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Some learning and development specialists avoid the term “webinar” because of the negative connotations associated with it—like a lecturer reading from hundreds of branded slides for three hours. While many in academia might find this completely acceptable, The Bob Pike Group believes that just because you’ve put the information out there, in a somewhat formidable method, doesn’t mean your trainees have learned it.
Just like face-to-face, classroom-based learning, webinars should be interactive. And studies show, it needs to be twice as participative. Becky Pike Pluth and others in the field recommend having some form of trainee involvement every four minutes. “Based on my experiences with webinars and research I’ve done, the average length of time a learner stays engaged before getting distracted and begins a new task is 4 minutes,” Pluth said. “This means that, unless I want to lose my learners to email and online bill-paying, I need to engage participants every 4 minutes.
“Interaction comes in various forms,” Pluth continued. “Learners might read, write in a workbook, type on the whiteboard, reflect, listen to different voices, poll or chat.”
Pluth, author of Webinars with Wow Factor, also helped develop our Webinars that Work workshop.
“A webinar is an online seminar that allows people from around the world to connect in a virtual classroom and share information via the internet,” Pluth said. If you are looking at designing and delivering a webinar, “preparation to do a webinar starts with understanding what it is and how it should look, sound and feel. If you haven’t already participated in at least one webinar, it would be to your advantage so you can fully understand what a webinar is and what some platforms are capable of. You may also discover for yourself why I recommend involving your participants so often. Many webinars are deathly dull.”
“A well-crafted lecture only requires low-level comprehension where a listener may write down notes, but he is left unchanged,” Pluth continued. “Active learning activities go back to the teachings of Socrates. It puts learners in a position where they are the ones doing the work. They are experiencing the technology, the problem, the product. Active learning involves the learner and compels them to read, speak, listen, think deeply, write (fill-in-the-blanks and separate notes pages on the whiteboard or chat area), brainstorm, problem-solve or even laugh. Active learning requires thinking.”
Pluth has been involved with the development of webinars for several years now and created dozens of activities and exercises to use in her sessions. One of those exercises, Frozen Acronyms, is one of the other articles in this ezine.
If you’d like more information on how to design and deliver a webinar that meets your objectives, helps learners retain information and leaves your participants pleasantly surprised at how quickly the time passed, contact us at 1-800-383-9210 or email Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information on our Webinars that Work workshop is available here.