to know each other? It’s much more comfortable teaching and learning when you really get to know each other.

So, come and join us for a virtual travel health course

Bring your dog and let them learn about rabies! We can use the appearance of your dog to stop Coco taunting me with her threats of file deletion!

Let the kids overhear about the dangers of rip tides or drinking tap water abroad. This could save their life one day!

Or how about joining a virtual immunisation course?

Your kids might benefit from listening in to why their injections are so important. You can borrow their arm to help try to locate the correct muscles to improve your injection technique.

Or what about a virtual phlebotomy course?

We don’t endorse the practice of actually injecting any of your family or friends- just to make that absolutely clear. However, if you do a phlebotomy course, make sure your partner isn’t listening in the background for that one. Once they find out they will probably have to wear a tourniquet multiple times while you practice feeling for veins afterwards, they might decide to hide!

If you are worried about a virtual course being boring or impersonal, think again. Funny (and often lovely) things start happening once you start remotely teaching or learning. Especially if you’re doing it from home. And you never know, it could just benefit you in ways you never thought it would.

One more benefit of virtual learning:

As well as occasionally getting a belly laugh like the people in this video you get to surround yourself with snacks all day and munch to your heart’s content. I fully support keeping a pot of tea and the biscuit barrel nearby!!!

Hope to see you (and maybe even your kids, pets, and favourite snacks) on a course soon!

Please look at the full range of face-to-face and virtual courses on offer.

And in case you were wondering what Coco looks like here she is, waiting to meet you and make sure you get your breaks on time.

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