Revolutionizing Workshops with Hybrid Whiteboarding

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In a world that’s constantly evolving and going digital, the way we learn and cooperate is changing too. Traditional workshops have always been a go-to method for interactive learning and collaboration. They’re the places where ideas flow freely, where knowledge is put into action, and where people connect. But let’s be honest – sometimes, the idea of dragging yourself to a specific location can feel like a chore, especially if it involves a tedious two-hour journey for something that may or may not be worth it.

But don’t hit the snooze button on workshops just yet! In this fast-paced, digital age, there’s a way to revamp the whole experience. Imagine a world where you get to choose how you want to participate – in person or remotely. It’s all about flexibility and convenience, making sure you can engage with the content without the hassle of travel.

On the other hand, you might be thinking, “But can we really keep our audience invested during a fully remote workshop?” Fair concerns, but fear not! There’s a treasure trove of tools at your disposal to make remote workshops not only possible but also engaging and inspiring. We’re not just talking about dry presentations; we’re talking about fostering creativity and active participation. After all, learning and collaborating should be dynamic and fun, right?

Our answer is hybrid whiteboarding!

What exactly does that mean? To put it simply, this approach allows participants to select whether they prefer to attend remotely or in person. However, it’s crucial to emphasize that for this hybrid model to be genuinely effective, the needs of both “digital” and “live” participants must be fully addressed. We should ensure that remote attendees are not treated as an afterthought, and in-person participants do not gather to work solely with digital tools.

Thankfully, there is ShareTheBoard (STB), a leader in the hybrid-first collaboration category, to help you achieve this balance.

Image: Canva.com

What is the difference between ShareTheBoard and digital whiteboards?

STB is an innovative software application that enables users to share their physical whiteboard with remote participants in real-time. This cutting-edge solution harnesses the power of computer vision and machine learning to maintain the clarity and interactivity of whiteboard content, even for attendees located in different regions. Crucially, it retains the essential “human element” of a whiteboarding session, with the host physically present at the whiteboard, guiding others through their creative process.

Digital whiteboards, in contrast, are typically hardware devices that combine a large touchscreen display with a stylus or other input mechanisms. These digital tools empower users to create and share digital content, such as photos or sticky notes. They can be used independently or as part of a comprehensive video conferencing setup.

Both ShareTheBoard and digital whiteboards offer a plethora of advantages, making them indispensable tools for modern collaboration:

  • They allow real-time collaboration among participants, bridging the gap between the physical and virtual worlds.
  • Both platforms allow you to save and export your work, ensuring that no valuable ideas or insights are lost. This feature is a lifesaver for follow-up and future reference!
  • With the rise of the remote age, they can provide a crucial bridge for conducting workshops with participants spread across the globe. This accessibility enhances inclusivity and ensures that no one is left out, basically making your workshops truly global endeavors! 

However, it’s in the nuances that the distinction becomes apparent:

  • Digital canvases have a limited physical scale, while traditional whiteboards can be any size, from a poster to an auditorium wall.  This greater area allows for a more comfortable co-creative process, inviting greater participation and ensuring greater in-person visibility in larger areas.
  • Speaking of comfort – let’s be honest – there’s something more comfortable and familiar about writing with a marker over a stylus. It’s more fluid and less likely to impede the free flow of energy on which workshops often depend.
  • While the capabilities of digital whiteboards are undeniably impressive, they come at a premium. Specialized equipment, such as interactive displays and smartboards, can generate significant costs. Additionally, software subscriptions or licensing fees are common. It’s an investment, you should really think through! Then there’s installation, maintenance, updates… (And don’t forget that even if you decide to use a digital whiteboard, you will still need a camera to be seen by remote attendee.)
  • Hardware solutions are not scalable or mobile. On the other hand, STB stands out for its agility. Even if you don’t have a whiteboard, you can still use it with electrostatic sheets or even a simple sheet of paper! And when you’re on the road or leading an impromptu session, it’s much easier to bring a laptop than a large touchscreen monitor.
Image: Canva.com

Exercise Time - Engage, Collaborate, and Thrive!

Now that you have ShareTheBoard at your disposal, let’s dive into the art of making your workshop not just educational but an engaging journey where knowledge and creativity unite. Because, let’s face it, the heart and soul of any workshop lies in the dynamic interplay between the host and the participants. We’re here to transform your workshop from a monotonous monologue into an exhilarating and practical learning experience! 

Don’t get me wrong, lectures have their own merit. They offer a splendid opportunity to soak up knowledge and insights from the experience of others. But workshops? Well, they’re tailor-made for the hands-on, interactive, and immersive side of learning. So let’s dive into the art of making your workshop not just educational but an engaging journey where knowledge and creativity unite.

Brainstorming session: A Collective Idea Forge

To kick off a successful brainstorming session, there’s an age-old tool you can always rely on – the classic whiteboard. This unassuming yet invaluable canvas for creativity has been a mainstay for a good reason. And now with ShareTheBoard, you can teach it new tricks!

Let’s start at the beginning, by clearly defining the purpose of your brainstorming session, outlining the specific problem or topic at hand, and setting achievable goals. Whether your participants are in the room or scattered across the globe, STB allows every team member to collaborate.

Next, the canvas is ready. In the heart of the whiteboard, inscribe the central idea, question, or challenge, which acts as your idea generation guide. Encourage all participants to contribute their thoughts, whether through text, drawings, or anything in between. Watch the creativity unfold before your eyes. And in the spirit of true innovation, don’t filter out the unconventional or far-fetched notions. Every single idea, no matter how wild, should find a safe haven on the board.

Once the brainstorming dust settles, transition to the critical review phase. Sort through the wealth of ideas and extract the most valuable gems. After the session is completed, ShareTheBoard’s magic comes into play, as it captures your brainstorming session in the cloud as a malleable vector graphic. Your dynamic brainstorming sessions are now accessible after the workshop whenever someone might need them.

Image: Canva.com

Decision-making session: Transparency and Engagement

Imagine a spacious meeting room with the team ready to tackle a critical decision.  Initiate by creating a list of decision options or alternatives and encourage your team to step forward, discuss, debate, and illuminate these choices. Their insights, questions, and opinions adorn the whiteboard, weaving a rich tapestry of perspectives.

Make sure, everybody feels welcome. STB helps with this by either ensuring everyone has a first-row experience (no more strained necks!) and allowing participants to make annotations to the board’s content (heaven for both remote participants with a broken mic or in-person introverts!)

But don’t stop there. It’s time to bring some order to this creative chaos. Create a decision matrix that will quantitatively evaluate these options. Criteria and weights guide the way. Data for each option is presented, scores emerge, and finally, clarity shines through. And of course, automatic saving preserves your collective wisdom for future reference!

Project planning session: Turning Dreams into Reality

Let’s begin by outlining the project’s scope, objectives, and deliverables at the whiteboard’s center. While some prefer a project timeline or Gantt chart, the choice is ultimately yours. With the help of participants add milestones, key dates, and deadlines, adjusting collaboratively.

Talk through the list of required tasks, and discuss the responsibilities that come with each challenge. You might want to visualize the intricate web of task dependencies and relationships by drawing arrows or lines between tasks. It’s a brilliant way to show which tasks are interdependent, enhancing understanding and planning.

Identify potential risks and challenges related to the project. This is where your participants, often referred to as “black hats”, will come forward to brainstorm strategies for risk mitigation, creating a visual representation of the risk management plan.

Once it’s all said and done, STB allows you to export the project plan as a PDF, to make sure all your attendees can easily access it!

hand of a man erasing the whiteboard
Image: Canva.com

So, what now?

Now that you’ve explored the benefits of hybrid whiteboarding with ShareTheBoard, it’s time to put this innovative tool into action. With STB, you can capture, share, and access your whiteboard sessions with ease, making knowledge and creativity accessible and portable.

So, why wait? Give hybrid whiteboarding a try and consider starting a 7-day free trial to experience the transformation of your workshops and collaborative endeavors.

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