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Weekday Wow Factor works to connect people of all ages and abilities across Greater Glasgow. Their aims are to:

  • enhance physical, mental, social & brain health
  • reduce loneliness, isolation, health inequalities and ageism.

They do this by hosting activities such as daytime discos, murder mystery lunches and zip-sliding.

Use this Guide when you need to help people learn to use video calling tools like Zoom, Teams and Skype. It can help you work with older and digitally excluded people, especially if you are doing group work involving physical activities.

Steps to helping people new to video calling learn to use video software

Find out what skills your users have and what technology they use, even if that is only a basic phone. Use that technology to communicate with people and gradually introduce new skills. Revert back to it when needed.

Weekday Wow Factor (WWF) wanted to help its clients take part in Daytime Disco activity online. It would have been difficult for their clients to join group video calls without some practice. But many were familiar with WhatsApp. So they called each one on WhatsApp and talked them through:

  • steps to switching on their phone or computer’s video camera

  • how to position their camera to show their face clearly to others

If you’ve not yet used video calling to deliver services then check your policies and approach. Be mindful of people’s safety and any risks.

You made need to update your consent form to include client awareness:

  • that their name may be visible on video calling platforms

  • that the software company will save their data

  • that their phone number will be visible to others in any WhatsApp groups

  • permission for any photographs or videos you may take

WWF adapted their existing forms to cover risk assessments, data collection, GDPR and people using their own devices. Then they created simple terms and conditions and added them to their existing consent process.

Their activities involved dancing and other physical activities in people’s own homes. So they encouraged them to check for hazards, wear non-slip footwear and use prescribed walking aids.

Collect consent. There are several ways to do this. Learn more about collecting consent by video in this guide from Scope.

WWF clients can use text, email, WhatsApp or Messenger to confirm that they agree to the terms and conditions of the Daytime Discos.

People need a chance to understand how to use video software in group settings. Set up group calls where they can practice and make mistakes with others who are doing the same. This will help them build confidence and get familiar with video calling etiquette.

Pay attention to where people struggle with the technology or culture of video calling and introduce ways to support them.

WWF chose to use Skype. First they learnt how to use it themselves. Then they made 1-to-1 calls to clients. Then they spent a week holding short group calls. Creating a light hearted atmosphere in these calls helped people feel comfortable giving things a go. Even with the potential of getting it wrong.

Once people are comfortable using the tool, begin introducing activities.

Look out for moments when activities create opportunities to introduce new skills.

Once the dancing started, it became clear that participants needed more support to learn how to find a good camera position when moving about.

WWF also introduced a short chat at the start of each session to make space for people to bring problems or worries.

As you use video calling with your group you’ll find that:

  • some things don’t work as well as they seemed to begin with

  • you’ll notice opportunities to make improvements.

Make a note of these and create opportunities to involve others in finding solutions and new ideas. Encourage participants to get involved. Be aware that they may feel they have less to offer as new video calling users.

WWF had two new issues in the first week. Skype kept cutting out and skipping parts of the music, particularly on Monday mornings. Also the regular time of 11am didn’t work well in people’s daily routines.

They also set up a WhatsApp group to get feedback as this was easier for less confident clients. They were keen to trial 5pm instead. People’s broadband connections seemed better and the 5pm slot suited their daytime activities better.

Further information

Use the Catalyst funded Human Connection Framework for ideas of how to increase rapport and connection over video calls.