Fried Training Talk- Empathy In Training During A Pandemic

Published: Friday, September 18, 2020
Updated: Friday, September 18, 2020

How can we show empathy to those learning/being trained during this Pandemic era?

Today’s Fried Training Talk topic was inspired by Elliot Masie’s series of Empathy concerts which have been magnificent, both from a learning and an entertainment perspective.

According to Merriam-Webster Empathy is:

The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner

One thing I’ve heard some teachers complain about with their new online learning sessions is the lack of direct connection with their students. Part of that may be a lack of ability to empathize remotely.


When I design ELearning experiences I like to think I build in some empathy (particularly in feedback), but I have never measured how the learner experienced empathy in any meaningful way.

What do you think?

Is it possible to show empathy through Zoom?

Can we build empathy into online learning experiences that are NOT facilitated by a person “in presence”?

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I believe we can absolutely show empathy through Zoom. It requires building a meaningful connection with learners by acknowledging the personal struggles of working from home, and taking the time to allow sharing ideas/stories that exemplify empathy and understanding. Yes, it takes more time to train a particular concept, but if learners feel their trainer understands their challenges, & participants have an opportunity to share funny/serious stories, I find they more motivated and invested.
Christina, I love the strategy of recognizing challenges to show empathy. Do you think that can work with larger groups?
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