10 Online Teaching Tips For CLE Course Leaders

Posted by Sophia Duplin
10 Online Teaching Tips For CLE Course Leaders

Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses are vital for maintaining professional standards and keeping attorneys at the cutting edge of legal practice. 


However, many lawyers approach these mandatory sessions with reluctance, often due to past experiences with dry, uninspiring content. 


As a CLE instructor, your role is crucial in transforming this perception and delivering engaging, effective material that not only fulfills regulatory requirements but also enhances the understanding that your audience has about the specific area of focus. 


Let’s explore the top 10 tips you can use in your next CLE presentation to create compelling courses that lawyers look forward to attending.


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10 Tips To Improve Your CLE Course Presentations

As a CLE presenter, you are a leader and a teacher. This means that you are knowledgeable about the law and want to provide great content for your audience. However, it can be difficult to create a new lesson or update an existing one that is engaging, entertaining, educational, and memorable. 


Here are ten proven strategies to engage your audience, enhance retention, and transform your CLE courses into valuable, interactive experiences that attorneys will appreciate and remember!


1. Know Why People Attend CLE Courses


When presenting CLE courses, it's crucial to recognize the diverse motivations of your audience. Some attendees come to your presentation to learn more about a given subject, while others simply want to fulfill their required hours. 


Since the intentions of your attendees will vary, you should be ready to modify your coursework and expectations of individuals as you learn more about their intentions. 


This means focusing your attention on those who are genuinely interested in learning and tailoring your approach to be both accessible and engaging for these individuals. It also means not asking too many questions to those who seem disengaged because this can disrupt the flow of your presentation and lower the quality of education for all attendees. 


By acknowledging that attendees are in your course for varying reasons, you can customize the level of engagement with your audience to deliver a more impactful CLE course.


2. Understand Your Audience


Similar to what we discussed before, you need to be willing to tailor your content to the needs of your audience. This means that you should be willing to make changes to your CLE content on the fly based on the focus and experience of your audience. 


For example, perhaps you conduct a quick poll at the beginning of your presentation to understand the background of your audience. From the poll, you realize that most of your attendees don’t regularly practice in a given field. 


In these cases, you will want to provide a broad overview of the practice area and topics by covering key concepts and terminology instead of in-depth details and case notes. 


However, you may want to emphasize practical, hands-on information about a given topic for experienced practitioners. For this audience, you will want to dive into the nuts and bolts of daily practice, offering actionable strategies, common pitfalls to avoid, and real-world examples. 


This targeted approach ensures that all attendees, regardless of their specialization, gain valuable insights applicable to their professional roles.


3. Don’t Make Courses Too Simple


In the previous points we focused on how you as a CLE presenter can modify your presentations based on the needs of your audience. Now, we should look at how you can structure the difficulty of your courses to keep your audience engaged. 


Once you understand the expertise of your audience, you can provide in-depth examples and notes about the topic at hand. It’s usually better to produce coursework that is detailed because you risk losing your audience and diminishing the quality of your presentation if your content is too broad or simple. 


This means that you can deep dive into specialized topics, recent case law developments, or emerging trends in legal practice is far more valuable than rehashing basic concepts. In general, you should aim for depth rather than breadth, offering advanced insights and nuanced perspectives on complex legal issues. 


By providing sophisticated, thought-provoking content, you can engage experienced attorneys, stimulate meaningful discussions, and ensure that the CLE experience is both challenging and rewarding for all participants.


4. Make Better Presentations

How you present information is just as important as the type of information you present. This is because if you rely on long text-based slideshows, you risk losing your audience and delivering a poor experience for your attendees. 


It can be difficult to create an engaging CLE presentation, but here are some tips that you can follow to make your presentation thoughtful and easy to follow: 

  • Utilize knowledge checks, presence checks, polling and interactive features from your webinar platform. 

  • Use visual aids focusing on impactful graphics and minimal text to support your key points.

  • Use concise bullet points to highlight key concepts and incorporate relevant images, charts, or infographics to illustrate complex ideas.

  • Share relevant anecdotes and real-world examples to illustrate complex legal concepts and enhance understanding.


Remember, your slides should complement your spoken content and support your overall message. The slideshow is not the presentation but rather a support for you to deliver a better experience to your audience. 


5. Always Use Examples and “War Stories” 


Examples and real-world “war stories” are the secret ingredient to help make any CLE presentation more engaging and educational. These real-world examples help make abstract ideas real for your audience, and they give you the opportunity to customize your presentations to drive your points home. 


The key here is to find examples that you are able to share, and share those examples in a way that will not impact any parties. But when you can find a few examples, you will find that this ingredient will help make your presentation come to life and build a sense of camaraderie and shared experience with your audience. 


Be sure to share your successes and failures related to a given topic. These lessons help build authenticity and depth in your presentation, which your audience is sure to appreciate and remember. 


6. Provide Lots Of Breaks


As a CLE presenter, you need to build your presentations around the physical needs of your audience. For example, you should not present dense information to your audience without breaking up your presentation. 


Shorter slots of information means you can give your attendees more breaks, and these breaks can help improve retention and give your audience time to stretch and avoid fatigue as they retain the information that you are presenting on. 


Be sure to give your audience several breaks and divide your presentation into several “blocks” of time. This approach has been shown to improve retention and make the learning process easier for your audience. 


By balancing informative content with a considerate presentation style, you can create a more positive and effective CLE experience, even for those who initially came just for the credits.


7. Keep Your Content Interesting


This tip may seem basic, but many CLE presenters don’t create interesting content. This can lead to losing your audience, so it’s important to make your content engaging, entertaining, and memorable.


Use a variety of teaching methods, including case studies, role-playing exercises, and group discussions, to keep the audience involved. Incorporate multimedia elements like short videos or infographics to break up text-heavy content. 


Share personal anecdotes and real-world examples to illustrate key points and make the material relatable. Encourage questions and facilitate discussions throughout the presentation. Use humor judiciously to maintain a light atmosphere. 


You can also utilize interactive features from your webinar platform like knowledge checks (mini 2-question quizzes), presence checks, polling, Q&A and chats. Our webinar platform was built specifically to engage lawyers during CLE programs and track them for required CLE certificate delivery in their state.


Finally, provide practical takeaways and resources that attendees can immediately apply to their practice. Remember, the goal is to inform and inspire, not just to lecture.


8. Modify Your Content Based On The Length Of Your CLE Course


As a CLE presenter, you need to think about your audience's needs and the presentation length you will deliver. When designing CLE courses, it's crucial to tailor your approach based on the session's duration. 


  • For one-hour sessions, focus on delivering practical, niche content that provides immediate value. Keep the material concise, relevant, and directly applicable to attorneys' practice.

  • For two-hour sessions, maintain the practical focus while incorporating engaging elements. Share memorable practice stories, inject humor, and foster a conversational atmosphere, which is needed for longer presentations. 

  • Three-hour sessions require a more interactive approach. Break up the content with group exercises, hypotheticals, and breakout sessions. This type of presentation will require a wider variety of delivery methods and approaches. 


Modifying how and what you present based on the length of the CLE presentation will help keep attendees engaged, further prevent fatigue, and helps to enhance learning retention. 


9. Focus On The Tone Of Your Course Presentation


The tone of a CLE presentation is crucial in delivering an effective and engaging learning experience. You don’t want to make your presentation too professional and risk losing your audience, but you also don’t want to make your presentation too informal and risk making the presentation seem trivial. 


You will want to work on finding a balance between positioning yourself as an authority while also maintaining a posture of approachability. While the subject matter should be treated with the seriousness it deserves, incorporating a touch of humor or lightheartedness can make the content more digestible and memorable. 


By creating a welcoming atmosphere that values both the content and the audience's experience, presenters can ensure that attendees leave feeling both informed and entertained.


10. Break Key Topics Into Step-By-Step Instructions


Finally, as you build your CLE presentations, you should always be looking for ways to structure your content to provide both a comprehensive overview and detailed guidance. Similar to our previous points, you should follow the format of a step-by-step guide to the given topic whenever possible. 


This approach makes your content more digestible and easier to understand, plus it allows you to break key topics into supporting content that looks at 3-5 key issues. 


Starting with a birds-eye view and then breaking each topic into individual components will help attendees grasp the broader context and importance of each issue. Then, delve into each point with a step-by-step guide, offering practical, actionable advice. 


This approach ensures that participants not only understand the theoretical aspects but also gain concrete strategies to implement in their practice. 


By balancing high-level concepts with detailed procedures, presenters can create a more valuable and memorable learning experience that caters to both novice and experienced attorneys.


Make Your CLE Content Memorable For Your Audience!

Presenting a CLE course can be daunting. Not only do you have to contend with the misconception held by some audience members that CLE training is boring, but you also have to deliver dense content in an engaging and entertaining way if you want your audience to remember what they learned. 


The good news is that you can use the ten tips we listed above to help you build a great CLE presentation that will help your audience! 


Are you looking for a CLE platform that works as hard as you do to deliver great CLE presentations and courses? Well, look no further!


BeaconLive is a comprehensive CLE platform that offers robust features for both live online, on-demand and in-person continuing legal education. It supports customizable certificate configurations to meet diverse state requirements, integrates seamlessly with existing data systems, and provides advanced event management capabilities. 


The platform's white-labeling options and networking features enhance user experience, while its automation capabilities streamline administrative tasks, making it an efficient choice for law firms and organizations delivering CLE content.


Contact our team today if you are looking for the best CLE platform on the market!


Topics: Continuing Education, Continuing Legal Education (CLE), Legal

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How can I make my CLE presentations more interactive?

Incorporate polls, Q&A sessions, and small group discussions. Use case studies or hypothetical scenarios to encourage active participation and application of concepts being taught.

What's the best way to structure a CLE course for maximum engagement?

Start with an engaging overview, break content into digestible segments, use varied teaching methods, and include practical examples. Finish with a summary and actionable takeaways.

How can I make complex legal topics more accessible in CLE courses?

Use clear language, provide real-world examples, and create visual aids. Break down complex ideas into simpler components and relate them to practical situations attorneys encounter.