Essential Online Event

All you need to start designing a successful participatory learning experience for a virtual audience.

Created by Deborah Rim Moiso – SessionLab

woman taking part in an online session


When should this session be delivered?

In this essential template for an online event you’ll find all you need to kick-start your design. This customizable outline includes:

  • time for everyone to join and feel welcomed;
  • slots for presentations and Q&A;
  • ideas on when to use breakout rooms effectively to encourage networking and learning. 

Short informative sessions in online environments have become the post-pandemic norm of how we share content and information. People join webinars and online events from everywhere in the world. Communities form around a topic or practice rather than being constrained by logistics and geography.

This outline for a basic online session includes some of the best practices developed to support sharing information in virtual spaces.

Leading participatory activities before and after content delivery can boost engagement and learning; giving attendees opportunities to meet and network will ensure your session remains lively and provides real value to participants.

If your event runs longer and you have more than one speaker, simply adjust timings or copy-paste sections. Repeating the same series of activities for debriefing and drawing out questions and reflections after each bit of content delivery is generally appreciated by participants.

Repeating the same pattern makes the structure familiar and
allows attendees to focus on their learnings rather than on learning a process. Just remember to add breaks!


Who can facilitate it?

When working online it’s good practice to be (at least) two people: one delivering content and one taking care of tech aspects such as creating breakout rooms and monitoring the chat. This role is called “producer” or “tech host”.

If you have speakers invited to your event, you can take on the role of both hosting and keeping an eye on the tech. If you are presenting content yourself, or if the group is larger than 12 people, you will breathe easier in a team of two. In any case, sometimes technology and connections suddenly fail us, so it’s better to have a backup.

For more tips on facilitating online check out our guide to being great virtual facilitators!

Check out the template details including step-by-step plan with instructions, timings, printable schedule and more

About the author

Deborah Rim Moiso

Deborah Rim Moiso is an Endorsed Facilitator with the IAF – International Association of Facilitators and the current co-chair of the Italian IAF Chapter. She is also a content writer for SessionLab and a published author of a manual and deck of cards on facilitation available in Italian (Facilitiamoci! Prendersi cura di gruppi e comunità). 

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