🤯The Quest #68 – How to Reduce Overwhelm in Your Virtual Sessions

Greetings from Barcelona 🌧️where thankfully it is finally raining after months of drought.

🙌Many thanks for reading The Quest.

If you are joining for the first time, welcome to our deep dive into facilitation, learning, and how to live a creative life.

Let’s jump right in!

🤯 Have you ever felt overwhelmed after an online session?

I had been sitting in front of my computer for an hour.

I was listening to our online course instructor tell us everything he knew on the topic. Like a Formula 1 driver, he was racing through slides, graphs, and frameworks. He came to a screeching halt. And the class was over.

My brain was about to explode.

I hadn’t moved a muscle in 60 minutes but I felt exhausted. The worrying thing was, I could barely remember what we had covered in the class.

I was suffering from cognitive overload.

I was trying to process more information than my working memory could handle. We suffer from cognitive overload every day as information becomes more accessible and abundant.

Overwhelm is quickly becoming a hallmark of online courses.

The problem is that as virtual facilitators and instructors, we may be contributing to cognitive overload without even realizing it.

That’s where facilitation comes in.

Whether you are leading a course, delivering a presentation, or hosting a meeting there are facilitation strategies to help you reduce cognitive overload for your group members.

🤔What is cognitive overload and how do you avoid it when you lead groups?

That’s our Quest for this week🔎

👉3 Ways To Avoid Cognitive Overload by MasterClass

👉What UX Can Teach Us About Minimizing Cognitive Load

👉10 Ways You Can Make Content Delivery Less Overwhelming (and more interactive)


🎥 Have you made a Loom video yet?

💡3 Ways to Avoid Cognitive Overload by MasterClass

A short article with a down-to-earth explanation of cognitive load theory.

They break down the causes of cognitive overload:

  • Distractions —> social media and texts
  • Split-attention effect —> confusing learning materials
  • Expertise reversal effect —> assuming prior information that learners don’t have

And offer 3 ways to manage cognitive overload:

✔️Ask questions

✔️Eliminate personal distractions

✔️Focus on one task at a time (by far the one I find most difficult 😅)

Read the full article 👉here.

How do you manage cognitive overload?

🖥️Minimize Cognitive Load to Maximize Usability

My research on cognitive overload took me down some fascinating rabbit holes, including what we can learn from User Experience experts. That’s how I came across this article from the Neilson Norman Group.

It helped me understand the parallels between seamless website interface design and learning. My biggest takeaway from the article

👉There is no way to eliminate cognitive load entirely. And that’s not the goal.

👉We need “intrinsic cognitive load” to absorb new information and to learn.

👉You want to eliminate “extraneous cognitive load” – the processing that takes up mental resources but doesn’t help users understand the content.

Here are 3 tips they offer:

✔️Avoid visual clutter

✔️Build on existing mental models

✔️Offload tasks

Read the full article 👉here.

🗣️10 Ways You Can Make Content Delivery Less Overwhelming (and way more interactive)

I realized that all of the virtual sessions I lead are experiential, and interactive, with lots of breakout groups and live group discussions.

But what if your focus is on delivering content?

How can you deliver a lot of content in a way that doesn’t lead to cognitive overload for your group members? That was what I explored with a course creator I coached last week.

Here’s a Twitter thread that I just published with facilitation tips for making online content delivery less overwhelming – including lectures, webinars, workshops, and presentations.

twitter profile avatar Gwyn Wansbrough 🚢Twitter Logo @gwynwans If you lead online classes and teams you may be contributing to your group’s overwhelm without even realizing it. Whizzing through lectures, presentations, and meetings can contribute to cognitive overload. Here are 10 facilitation techniques that you can use to reduce it👇 March 14th 2022 0 Retweets 0 Likes

How do you make content delivery less overwhelming? Join the conversation on Twitter!

🎥 A Video App That You Will Love Called Loom

Do you use Loom? It makes filming and sharing videos incredibly easy and you can do a lot with a free subscription.

I’m aiming to reduce cognitive overload for my Breakthrough Facilitation course participants by recording short videos of key concepts that people can watch in their own time.

Here are some other ways I use Loom:

👉To add a personal message when I send a written proposal to a potential client

👉To make asynchronous teamwork easier with my Loom-savvy course manager Lilian (👋hi Lilian)

👉 To teach my mom how to use different features of Google Drive 😅

👉To send short thank you videos – like this one for YOU for reading the Quest👇

💌Thanks for reading The Quest

I always love hearing your feedback and suggestions. Just hit reply to share your thoughts and ideas.

🙌Special shout out to Jenny in San Francisco, Lux in New Jersey, and Brendon in Holland, Maria in Miami, Connie in Toronto, Michaele and Barry in Bracebridge, and Joan in Mansfield.

Visit my website for ways we can work together 👉 here.

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Creatively yours,

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