What is the Role of Webinars in ELearning?
Even though webinars have been around for a while now, many organizations still find them intimidating. However, with proper planning, even a non-technical person should be able to conduct effective webinars. Webinars can be used for just about anything starting from teaching people how to use a tool to lecturing or providing information on the topic of importance.
Webinars can have a single presenter who speaks to the audience, demonstrates slides or steps needed to do something, and answers questions from the audience. Webinars can also take a form of an interview where two people talk to each other or multiple people can speak and answer questions with a facilitator moderating the discussion. While, all three formats are appropriate, the last two are much more interactive in nature.
Just like eLearning, webinars rely heavily on audio-visual presentation of the material. Therefore, it is important to have attractive slides and clear audio. Many facilitators create an outline of points they need to cover to avoid leaving out important information. While there are facilitators who like to script their webinars, doing this is neither necessary nor recommended as webinars should provide more interactive and dynamic experience than an asynchronous eLearning course. It is highly recommended to do a walk-through before the final delivery of a webinar. This will allow you to ensure that you will finish on time, and it will also give you more confidence before you present the information to the webinar participants. A walk-through should also help you find any existing issues with visuals and allow you to check the equipment.
There are many web conferencing tools on the market, both free and commercial. Therefore, prior to selecting the tool for your webinar, you should research your options and find the tool that best meets your needs. You may even decide to sign up for trial versions of each software and try each one before finalizing your decision. As you do your research, consider the following questions:
- Which features are important to you?
- How much can you afford to pay?
- How many participants will attend the webinar?
- Do you want to make a recording of your webinar available for later viewing?
While webinars cannot replace classroom training, they can offer a robust synchronous eLearning experience for learners who cannot attend face-to-face training.
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