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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Webinar Design / Training

In the post - Webinar Software - Adoption Advice - one of the comments I made was:
If you've done webinars, you know that they are different to design and deliver successfully than other kinds of presentations and training.
This is something I learned the hard way. My very first presentation was a large public presentation where they had muted the entire audience (dead silence) and there was no moderator. I was alone in my office. Holding a handset (ouch). So, five minutes into the presentation, I felt completely disconnected from the audience because I hadn't planned for ways to connect and make sure I was doing okay. It was an awful feeling.

Out of that comment, I received a question:
Your post from yesterday brought up an important point and one that I had not considered. That of appreciating the difference between Webinars and other online presentations. I would LOVE to learn more. Today, coincidentally, I am doing 4 webinars (I set aside one day a month for this as a primary outreach tool). Now that you have made this interesting observation, I need to get trained. Where would you suggest I look to understand the nuances? We use GoToWebinar for our events.
I immediately thought of Karen Hyder - who helped me prepare for a couple of sessions and is really great and really thorough. She definitely helped up my game. I also thought of Ann Kwinn and Ruth Clark's book - The New Virtual Classroom.

Knowing who asked the question, he's actually a pretty sophisticated presenter. He doesn't need the basics. And likely he's actually asking about information on differences in design between different types of online meetings (webinars, online presentations, online workshops, online classrooms). And then design specifics for these.

So, I'll definitely make an introduction to Karen, but I'm wondering what else you would recommend around this. Likely a lot of us can use help in this area. Any pointers are appreciated.


Nancy White said...

Jonathan Finklestein at is fabulous at synchronous stuff, and his book, Learning in Real Time is great

(Hm, it seems I have yet again lent out my copy... not on bookshelf!)

Anonymous said...

I find webinars the hardest to deliver because in f2f sessions body language and how they interact with you provide so many clues. After being caught out by several webinars due to differences in how the participants can interact I now make sure I find out as much as possible prior to the event.

For example:

1) Will they all be using the one computer - in which case it will limit the amount of interaction I can have. So how can I build in interaction that I need to make it work?
2) If they are each on their own computer how often have they used the software? So I can decide on what type of interaction to use. I had a group once that were using the software for the first time - who were all managers who totally misbehaved for the whole session (still muttering).

I would recommend watching recordings of how others use it. Elluminate has a series recorded here. Lance Dublin and Ruth Clark/Ann Kwinn recordings are definitely worth checking out. When we do events for the Australian Flexible Learning Framework they recommend building in interaction every forth slide.