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Contributed by
Auditory Verbal UK

Overview

Auditory Verbal UK (AVUK) supports deaf babies and children to learn to listen and speak. Their ambition is that every one of the 7,200 deaf children under the age of five in the UK has access to auditory verbal therapy close to their home. To achieve this, there need to be 300 trained Auditory Verbal therapists in the UK.

As well as delivering therapy for children and their families, the charity trains professionals to deliver therapy, through an internationally-accredited training programme and other short online courses.

They had been delivering online training for professionals for some time before the pandemic. However, the pandemic majorly accelerated the use of AVUK’s online training services. Online training has since enabled them to significantly expand their reach, with larger numbers of people able to attend sessions.

The charity has used several platforms to deliver online training. This has primarily taken place over Zoom, with a particular focus on the webinar format, although they also deliver certain sessions over Microsoft Teams because of the platform's closed captioning capabilities.

Recipe status

This recipe has been in use since March 2020.

We are not sharing this recipe as the perfect solution to a problem, but we believe Auditory Verbal UK’s learnings could be very useful to other organisations.

Users and needs served

  • As a service user, I need to access training online

Software and tools used

Zoom

Zoom is a popular online conferencing platform with video, audio, and live text chat. Features include the ability to screen share, as well as to share links and other media during a session.

Cost

Zoom offers a range of subscriptions. The free ‘Basic’ plan allows unlimited one-to-one meetings but has a 40-minute time limit on group sessions. There are also various options for paid plans: Pro (£11.99/month/host) Business (£15.99/month/host) Enterprise (£15.99/month/host). These plans contain increased options for participation and no time restrictions. Zoom is also available at discounted charity rates through the Charity Digital Exchange programme. More price options can be found here.

Considerations

● Zoom is already a familiar platform to a lot of people, so service users may be more comfortable using Zoom than installing a new platform

● Zoom has specific features for hosting webinars

● Closed captioning allows the host, a co-host, or an integrated third-party captioning service to add captioning in a meeting

● The breakout rooms feature in Zoom is helpful for larger numbers of attendees as you can split people into groups

● When using Zoom’s webinar functionality and presentation tools you can't always see the audience

● Zoom does provide its own automatic (AI) closed captioning, but this is only for paid accounts.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration app within the Microsoft Office 365 suite that includes instant messaging, videoconferencing, and the ability to share content from other Office 365 apps.

Cost

There is a free version of Microsoft Teams, but it does not include the ability to record meetings and there is a maximum meeting duration of 60 minutes.

The most basic paid plan, Microsoft 365 Business Basic, starts at £3.80 per user per month. This includes increased file storage, recordings and unlimited meeting times.

You can view more info on Microsoft Teams pricing here.

Microsoft 365 subscriptions are available at discounted charity rates through the Charity Digital Exchange programme.

Considerations

● Microsoft Teams provides free closed captioning

● It integrates with Microsoft apps such as Outlook for calendar invites

Skype

Skype is a video calling app that allows video and voice chat between any devices.

Cost

The Skype app for desktop and mobile is free to download. Skype to Skype calls are free – but to call a mobile or landline from Skype, you need to purchase Skype Credit or a subscription.

Considerations

● Skype is best for one-to-one conversations in place of a telephone call

● Skype is easy to use and free

● The video quality on Skype is quite poor compared to Zoom

● There is no closed captioning

Recipe steps

1. Introduce Zoom to staff

Train staff so that they’re comfortable using your chosen video conferencing platform. Get used to it yourself and practise.

Decide in your leadership team how you want to use the platform to deliver your service. Familiarise yourself with the key features, before launching a pilot scheme with your team. To do this, you can use internal meetings as a testing ground for video conferencing.

Some people might feel more comfortable than others and some may require further support.

2. Decide on the platform

After testing, gather internal feedback from the team about the platform. Find out what elements your team is confident with, and what elements they need further support with. Commit to spending more time with people who need more support.

Get feedback from service users by delivering some pilot sessions with a feedback component. From this, assess whether your chosen platform is the right choice for both your organisation's needs and those of your service users.

3. Set up a process for capturing queries

Questions about the event will need to be answered. Make sure there is a process for this – set up an inbox and check it every day in the run-up to the event, to make sure people know times, dates, and how to access their session.

Include an FAQs section to signpost people to on your website. This saves time answering basic questions.

Ensure there is a process whereby when someone signs up to an event they automatically get sent a Zoom invitation with all the information they need.

4. Promote training sessions and gather sign ups

Promote your sessions via social media and email newsletter.

You can also spread the word in the community. Get speakers to promote the programme directly through their professional networks.

5. Send Zoom links to attendees

Make sure that Zoom links are sent out automatically. That way, when someone signs up for a session, they automatically get an invite with important information.

6. Gather feedback and optimise the process

Ensure that you capture people’s contact information when they sign up. Work with the person delivering the training to write up a short survey that goes out after the session.

Find out what people liked and what could be improved. Send it out shortly afterwards, so people don’t lose interest or forget.

Check on responses and make tweaks where you can.

Guidance

Commit to an online platform like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, get to know it and ensure staff are comfortable using it before rolling it out en masse.

You can pre-record presentations or even show videos during your discussion to keep people engaged. It is important to incorporate a visual component at all times to hold people’s attention.

If it's a panel discussion, you can use the breakout room feature in Zoom to enable people to talk about a subject in smaller groups.

Make sure there's a process for capturing queries about the webinar – who do people go to if they don't receive the Zoom link or want more information about the webinar?

Risks

Be aware that organising online events can be just as difficult and time-consuming as in person, although they can be really beneficial in reaching a wider audience. It can't be turned around in a minute, and it takes practice to be able to set them up quickly. Don't assume that it's quicker or easier than in person, and allow for time to set up and practise.

Have a clear contingency plan in place should something go wrong – for example, if a presenter's internet connection is lost for some reason or Zoom goes down. It's always a good idea to have a backup email for those signed up to let them know about the situation and when the session will be resuming.

Consider security risks and how you will deal with inappropriate behaviour in an online session.

Thanks

Many thanks to Auditory Verbal UK for contributing this recipe.

Licence

This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and Auditory Verbal UK and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.

Recipe published on March 24th, 2021. Last updated April 1st, 2021