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The Journey From Live to Remote Training

Posted By Ruta Stropus, Professional Development and CLE Manager, Katten , Friday, August 14, 2020

(submitted on behalf of ACLEA’s In-House SIG)

My law firm went remote on March 16, 2020, due to COVID-19. We were told to go into the office, gather all necessary items, and not to return until further notice. It was a surreal feeling going into the office on that Monday and experiencing the typically bustling city of Chicago. It felt more like a ghost town than a city. The rest of the week went by like a blur—cancelling live programs, wrestling with technology, and hoping for the best.

In the weeks to come, we all wrestled with changes in our personal and home lives. When it began to dawn on us that remote work was here to stay (at least for the foreseeable future), it was time to think about online, rather than live training.

My law firm has used webinars mainly for external client-facing programs. Internally, most of our training programs were still live in one office and video-conferenced to others.  Pivoting to live, on-line programs was challenging, and here are my lessons learned.

  1. Not all remote learning platforms are the same. WebEx (meetings or events), Zoom, GoToMeeting, and all the rest each have their pros and cons. My firm had used WebEx as a platform for external programs, so we began to use WebEx for internal offerings. But what I had to learn is that even with one product, there were different functionalities, depending on whether one opted to use WebEx meetings or events. And I also had to immerse myself in those differences.  I don’t speak I.T. fluently, so this definitely took some time. But it was time well spent because, ultimately, I needed to teach my speakers about the differences, so they too could choose the right approach. 
  2. Some attorney-speakers are not comfortable with change. Not all of our partners and senior associates were comfortable presenting online. Of course, comfort of a live classroom was always something we handled (how many people to expect, classroom set up, speaker needs, flipcharts, small group breakout rooms, and the like), but now we had to think about the speaker’s lighting in his or her room, the sound, the connection and bandwidth capabilities, sharing a screen, using chat features, muting/unmuting, and the rest. I created an FAQ for presenting on-line for our speakers on these and other issues and coordinated with I.T. to make sure the speakers had time for a quick dress rehearsal. I also volunteered to be a “producer” for all internal programs, so that I could not only take care of all CLE related tasks (reminding folks to send in verification forms, noting the CLE program code, etc.), but could also handle monitoring the chat, helping with technical issues, and more. 
  3. Interactivity can be achieved on-line, but it’s different. Most of our live programs, despite my attempts at incorporating interactivity, still remained lecture based. Pivoting to an on-line format hasn’t changed delivery style. If anything, some speakers are more reluctant to try to incorporate interactive components while learning a new format for presenting. But when exposed to a presentation by Steve Hughes on how to make programs more engaging, I did see incremental change. Perhaps not putting folks into small groups to discuss an issue, but at least trying something like posing a question and asking the audience to respond in the chat feature, using polling, or asking for a quick yes/no. And, for smaller programs, asking the audience to display video, so that the speaker could make eye contact and foster a discussion.
  4. Lessons learned. As always, ACLEA members were a great resource. Knowing that I could reach out to those who had more experience was extremely beneficial. Second, being willing and able to learn details about the resources we had and their advantages/disadvantages was key. While I.T. is outstanding, sometimes you need to get your hands dirty. Immersing myself in the platforms and learning the interactive tools was key to teaching others. Finally, patience.  Not all speakers were willing, ready, or able to adapt. Some feared that their expertise in the subject matter would be undermined by their inability to handle technology.  My job was not to dismiss that fear, but to acknowledge that the technology was a bit cumbersome and did take a bit of practice. That said, it was also my job to teach the basics and take care of the rest—everything from reading CLE codes to muting/unmuting to posting polling questions. I do feel that during this time, I have forged new relationships with partner-speakers who might just be willing, over time, to try something new!

Tags:  dista  learning platforms  online training  remote learning  remote work 

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ACLEA Announces a New Online Learning Platform

Posted By ACLEA, Thursday, October 10, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2019

ACLEA is pleased to introduce our new online learning platform to help enhance your professional development!

Whether you are in a leadership role, a program planner, a legal publications editor or handle marketing or technology support for your CLE organization, there’s online content to help you navigate the CLE world.

The new Resource Library will include conference videos, session handouts and webinars coming soon.

Videos Include:

  1. ACLEA CLE Boot Camp
  2. Building effective relationships at work
  3. Getting the greatest bang for your marketing buck
  4. Growing your social media presence
  5. How and why to use Style Guides
  6. Member Engagement
  7. Practical tips on handling the most sensitive program topics
  8. Repurposing old content for new audiences
  9. Strategies for implementing diversity into your content
  10. Tech tools to enhance a live or online CLE presentation

And the best part — most of the content is available to ACLEA members free of charge.

Start investing in your professional development today!

  1. Go to
  2. Sign in as a Member using your ACLEA username and password
  3. Once signed in, select the Membership tab
  4. From there you select Enter Group
  5. Once in the Group expand the Resources and/or Category + on the right sidebar to apply the filters and search for resources that interest you. You can also perform a keyword search by title in the search bar on the top of the screen.

This is a great way for you to catch up on what you missed.

Tags:  LMS  online training  resources 

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Using Technology in Innovative Ways to Build and Develop Effective Online Learning

Posted By H. Lalla Shishkevish, Associate Director, The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Using Technology in Innovative Ways to Build and Develop Effective Online Learning

How can CLE providers give lawyers new tools for serving clients more effectively and efficiently?  Innovative on-line training can help.

ACLEA recognized The Institute of Continuing Legal Education (“ICLE”) for its work in this area with the 2019 Award of Professional Excellence in Technology for Custody, Parenting Time, and Support through Judgment and Postjudgment Custody, Parenting Time, and Support Online Training.

Online Training

ICLE turned to some important adult learning principles to create its online training:

  • Effective adult learning involves absorbing and understanding new information and then applying it appropriately.
  • Lawyers should be able to access the right training tools at the time they are thinking about that new client problem or drafting a new document. 
  • Adult learners should be able to choose where, when, and how they learn.
  • Learning and training should be available in short, focused segments because this is what busy lives demand and it aligns better with how brains absorb and retain information.
  • The best CLE engages the learner’s experience and expertise in the learning activity, giving lawyers an opportunity to use and build on what they already know when doing training.
  • Effective CLE should use relevant stories and examples to teach new skills because more parts of the brain are engaged and learners understand and remember better when they hear a story.

To create such online training, ICLE combined new and existing technological vehicles in novel ways: Custody, Parenting Time, and Support through Judgment and Postjudgment Custody, Parenting Time, and Support Online Training allows family lawyers to master and improve their custody-related skills at their own pace, across all devices, whenever and wherever they want. ICLE combined a variety of technologies deliver carefully planned lessons with an activity tailored for each skill: short video demonstrations, videos with expert commentary, forms, charts, checklists, a decision-making branching scenario, and interactive exercises that allow lawyers to test their proficiency.

A learning management system (LMS) provides structure for the online training, tracks the lawyer’s progress, and allows easy navigation on any device. Choosing an LMS that integrates well with iMIS, ICLE’s customer relations management system, enables lawyers to use a single sign-in to access all of their ICLE resources. It also lets ICLE track each lawyer’s progress. The LMS provides a range of effective options for creating “Apply Your Knowledge” exercises that are a critical component of online skills training. Specialized branching scenario software that is mobile friendly and imports easily to the LMS adds additional interactivity. In the branching scenario, lawyers interact with a client, make decisions, and see the immediate impact on the client. Our existing resource database has tools that allow ICLE to manage, monitor, and update the forms, checklists and other resources we developed for the online training. We wove all of these pieces together with some custom coding developed in-house to provide a seamless user experience.

Some of the features that make this online training effective for adult learning and help lawyers develop new skills include:

  • Structured lessons based on learning objectives and customer needs.
  • A realistic case scenario with an evolving story line that begins with parents divorcing and moving across state and follows the same parents as they grapple with further typical custody and support issues. Professional actors played the client roles to make the demonstrations more realistic, absorbing and memorable.
  • Simulated engagement with the hypothetical clients through a client file that builds realistically as the case develops. The client file has pleadings and memos with facts gathered from the clients to illustrate how an experienced practitioner would handle the case. Video demonstrations show attorneys gathering information, preparing client testimony, examining witnesses, and interacting with judges. A decision-making branching scenario allows lawyers to respond to videos of client questions and reactions.
  • Tools that facilitate efficiency. Lawyers can maximize the efficient handling of their own cases by using the charts and checklists created as lesson resources.
  • Practical insight into case strategy. Along with fact-specific pleadings drafted by experts, annotated trial briefs and witness outlines with expert commentary explain drafting decisions and providing practice pointers.
  • Mock hearing demonstrations. Video demonstrations show lawyers giving opening and closing statements, examining witnesses, admitting evidence, making objections, and interacting with referees and judges. Lawyers tell us that they value seeing lawyers in action and how judges and referees respond.
  • Exercises to cement skill-development. Each lesson concludes with exercises that use different fact scenarios that let lawyers compare their analysis or response with that of an expert. After responding to targeted instructions (e.g., “identify two things you would change” or “three issues you would raise with the client”), lawyers immediately compare their responses to written expert feedback that provides both a concise answer and a more detailed explanation. Lawyers using ICLE’s online training tell us this exercise and feedback part of the program is one of the most valuable aspects of their experience.

Tags:  Award of Professional Excellence in Technology  awards  ICLE  online training  tools 

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