Attend a Webinar and Get More Out of It

I had a chance to attend a webinar entitled “eLearning Visual Design Trends for Non-Designers.” It was sponsored by the eLearning Guild and  facilitated by Bianca Woods (if you’re looking for graphic design resources and ideas, be sure to check out her website).

attend a webinar without falling asleepI confess that I normally multi-task while “attending” webinars. I’ll check email. If a colleague walks by with a question, I’ll take out my ear buds and happily respond. I generally approach a webinar hoping for some nugget of inspiration, but a lot of times I’ll disconnect completely after 20 minutes or so. This is why this webinar had so much impact on me that I decided to write about it.

I walked away from the experience thinking that it was one of the most helpful webinars I’d ever attended. After one hour, I had three concrete, actionable next steps that I planned to take.

What Made the Webinar Successful?

Was it her slide deck? No. Although she did have a very well designed deck of slides (if you’re looking for an example of a clean, effective set of slides, please scroll through her deck and steal some of the design principles she used).

Was it the polls or opportunities to type questions into the chat box? No. Although those instructional design elements did help break up the presentation and give me an opportunity to interact with everyone else in attendance.

The key moment for me came before I even logged on yesterday. Just by happenstance, I asked a co-worker if she was interested in attending the webinar after I had enrolled. She was. I blocked off a conference room and we huddled around my laptop.

Attend a Webinar; Get In-Person Discussion

attend a webinar with someone else to get more out of itAs Bianca walked us through the content, my co-worker and I discussed (in real time) how we might apply some of the concepts to our work. We walked out of the conference room having brainstormed ways to better integrate video into our training, identified a specific story line for an infographic we will create for an upcoming meeting and we were pointed in the direction of a free online tool to create said infographic.

Sometimes when I’m designing and delivering presentations, I forget what it’s like to be in the learners’ shoes. Sometimes I forget that learning truly is a social activity. Two heads are better than one.

As presenters, it’s crucial to allow learners an opportunity to interact and discuss the ideas we’ve presented. They’re more likely to come up with ways to use our content that will be most meaningful for them.

Yesterday I also learned that for best way to attend a webinar, invite a friend or two. Who knows how you might be able to apply the content when you start putting your heads together.

8 thoughts on “Attend a Webinar and Get More Out of It

  1. I agree that webinars, and even asynchronous courses, can yield greater context and application when taken with a buddy.

    Can you tell me the name of the free infographic tool that was mentioned in the webinar?

    Thanks for another great blog 🙂

    • Thanks Jackie. Yes! I’m not sure why this was such a revelation for me. I guess there’s often an assumption with webinars – that they’re a form of elearning so their “natural state” is that in which you just do it on your own. Which is certainly an advantage – definitely more flexible when you don’t need to coordinate with others.

      On the other hand, there’s just so much more that I think 2 (or more) can derive from sitting around, attending together, and being able to discuss concepts and transferable lessons, in real time.

    • Hi Pam – Yes, webinars can certainly have multiple “bottom lines”. It’s tough to have anyone in the audience master anything in an hour (or however long the webinar might be), but it can certainly be an opportunity to whet their appetite and raise their awareness/interest level about the topic at hand!

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