WEBINARS FOR LEARNING… GOOD OR BAD?

I’ll be frank, I love the idea of webinars for learning. An expert sharing his experience with an interested audience, what’s better than that?? Having the ability to connect with peers and the expert, ask questions and discuss the how, what and why of a topic, now that’s where learning happens right? …Right?

Maybe it’s just me, but in reality, most webinars I attended aren’t that great. They’re long, there not that interactive and they’re too crowded to get any real answers to your questions, unless you’re lucky enough to get picked out by the Webinar facilitator at the end.

If you do some research on setting up webinars you’ll quickly find that there are interactions like polling, and asking direct questions to people to make sure the audience keeps participating. Some webinar tools even have a feature that shows if someone is doing something on another screen. To me that seems like the world upside down. You shouldn’t be building in activities force them to focus. Your story and expertise should be engaging enough to do that. Heck, that’s probably why people signed up for the webinar in the first place!

SO HOW CAN A WEBINAR BE IMPROVED?

Simply, make it as short as it can be. Small learning nuggets are well accepted in learning. Don’t waste your audience’s time with a 20 minute introduction. Be concise, stick to the topic. If there is information you want to discuss send anything that can be done as pre-work to the attendees. Watching a video or going through a document or detailed slide deck during a webinar can add so much time which can be prevented with a simple ‘required’ pre-work assignment.

Whenever I do a webinar I force myself to keep it within 30 minutes. That means I plan for 25-30 minutes of content instead of 60-90 minutes. I also plan to have time available to answer as many relevant questions as possible. I tend to plan for 45-50 minutes for the total session and if I use less people are generally happy have some time left.

AN ALTERNATIVE

Are you one of those persons that signs up so you can just watch the recording? I am. I think I attend 20% of the webinars I sign up for and watch 80% afterwards, fitting my own calendar. I do this on purpose. Based on the speaker, topic and obviously time of the webinar I select which ones I want to attend and interact in and which ones I want to just watch. If I have questions I just contact the facilitator afterwards.

I’ve experimented with this format myself and noticed that in our company many people prefer to watch recorded webinars at their convenience and I’ve actually started using this as a default way to share information with my internal customers. I’ve combined it with our social platform pointing them to the webinar post in an email invitation and making use of the commenting ability of the platform to receive and answer questions.

I still do live webinars but only when I feel it makes absolute sense to have people join and participate.

GOOD OR BAD?

So what are your webinars like? Are they good or bad or something in between? There’s always room for improvement! Did you like this post or have you got additional tips? Please share it in the comments below.

 

This post appeared first on LinkedIn.

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Jeff Kortenbosch

Jeff is a performance-focused learning professional that believes in making learning relevant again!

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