When participants and trainers communicate synchronously via online tools at different locations, the technical and methodological design of the seminar must optimally support the participants' communication with each other and with the trainer.
This includes didactic care, excellent trainer qualifications and smooth event organisation, as well as the appropriate use of images, sound and text/chat in interactive real-time exchanges.
Only seminars and training courses delivered in this way can meet our quality standards. And these are the live online seminars as defined by the GTB.
What we do
This is not only important for face-to-face seminars.
In live online seminars, trainers and participants are connected by virtual classroom tools with bi-directional feedback options, so that our trainers can respond promptly to messages from individual participants throughout the virtual event, supporting the learning process.
As a participant, you will find plenty of space to take notes, ask questions or work on exercises. Fixed time slots for questions allow you to ask your questions live.
In live online seminars, you can also use the chat feature to send your questions to the group or individually to your trainer, who can then either send the answers directly or incorporate them into the teaching process.
Supported by technology and facilitated by the trainer, online training allows you to interact in real time. You have the opportunity to ask questions, make suggestions or contribute your own content using chat functions in the group or individually to participants or trainers, and to report back using the 'handshake' function. If you enable video, our trainers can see you and respond to you directly, just as they would in a face-to-face seminar.
Breakout rooms allow you to work in small groups on exercises or present your own solutions on the virtual flipchart.
Surveys and question-and-answer sessions via audio and video conferencing, as well as worksheets filled in by participants, give your trainer an idea of how each person in the group is progressing.
In practice and review sessions, participants are also encouraged to become active and present small pieces of knowledge themselves.
The more complex the learning content (indicated by the K levels in the ISTQB standard syllabi), the more intensive the interactive collaboration in the learning group during its development.
This sets our courses apart from lectures, self-study courses or pure collections of material.
Regular chapter or daily reviews, as well as spontaneous short surveys (flashlight method) and question rounds, will allow you to share your suggestions about the course with your trainer.
You can report back virtually using the "handshake" feature with commentary via the audio channel in the Virtual Classroom tool used when the trainer calls it up - or you can use one of the available chat channels, either to the trainer directly or to the whole group.
At the end of each course, you will receive a detailed feedback sheet, giving you the opportunity to describe your impressions in as much detail as you wish, as well as suggesting areas for improvement.
We welcome your feedback, even during the course, as we want to make our courses the best possible learning experience for everyone. But even after the course, our QA thrives on your feedback. It is used for personal reflection by the trainers and for continuous improvement at all levels of the training, from the course authors to the support and monitoring of specific events - and where it concerns our partners, it also reaches them. For example, the examination centre, external venue providers, the German Testing Board or, through our participation in various working groups, the ISTQB itself.
As a participant in our courses, you will complete exercises which will be debriefed by the trainer with your learning group. This allows you to understand, discuss and compare different solutions. The trainer will ensure that you achieve the learning objectives associated with the exercises. If required, you can complete optional exercises in the course or as 'homework' and debrief the next day.
The polling feature allows you to let everyone work out the questions for themselves first. For example, selected high quality sample exam questions. The discussion of correct and incorrect answers is done in the same way as the usual dialogues via audio connection, but also with the help of flipcharts or visualisation tools such as an electronic whiteboard.
We use tried and tested methods, such as card quizzes and quizzes, to help you check that you have understood the material and whether you need to revise it. And because you learn best when you explain things yourself, you will occasionally be asked to present sections of the material yourself after you have prepared them.
The numerous question and answer sessions throughout the course are most effectively used at the end of each chapter or topic, not only to answer the question you have just asked, but also to ask your own questions about the material and the learning objectives of the underlying curriculum.
Our trainers have created trainer guides specifically for online training. They are based on our experience of online training and include best practice and tips for using the technology in different studios and with different tools. We have established the use of electronic and physical presentation techniques and described their implementation in video transmission in the virtual classroom. But it also includes very practical considerations such as scripting for the medium, with time-limited modules and quicker changes of learning blocks and breaks.
Accordingly, we have reorganised our online courses to include several shorter breaks followed by activation sequences.
In our documents and learning media, we convey the course content through an interplay of text and visualising graphics such as bicablo graphics and mind maps, through designed slides, through graphics created during the discussion on the whiteboard, or through pre-designed flipchart series.
In our exercises we like to combine playful elements with exercise projects to be worked on individually or in a group. We also like to incorporate other media such as videos, or take a look at the syllabus together if necessary.
Sample exam questions and short presentations help you practise reproducing what you have learnt. You will also be actively involved in lightning rounds, discussions, polls using the polling tool and chat.
Our trainers can take you from the meta-level of theoretical observation to the description of concrete implementation of the content at any time, as they are able to explain the content using examples from their own professional experience.
In addition to a variety of methods and a didactic approach appropriate to the subject, the characteristics of the learning group are an important factor in the course.
In the case of in-company seminars, we will advise you on the most appropriate course format for your intended group of participants. In addition to the specific objective of the event, the size of your learning group, the type of prior knowledge available and the homogeneity of the knowledge base across the group are important factors.
We also like to take into account the different backgrounds of the participants and integrate them into the learning event. For example, who could give a more convincing account of the developmental perspective of a test than a fellow student who comes from that very background?
For open seminars, we have the same maximum group size for both face-to-face and online seminars. For intensive courses it's usually 10 people and for regular seminars it's usually 12 people.
Even for corporate events, we will only deviate from these group sizes at the client's request and in consultation with the client. In this case, a second trainer can be sent for online breakouts or more intensive hands-on support on site - or we can simply split the course into two groups.
Our teaching experience also includes lecturing at universities and colleges and at trade shows, where we have had triple-digit delegate numbers, but we are primarily dedicated to intensive methods and hands-on training, where the number of delegates is always well below 20, even when a second trainer is used.
Our trainers are our greatest asset!
In addition to their talent and enthusiasm for training, they have many years of experience, both from project work in the subject areas they teach and from successfully delivering method training to participants from different industries, with different levels of prior knowledge and training objectives.
But we do not rest on our laurels!
Our trainers continue to train! They maintain their didactic tools as part of internal imbus induction and further training measures, as well as in seminars on soft skills, presentation and moderation, presentation techniques and e-learning, or in "train the trainer" tutorials, such as those offered exclusively by the German Testing Board to its partners. Trainers who deliver or prepare to deliver live online training also take part in specially designed training courses. And, of course, our trainers coach each other, exchanging strategies for delivering specific content, experiences of specific training situations in face-to-face and online seminars, as well as general areas for improvement in presentation techniques and document design.
The online training formats of the imbus Academy not only benefit from our trainers' already extensive experience with online teaching! The new push in this direction has led to many more suggestions, which we are eager to take up and develop further. We have developed new, particularly practical course formats. The experience gained from these seminars is now being incorporated into the didactic design of our standard courses!
Learning needs a good environment! For face-to-face seminars, we ensure that our training rooms are easily accessible, quiet, spacious and conducive to concentration on the material. We provide full catering so that our participants can concentrate fully on the seminar and on group interaction during the breaks.
It is also important that our trainers are familiar with both the presentation technology and the technical environment in which they are training, so that they can, for example, confidently operate a tool or test environment that is used as an example in the course.
For online training, we have been equally uncompromising in finding the best environment for the training situation. Not only do we ensure the security of your data, for example by choosing a provider that is based in Germany and whose servers are located within the European legal area. Our software also supports the different didactic approaches we use, such as question and answer sessions or group work, and allows the use of different techniques and media. This allows us to cover the full range of methods, from the classic flipchart to embedded video.
Our trainers have been trained in the use of these tools and have optimised the learner experience by developing their own infrastructure, so that the optimum learning situations can be recreated in line with a face-to-face seminar and at the same time the additional options such as breakout rooms or surveys and chats can be used and integrated smoothly into the process.
In advance of a live online training session, we will send you information about the virtual classroom software that will be used in the session and the associated system requirements.
This will allow you to check your system in advance, identify the most suitable environment for your participation and ensure its availability at the time of the training.
Your virtual classroom will be up and running well in advance of the training, and our trainers will be on hand to help with any minor technical issues that may arise during the training. In addition, both the trainers and you, the participant, can contact the Academy's training organisation at any time. The Academy's training organisation works in the background during each training session and is available by e-mail and telephone to provide organisational support before, during and after the training.
No technology without testing!
For all online training courses, we schedule a technical check with the entire group at least one week before the start of the course to ensure that the virtual classroom works smoothly on the terminals used by the participants.
If something is not working, both the participants and the academy will have enough time after this check to find a solution.