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406 Enliven Virtual Learning with the Art of Facili-tainment

3:15 PM - 4:15 PM ET
Monday, November 7

Tracks: Practices

Keeping people’s attention virtually has been a challenge for everyone in learning and development the last two years. Facilitators need to work hard to keep learners engaged with content while getting the core message across in a virtual environment. Just because it’s virtual doesn’t mean it can’t be exciting. Our team realized quickly that how we handled these challenges would determine if we would sink or swim. Our response? Facili-tainment.

We spent the bulk of 2020 experimenting with combining facilitation and entertainment and ended the year as the top two performers on our facilitation team, exceeding the company benchmark. The permanent change to virtual in 2021 meant we had to keep thinking of new ways to prevent people from succumbing to the myriad of distractions available and remain engaged with content. We’ll share our experience in this session.

In the last two years, we have made serious headway changing the learner mindset from “this is a bore” to “I want more.” We accomplished this together, despite the fact we had never even met in person! To accomplish this, we pulled some tricks from our entertainment pasts and found ways to work them into our virtual classrooms. In this session, you’ll learn how to hook your learner as soon as they enter the virtual room, how to promote engagement, and reduce multitasking. We’ll share the art of making co-facilitation seem like a radio show, and the power of storytelling. The biggest benefit we have seen from our strategy is, once people have taken our classes, they start looking for others. We want to talk to you, facilitator-to-facilitator, and help to ignite the entertainer in you!

In this session, you will learn:

  • How to open a session with enthusiasm
  • Strategies to reduce learner multi-tasking
  • How to successfully weave in personal examples
  • The art of co-facilitation

Jennifer Ashrafi

Senior Virtual Delivery and Engagement Specialist


Jen Ashrafi is a virtual delivery and engagement specialist for Allstate’s Enterprise Learning and Development team. After spending over 15 years in the broadcasting industry, including 12 as co-host of a popular afternoon radio show in Chicago, Jen transitioned to her current role with Allstate in early 2020. This platform allows Jen to use her previous experience connecting with a radio audience to facilitate various learning opportunities to the enterprise in a virtual environment. Jen’s philosophy is to have a little bit of fun while learning a lot, because taking yourself too seriously is a barrier to growth.

William Oakley

Senior Virtual Delivery and Engagement Specialist


William Oakley has presented to over 750,000 people across four continents. He’s a professional educator, with seven years of classroom education experience. He currently serves as a virtual delivery and engagement specialist for the Enterprise Learning and Development team at Allstate, where he uses his experience to “make boring stuff not boring” and to inspire people to enjoy learning.