Tips for webinars or virtual training

“What works for webinars?” People have asked this a lot lately, so here’s my opinionated answer.

I do a lot of online workshops, such as the scenario design course that starts soon. I’ve ditched many of the conventional webinar techniques. Here’s what’s left on my list.

My main recommendation:

  • Include many, many thought-provoking questions for people to answer in the chat.

These aren’t polls or multiple-choice questions. They’re more like, “Here’s a problem. How do you think we should solve it?” or “Here’s a draft of a solution. What’s wrong with it?”

Dialogue bubblesI try to ask a question like this every couple of minutes. In my personal notes for the presentation, I highlight in blue every question I plan to make and then scroll through the file to make sure there are blue blobs sprinkled everywhere.

This results in slides that tend to be activities instead of information presentations. For example, I’ll display a slide that has a draft of a scenario question and ask what should be done to make it better. Information that might have spawned a series of bullet-heavy slides called “97 rules of scenario design” goes in the handout, where text belongs.

You could also repurpose a self-paced elearning activity. For example, you could run a scenario in the session. Display the first decision point and ask everyone what they want to do and why. As the debate goes on, one choice will probably surface as the preferred one, so click that and continue the scenario.

Again, I’m suggesting you do this as a discussion, not a poll. It’s harder on you, because you have to read a lot of chat comments, but the learning is far deeper and the issues raised will be surprising.

The chat is where it’s at!

This one change — your commitment to ask a ton of thought-provoking, open-ended questions — means that you’ll design a series of mini-activities instead of an information dump. Your participants will stay with you, thinking and participating, instead of clicking away to plan their Bali trip while you talk to an empty room.

This one change will require a few more changes:

  • You’ll need a webinar platform with a big, public chat window. For now, I’m using WebEx. I hope to use FuzeBox in the future when I’m sure that it plays well with the extreme firewalls some of my customers have. GotoMeeting is out for me because the chat window can’t be resized on my Mac.
  • You’ll need to stop talking and listen. I periodically say, “Hang on, I need to catch up with the chat.” I’m silent while I read what has happened in the chat, and then I respond to it.
  • If you’re recording the session and the chat won’t be recorded, you’ll want to read chat items aloud so the recording makes sense to someone who wasn’t there. Just as you do when presenting to a big group, repeat the question aloud before you answer it. It’s often impossible to read everything; I just hit the major points.
  • If the chat is super-busy, some participants might hide it so they can focus on you. That’s another reason to pause periodically and read aloud the major points being made.
  • As soon as people realize that you want them to use the chat, they will definitely use the chat. This might happen in ways you might not have intended, such as answering each other’s questions or literally chatting. Don’t try to control them. At least they’re in the room with you instead of pricing hotels in Bali.

Yes, you can handle the chat! It can help to have a second person, but I’ve flown solo with up to 400 people typing furiously away. They realize you can’t read and respond to everything. All you need to do is pause occasionally to catch up with the major points or questions.

Everything else

Some more tips:

  • Avoid headaches and reduce development time by creating a presentation without animations or transitions — PDF is usually safe.
  • Use a headset with a decent mic, not the computer’s default mic.
  • Limit sessions to 90 minutes at most.
  • If you’re providing a handout, make it useful, not just a copy of the slide deck. You might create a handout that includes the main slides with additional text.
  • Make the handout available at the beginning or shortly before the presentation, so participants can use it to take notes. If it’s in Word or another easily edited format, they can take notes right in the handout.
  • Practice giving your presentation, of course, timing yourself and allowing lots of time for the chat.

Finally, here are some common webinar techniques that I avoid. Maybe you can convince me that they’re great — leave a comment!

  • Not allowing public chat. This is Mortal Webinar Sin #1 for me. Probably 90% of the sessions that I’ve attended have no chat. You’re only allowed to send questions in secret, and they go only to the presenter. I rarely stick around.
  • Adding “interactivity” by using polls to vote on non-questions, such as “How many people here have seen a boring PowerPoint presentation?”
  • Sending people to breakout rooms. Maybe I just haven’t seen this done well. When I’ve been a participant, breakout rooms have meant five minutes of technological confusion followed by several minutes of “Is anyone else here?” and then “What are we supposed to be doing?” followed by me quietly disappearing to watch the Shiba Inu puppycam.

How about you? What are your favorite techniques for live virtual sessions? What do you recommend avoiding? Let us know in the comments!


Scenario design online course open for January and February

Become a scenario design master with “Scenario design: In-depth and hands-on,” a live online course (with lots of chat!). There’s still room in two of the sessions that start in January and February.

People who have signed up for the course alert list learn about new courses before they’re announced in the blog. Sign up and you’ll be among the first to know when the next sessions are scheduled. The US session sold out quickly after the last mailing — sign up so you don’t miss out next time!

My current very tentative plans are to have an on-demand version of the course available in April and to give another live version in July.

Image credit: iStockPhoto ©petekarici

Comments

  1. Completely agree with Kathy about privileging open ended question over multiple choice, even though I like to use them also for polling the audience
    Many times I open several chat windows at the same time like in the example you will find here http://icotechnology.ophthalmologyblogs.org/?p=425
    Doing this, when appropriate, helps you cover the discussion points much faster than presenting one question at a time.

  2. David says:

    I have done a lot of webinars in both higher ed and in corporate – I think you are spot on with the webinar techniques to avoid. With large audiences, I feel that having up to three people who can help answer questions is very nice. The use of chat is indispensable. So many questions can be answered by other participants and your TA’s. This helps when you have a diverse group.

    • Lynn Graham says:

      David, I agree. Having support staff who can reply to requests for URLs or other standard info can take the pressure off the presenter. They can also be summarising questions into an onscreen pod, allowing presenter to focus on delivery and specific questions. Quicker responses in the chat can also keep the chat flowing – something that can be lost if presenter responds periodically. I also like the multiple chat pod option from Eduardo.

  3. Colin Steed says:

    Hi Kathy – excellent post as always and I wholeheartedly agree with all points except one – I do not agree with your view on Breakout Groups. Assuming we are talking live online events (with small class sizes) and not webinars (with perhaps hundreds of attendees), we find that the correct use of Breakout Groups are a VERY important part of live online sessions.

    They promote collaboration, group working, discovery learning and I wouldn’t want to run a class without them.

    The key though, is to ensure that the facilitator is competent in managing them properly (it takes a bit of practice as every new skill does).

    Just as an aside, in our designing live online events course I hope you will be pleased to learn that we recommend (and use) Action Mapping as the example of how to design live online events.

    Would love to meet up next time you are in the UK

    Colin
    Chief Executive
    Learning & Performance Institute

    • Jun says:

      I disagree on the point on breakout rooms.
      Breakout rooms could be an excellent way to engage learners virtually.

      It needs to be designed well first by the instructor in order to have a successful experience, as with any other type of online activities in a virtual room.

      One example of break out room is the having each group discuss/brainstorm different topics and then present in the main room to the whole class. Instructors could share the discussion of each group in the mail room.

      • Lynn Graham says:

        Jun, I agree. Where there is a large volume of content to cover, using breakout rooms to have groups each focus on one concept (or activity etc) then share their findings/results/outcomes with the group can reduce the time needed. It also allows participants to contribute to the content, bringing their views/experience/concepts to the group. I think Cathy’s bad experiences highlight the need for these sessions to be well managed though – no ‘fluffing about’, everything needs to be ready to go when the sessions start.

    • Cathy Moore says:

      As I suspected, it sounds like my experience has unfairly prejudiced me against breakout rooms. Thanks for pointing out their advantages.

      One reason for my suspicion of breakouts in on-site or virtual training is that in my experience presenters can use them as a way to make the participants research information, rather than to have them complete a more job-realistic activity (I’m not suggesting that I think any of you do that; it’s just what I’ve experienced).

      For example, I could have people research best uses for audio in elearning during a breakout session and then have them report back. To me, that’s not the best use of my class time unless the class is “How to do research about media use.”

      Instead, if the class is “How to use media effectively in elearning,” then my preferred approach would be to provide them with a summary of research findings in a handout, with links to lots more information that they can explore in their free time, including tips on performing the research themselves. But for the in-class activity, I’d give them a specific, realistic design challenge and have them use the recommendations in the handout to decide what type of audio, if any, should be used in that project, because that models the most common task they do on the job and requires decisions that have the most “grey” areas.

  4. Sam says:

    Cathy, thought-provoking as usual and as you intended. I personally find the distraction of some public forums too much and I lose concentration on what the presenter is saying. I’m not usually too bothered if I can only see my questions being answered by a person supporting the main presenter.

    A technique which might be an alternative is to provide the presentation several days before having a public chat, that way everyone concentrates on the presentation/questions, thinks about the answers/discussion points and then debate it together during a live session.

    It also has the advantages of keeping the main presentation concise and allowing the presenter to focus on the debate at the appropriate time. The downside is the spread of the presentation over a longer period.

    • Cathy Moore says:

      Sam, thanks for your comment. I agree that providing prework is a great way to free up the time for discussion. That prework could be a recorded session, a detailed handout, a web page with exercises…

  5. There’s a Shiba Inu puppy cam? Who knew?
    Your site is so valuable and had I not read today’s blog post, I probably never would have learned this. Will need to Google it ASAP.

    Oh, yeah, great comments on chat, too.

    I was recently on an e-Learning Guild webinar and was fascinated by the chat window that kept scrolling and scrolling as participants interacted with each other AND the instructor at the same time. Because many of us can read much faster than people can talk, this inherent multitasking was very beneficial for us nascent-OCD types who like lots of distractions. It actually forced us to be more involved rather than less involved, a counterintuitive concept from what I was taught as an educator. I was always told that we need to reduce or eliminate distractions in class.

    I think neuroscience has something to say regarding this need for stimulus to enhance engagement. If we are not provided with enough stimulus (or distractions) we will actually create our own. I believe this is how I earned some of the parent-teacher conferences when I was younger.

    I think it was Daniel Pink who said when giving a PowerPoint presentation that no slide should stay on the screen more than 10 seconds. This was probably his way of fostering engagement by providing a stimulus at frequent intervals.

    As always, an excellent post. Keep up the good work.

  6. Tamara says:

    I agree with the chat points generally. Have to admit, though, I get frustrated as an attendee when chat windows have so many unique thoughts coming through almost simultaneously, it feels impossible to keep up. As if the presenter/other chatters would have to just choose one of those threads to develop or we’d never explore anything in depth. I wonder what the happy medium is; although a large chat window would certainly be a big help. I guess the ‘[Name] is typing…’ feature is useful in that sense, too.

    Thanks for the tips! Will definitely pay more attention to the use of handouts, in future!

    • Cathy Moore says:

      Tamara, thanks for your comment. I think it’s up to the presenter to help keep the chat in focus or to pull people away from a distraction in the chat and back to the topic at hand. It’s the same skill as managing a derail during a live session, though thanks to its silent nature, a chat derail is less of a disruption.

  7. Laura says:

    Such an interesting post. I don’t actually lead webinars myself, but do try to attend them when they pertain to my line of work. I do come across such a wide variety of chat/Q&A/interactivity situations, depending on the group or person presenting. You make some great points. It often seems that these features aren’t utilized in a thoughtful way and chat tends to get out of control and I wind up trying to decide between listening to the presenter and catching up with the chat (which is sometimes more informative). I can see how using it effectively is an acquired skill!

  8. DeLyle says:

    What about participants talking or asking questions verbally by using the “raise your hand” function? If people shouldn’t be encouraged to talk at appropriate times, why do we have them call in or use VOIP? Maybe login instructions should not include connecting audio?

    • DeLyle says:

      I meant using a mic.

    • Cathy Moore says:

      DeLyle, thanks for your question. Even in a small group, I prefer to use the chat for the many ongoing questions and answers so people can all answer at the same time. This keeps the presentation going at a brisk pace instead of adding delays with hand-raising and the inevitable microphone issues (“Can you hear me well? No? Okay, how about now?”). Also, there are usually participants who don’t have a good mic setup or who don’t want to talk due to background noise at their location. However, I’ll put a participant on the mic when, for example, we want to use their project as an example and therefore it’s far more efficient for them to be able to talk, or if they have a detailed question that would take too long to type in the chat.

      • DeLyle says:

        Thanks. I am new at conducting webinars, and this is very helpful.

      • Hi Cathey, I have been conducting Webinars with Webex training center for three years – good the see that others are thinking about the same questions. I really liked your article, hence am adding some ideas. So I usually have classes with up to 10 participants, and with that size the audio conversation generally works better than chat. The larger the group grows the more likely they are to resort to chat instead of speaking up. Reasons for that…sometimes they are just shy speaking in front of others.

  9. Ben Ziegler says:

    Very helpful post Cathy! And, the comments are too. Leveraging chat is smart. We change through conversations. If the objective of the virtual training is learning, then the chat encourages participation – i.e., conversation. In companion with the chat, the presenter can also pool their answers to chat questions/commentary; e.g., every 20 minutes or so, respond to key items in the chat window..

    Another aspect of chat is that, if its active and folks are really getting into it, is that it can have a dynamic, flow of its own. I’ve definitely experienced being “in the flow” with Twitter chats (both as a moderator and as a participant). It would be nice to be able to replicate a bit of that flow in a webinar context.

  10. Jennifer says:

    Hi Cathy,

    A great post as useful, here are some of my tips:

    1 State up front that the session will be interactive and that you expect audience participation. GoToWebinar and some of the other webinar tools have a function where you can see whether the webinar is the active screen on their computer or not. A lot of people ‘just listen in’ – which often means that they’re really doing work at the same time and probably not really absorbing it all in. I’ve found making a statement like this upfront significantly increases the amount of people who then actively participate.

    2 I don’t fully agree with your comments regarding having participants speak in the session – I build in ‘question time’ at key points through out the session rather than once or twice. I ask people to raise their hands. It’s important to remember that many some tools allow participants choice of audio access either via use of a mic or by dialing in on a phone (I find more people choose a phone as the headset quality is usually better).

    3 For participants, the presenter reading all the chat items can be really tedious, especially if there are multiple repeat questions (due to people typing in at the same time). If running sessions to large volumes of attendees – then chat can really be hard to manage. A support person who can filter through the questions for the presenter can really help (of course we won’t all this luxury).

    • Cathy Moore says:

      Jennifer, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I agree it would be tedious for the presenter to read each chat comment aloud, which is why I suggest that they read only the major points. When I run a big group, most of what happens in the chat goes by silently, and I just read and respond to key points or common questions.

  11. Ron Rabin says:

    Great post as always! I’m ambivalent about the use of chat groups. Often they are not used skillfully by facilitators–but that’s not to say they don’t have potential. For a 60 or 90-minute session, the overhead they require is definitely overkill. But for longer, virtual classroom rather than webinar-style events (participants across 4 corporate locations in multiple sessions etc.) they can add some peer learning variety to the typical presenter/participant dynamic found in webinar style events. You do have to manage them, however–for example, by having one team member per break-out responsible for keeping folks on task and working toward solving challenges given by the instructor (or by having the instructor “drop in” on various groups, which many of the platforms allow). Mixing up the learning modes can definitely help with longer sessions, but it does need to be handled skillfully.

  12. Thanks so much Cathy for sharing your thoughts on making webinars more interesting. How wonderful that you’re applying problem-based learning in webinars as well. I have attended a lot of webinars and it’s most often ‘presentation +Q&A’, the vast majority very boring because there is nothing to DO (I don’t count answering questions – or non-questions as you put it – and other typical chat activities as valuable interaction). I have never attended a webinar done the way you describe it and it sounds much more exciting, so thanks for leading the way – I hope lots of people in the sector are listening.

    I wonder if it would be worth considering doing your sessions asynchronously. There is more time for people to think about the ID problems you’re throwing at them so they can come up with better/more creative solutions? In real life we don’t think on our feet when faced with typical ID challenges. We might go for a walk, do some other work… and suddenly the ideal solution comes to us. I would imagine that if I would attend one of your training sessions I would want to be able to do that and not have to come up with a suggestion straight away. The immediacy and fast pace of the chat might also mean the facilitator/presenter misses out on good input (even if they take the time to read it) or feel pushed to ignore part of it because of time constraints, which might be frustrating for some attendees.

    I’m a big fan of (collaborative) problem-based learning. From experience, I do believe though that when learners are given more time (and are not pushed into coming up with a short immediate response), the learning is potentially deeper and the learning experience more valuable.

    I’m not a fan of webinars because to me they are usually too shallow, not problem-based and too focused on the presenter/information. Great to read that you were able to facilitate problem-based learning design activities in the short time of a webinar – I must attend one of your sessions.

    Having said that, with the challenges you so aptly describe, do you think the nature of the tool just makes it hard to support real learning for subjects like these? Would asynchronous collaborative learning work better?

    • Cathy Moore says:

      Anouk, thanks for your comment. I agree that learning definitely needs offline time to develop. I recommend that people who are using webinars also have detailed support materials that can be accessed offline, and if possible a forum.

      I also strongly recommend breaking down content into short sessions spaced at least several days apart — for example, the scenario design class I do takes place in four sessions, one per week, with the intervening time used for doing offline homework with the support of the handouts, and with my feedback through email if necessary. The webinar is just part of the learning, and it can be an intense part, due to the fast-paced conversation.

      Finally, I encourage people to design webinars that are more like group practice sessions. For example, if people need to learn how to write emails according to a specific model, the webinar wouldn’t just present the model. Most of it would be spent writing and rewriting fictional emails as a group, modeling the activity that learners would later do offline.

  13. Loving this discussion – good stuff!

    Here’s one poll question that’s worth asking [link] – and naturally a poll lets you graph the results for the audience. (Please also see the link near the bottom of that post for a favourite technique of mine, called “stopping Q&A hypnosis”.)

    With public chat, though, I’m unsure of its net benefit. If the audience is big (or just active), chat can be very “noisy”, so your eye’s drawn all the time. And if people are reading, they can’t listen (to engage with you) at the same time.

    Also, being casual and instant, only some chat content is well thought out or useful.

    A few times I’ve seen the chat get hijacked by people who were frustrated that their question hadn’t been answered. So they pasted their question (or inane comment) maybe a dozen times in a row.

    Cathy, with the tools you use, are there ways to stop that happening? In the cases I’ve seen, either there weren’t safeguards, or the hosts didn’t know about them.

    Like with elearning, the best interaction causes deep thinking. But thinking’s hampered by low-quality messages sent at a high rate.

    That’s why I think it would be better to slow down the chat and boost its quality. One way to do that would be to chat with just the host, and have them share only the best questions or comments. So to me, that’s a better approach. (Different strokes… :) )

    • Cathy Moore says:

      Craig, I agree that it’s good to check in with participants occasionally to see how the pace is, whether the audio is strong, and so forth. A poll can make this easy.

      I’m a stubborn advocate for the public chat for several reasons. First, participants in my sessions bring years of experience and have valuable ideas to share. Second, I ask so many questions that if I had to personally read and filter all the responses before publishing a few of them in the chat, the webinar would crash to a halt.

      I don’t advocate for asking questions that inspire low-quality answers. It’s also important to give the chat responses time to dig a little deeper. For example, when I post a poorly written scenario question and ask, “What’s wrong with this question?” the first responses usually identify surface problems. If necessary, I rephrase the question to hint at the deeper problem, such as asking, “Do you care about the people in the question? Why or why not?” I don’t think these are low-quality messages.

      I’ve been in webinars that ask shallow questions inspiring a shallow response. An example would be a webinar on choosing stock images for training in which a presenter posts a photo of a clearly angry person and asks, “What emotion is this person showing? Yes, that’s right, this person is angry. We could use this image in an exercise about poor customer service, or some other situation in which people get angry.” This is not what I’m advocating.

      • Thanks for your ever-thoughtful responses. My comment was heavily influenced by recent bad experiences, where the chat window was overflowing with drivel!

        Thanks too for sharing the Blackboard link below – I look forward to watching it.

      • Lynn Graham says:

        Cathy, I have to agree that open chat is better. The very nature of webinars and other distance participation/learning requires interaction to ensure engagement. The collaborative nature of the open chat sponsors ongoing interaction, prompting responses and critical thinking from other participants. Many participants will stay focused if they are watching the chat pod to see the responses to their posts. If careful moderation by presenter or assistants is maintained it should flow smoothly.

    • Cathy Moore says:

      Luckily, I haven’t had any trouble with people pasting a question or comment over and over in the chat, or with the chat getting out of hand. For webinars, I currently use WebEx. I’d like to switch to FuzeBox but need a bit of time to make sure it works for people with severe firewalls.

  14. Cathy Moore says:

    Hi everyone, if you’d like to see an example of a webinar in which I use the chat a lot, try this link. It’s a Blackboard Elluminate recording of a public session I did on action mapping. It’s from awhile ago and the questions aren’t as challenging as the ones I use in my current classes.

  15. khairullah shirzai says:

    I have a question?

    Online webinars and training materials can be accessed even if you miss the session?
    thanks
    i am waiting for your response.

    • Cathy Moore says:

      Khairullah, that depends. Many presenters record the session and make the recordings available to people who missed it, while others don’t. The webinar tools I’ve used all have a feature that let the presenter record the session. Then the presenter can download the recording and make it available through their own site, or they can distribute the link to the recording stored on the webinar platform and people can view the recording online or maybe download it themselves.

  16. Shandra Davis says:

    Hi Cathy,

    This is my first time visiting your site and I have really enjoyed this thread. I am beginning my journey in instructional design and can totally identify with your post personally. Due to major changes in system functionality at work due to changes in laws, I am required to attend daily webinars for a month along with many other managers. It was announced the second day that full screen participation was very low and it was requested that everyone in participation fully dedicated the entire hour to the webinar, distraction free.

    What is very interesting to me is that everything that is on your list of things to avoid is exactly what is being used. On the first day, I found myself “listening” and working at the same time on another project and occasionally tuning in to answer a poll question. I know that if the mini activities that you suggest along with public chat were used, it would be much more meaningful and participation would probably increase.

  17. Hi Cathy, and All.

    I have very much enjoyed this thread, and have learnt much. I’m newly certified in Instructional Design and have a contact from my previous career who is interested in our pulling together a series of webinars for their organization. Hence, your tips here are exactly the kind of advice I was looking for.

    One question though; Some feedback I have received regarding the effectiveness of live webinars versus asynchronous “events” seems to be in question. Several different sources are saying that nowadays it is best to offer the information using an asynchronous format, due to all the issues in getting people together at one time and maximizing the use of their time.

    I’d like to know your thoughts, or those of any of your readers, about what you believe the advantages to live webinars, including the interaction you are receiving via chat instantaneously versus asynchronous discussions, which allow for participants to make the decision of how to use their time effectively to interact with the course of instruction. Are live webinars meeting some other needs that asynchronous may not?

    Thanks So Much,
    Kathryn

    • Eduardo Mayorga says:

      Hello Kathryn

      I used to be a fan of asynchronous e-learning and did not use much webinars for the same reasons you mention.

      Now I have realized that you can get the best of both worlds. You run a webinar with the people that can meet at that time, and you record the meeting for those who cant. You then open a disccusion forum that will add to the webinar discussion.

      I think that for learners that prefer asynchronous, watching a recorded highly interactive webinar with questions and answers in it , is a much better learning experience than just watching a prerecorded “teacher monologue” of the same content, prerecorded by the speaker.

      Regards

      Eduardo

      • Lynn Graham says:

        Eduardo,

        I think you have summarised it very well – both methods of presentation have their merits. With asynchronous the lack of ‘connectivity’ learners might feel by not being part of the original discussion can be overcome by the ongoing forum. We all know that if we want our learners to be engaged they need to feel connected.

        Regards Lynn

  18. Anonymous Coward says:

    I am currently doing online teacher training on Adobe products offered by Adobe & obviously they use Connect. The scenario is slightly different in that there is a facilitator and a presenter. They make extensive use of chat & several “chat” type areas open all the time – 1 for the facilitator or participants ask questions of each other (eg “Do you get the students to find all the photos they will manipulate first, or do you do it as you go?” ) – the presenter ignores this window but if the facilitator thinks the discussion important she will summarise a discussion, another to ask specific questions of the presenter (as well as a discussion summary for the presenter) and another for useful links (including where on the Education Exchange we can find the resources mentioned, handouts, other videos etc etc). The recording is saved, however the posters names are anonymised rather than real names eg Particpant 1 might be me, participant 37 might be the facilitator etc)

    I have done many webinars offered by various organisations (RMIT, Swineburn Inst Tech, Stanford Uni, Murdoch Uni, IBM, Microsoft as well as Adobe) and have found this format to be the most useful/flexible without bogging everything down (ie “I stop the presentation for a while to read the comments”).

    (Sorry about the screen name – my real name is in my email address – as a tech teacher in a high school I find it best to use an alias, yes the kids google us)

  19. Chris Tobnick says:

    Cathy,
    It took me quite awhile to read all these posts, but what an education that was. I have been in the Academic arena for almost 14 years now, I am a BlackBoard Trainer & Curriculum Designer. I have used BlackBoard Collaborate, and train faculty to use this for their online group presentations, and Open Office Hours, Advising, etc… I so agree with the importance of a good microphone/headset. Like so many in this discussion, there is nothing worse than attending a webinar, training (virtually) and not paying attention. I truly encourage participation from the students, and have the faculty give them Moderator privileges, so they can share files, share their desktop, etc…. If what you are saying, just sticking with “chat” , I am having some difficulty with that. I am however, open to new ideas, so I thank you for this wonderful discussion. It has been most enlightening!

    • Cathy Moore says:

      Chris, thanks for your comment. I’m not saying we should *restrict* ourselves to the chat. I think having participants share documents, annotate stuff on the screen, and participate in other ways is great. I pointed out the opportunities provided by the chat because that’s the easiest and most commonly available way to get large groups of people to participate.

  20. I have used breakout sessions, and the response from studetns was really good. Some students actually started flirting each other (talking about family, home countries etc). The fact that the trainer, an “authority figure” is not there enables a different kind of cooperation, and this is fantastic. There should be a clearly defined task that they have to present to the group after a 15-minute session. That’s it for funny cat videos:-) As for the audio: as was able to seamlessly join and leave the sessions of students. They called me in, etc. I thought of creating a document on: “how to use breakout sessions”, but it is not ready yet…

  21. Blair says:

    Cathy, webinars I design and deliver work pretty much how you describe.

    I create a workbook with activities and places to make notes about key points. I use pictures and stories to explain concepts as required, most of it is doing though.

    It’s basically how I would design a face to face workshop – a series of challenges with discussion and feedback and help where needed. When you’ve completed all the challenges in the workbook u r finished the webinar.

    I think the problem ppl run into is thinking people want to use webinar technology to learn. They don’t. They want to learn stuff in the easiest way possible. The tech should compliment the learning not be used just because it’s a feature of webinar software.

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  1. […] Continuar leyendo: Consejos para webinars o formación virtual […]

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  3. […] cui facciamo riferimento è Cathy Moore, che ne scrive in questo articolo che mi ha colpito per un paio di […]

  4. […] Tips for webinars or virtual training […]

  5. […] of that environment.”  Somebody with lots of experience is Cathy Moore, and here are her Tips for Webinars or Virtual Training…I can vouch for the fact that they’re good tips as I’ve used many of them for my […]

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