Colltrain success user stories

Let the online team-building begin!

Interview with Sorin Cantor, creator and facilitator of online team-building experiences for Romanian companies.

online team-building in Colltrain - Sorin Cantor

Sorin is one of the first users of Colltrain, and he pioneered the use of Colltrain for facilitating team-building experiences for medium to large groups.

In 2021, he designed a pack of six activities called “The manuscript of King Carol”, one of a kind, very engaging, two-hour mystery-solving team-building experience. He successfully facilitated a group of 78 employees. 

Encouraged by the initial success, he continued to offer the online team-building experience to other groups while constantly iterating and refining it to take advantage of the new features of Colltrain. 

online team-building in Colltrain - Diary page room
Escape room example

Sorin, what is your take on the opportunities for participants provided by remote interaction during team-building events?

Even though team-building events in person are preferable to remote ones, the latter can also be effective.

Remote interaction can be a viable alternative for situations where it is impossible to organise in-person events.

What are the challenges for facilitators related to remote team events?

The main challenge is the lack of physical connection, not necessarily in the sense of touching each other literally. We are not all breathing the same air (the facilitator and participants). Then there is this disbelief among the participants that the experience cannot be the same.

And last but not least, it may be the barrier put by the facilitators themselves in their minds, a limiting belief. It’s just a personal opinion, but I believe the following phrase applies to most facilitators: “I can do online training if you ask me to, but I don’t believe it would be the same as in the classroom.”

How is that different, what needs to be kept, and what needs to be changed in terms of techniques, mindset, and approach?

First, you must understand that you cannot simply move a training course “as is” online. I mean, you can, but don’t expect to get the same results. It must be reinterpreted and adapted for online. It applies to the content (information and activities) and the delivery style. In the case of team-building, you don’t have anything to adapt; you have to start over from zero.

Moreover, with online events, technology becomes extremely important. It helps you, but at the same time, it may confuse you. We are talking here about two things: the existence of the technology and the ability of those involved (facilitator and participants) to understand and use it.

There are other differences to be aware of. Time flows differently online, and distances disappear. Also, online behaviours are different from what we knew in the classroom: participants are in different environments (some at home, others in the office space) where they can interact with stimuli of all kinds and with other people around them doing something completely different.

Is it possible to achieve a similar level of engagement compared to face-to-face team building using remote training tools? 

It may seem difficult to believe what I’m saying now, but it’s a definitive ‘Yes’. Not every team-building activity can be translated online, but you can create team-building activities that offer a similar level of involvement.

online team-building in Colltrain - coffer puzzle
Jigsaw puzzle example

How would you describe Colltrain? What are the key features you appreciate the most for remote team-building?

When we all had to move the training events online, we realised quickly that the biggest challenge would be to recreate the interaction during the activities. The Zoom platform was already providing the breakout rooms functionality, but once the group was split into separate rooms, we got nothing to use to help us “build” something together. Well, this is where Colltrain comes to the rescue!

online team-building in Colltrain - King Carol Manuscript letter
Mystery solving clue example

A platform for team learning activities, implying the direct participation of each team member (if they want to, obviously). This is precisely the characteristic that is also essential to team-building activities. When I received the first client request for an online team-building activity, I had no idea what it would look like. I accepted the challenge because I knew about Colltrain’s capabilities and the fact that it offers useful features for such a thing: simplicity, flexibility and synchronous interaction.

What do participants expect from facilitators during live sessions?

I would say guidance. Unlike classroom training, where you mainly facilitate the learning process, online training requires a greater explanation of how the activity is carried out and what the process is.

As a facilitator, how easy is Colltrain to start with?

Very easy; I would say it’s intuitive, starting with the account creation. You immediately have the opportunity to use the prebuilt activities from the Colltrain library. This allows you to understand, almost effortlessly, how it works and, at the same time, to deliver training sessions. Later, just as easily, you can create your activities using the existing templates.

What would you recommend to the new generation of trainers and facilitators that started their work online without any prior in-class experience?

If you want to provide an online learning experience that’s at least as good as the classroom before you can do so, you have to know what that means, so you have to experience both.

I also believe that the future of training will be a mix between classroom-delivered sessions and remote-delivered sessions, so a facilitator who wants to be successful must easily jump from one type of delivery to the other.

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