Philip Rocca is a Learning & Development Professional with Design & Delivery Management expertise specializing in Wealth Management and eLearning solutions. The following post outlines his thoughts on the effectiveness of webinars.
Are Webinars truly engaging?
I recently attended a webinar on facilitating interactive, engaging online webinars.
Ironically, nearly all the good points provided in the webinar were not actually put in place during the session. There was essentially no interaction; the Q&A was only 5 minutes at the end of the session; there was nothing fun or engaging.
I was neither engaged, nor was I interacting with the system!
The live aspect of Webinars….
In these instances, I have to ask “Why is this offered as a live event?” Given there was only a brief period of time at the end to ask questions, wouldn’t it be a better use of time if this was a recorded on-demand event that was linked to a moderated discussion forum?
This would allow attendees to rewind, pause, or fast forward past sections that aren’t of interest. It would also provide an avenue of discussion (through the forum) that would provide more direct feedback and guidance than the live session.
Webinar versus classroom…
Don’t get me wrong, I believe there is great value in a live event, but we should remember that the live event should mirror its offline counterpart, i.e. classroom, seminar, meeting, etc.
Let’s focus on classrooms. Outside of college or university, would you ever conceive of having a 1 hour classroom whereby the facilitator lectured in front of the class for 55 minutes? Even in post-secondary institutions, I would question its merit.
During that live classroom event, the facilitator would typically open the session, have participants introduce themselves, discuss objectives and agenda items, position the session, and then ask questions to create discussion and interaction. There may be role-plays, story-telling, energizers and other fun activities.
Why would we not do any of these similar activities during a live onlineevent?
Participants must get involved. Facilitators must prepare (and practice) some key provoking questions that will demand a response.
Unless there is feedback required by the participant, I would suggest the event should not be live at all, and can have the same impact by simply providing an on-demand session.