Corporate Learning Webinars – Are They Still “In”?
When the technology for live video streaming first took off, we saw webinars emerge as a concept. For learning, webinars were the first attempts to mimic face-to-face training in a digital environment. Ever since then, we’ve witnessed and incredible surge in popularity of video as learning content. But where does that leave us? Is there still a place for corporate learning webinars?
The problems with corporate learning webinars
Webinars are no longer the technological breakthrough they were back in the day. With the surge in content delivery technologies throughout the spectrum, we’ve become to notice a few problems with webinars.
The quality of video, and especially audio, are the first noticeable problem. With the advent of ever-better cameras and studio tools, we’ve grown accustomed to high quality videos, especially with long-form content. While we can utilise some of that tech for webinars, the challenge is the live aspect. For instance, the audio tracks are not edited (since it’s live!) and can thus become quite painful to listen, especially if the presenter’s microphone is not properly placed.
When it comes to corporate learning webinars, engagement is also a problem. Yes, the learners might be logged in to the session, but they space off just as easily. Overall, webinars are still quite a passive medium of engagement, where there’s limited interaction from the participants. As the learners are not interacting, they’re not retaining as much either. Furthermore, the benefit of instructor-led training should be the ability to interact with the trainer and fellow trainees; to ask questions and share opinions. That benefit doesn’t often realise in corporate learning webinars.
Solutions to the problems
Naturally, developments on technological fronts have, and continue to, enable us to solve some of these problems. Microphone technologies are becoming better and better, helping to filter out background noises and unwanted extras. Cameras have also improved tremendously, and many of them even have integrated live streaming capabilities.
While there has been progress with the hardware, the major developments have happened on the software side. First of all, webinar tools have become much more user friendly. Secondly, they have introduced a lot of possibilities for interactivity: live polls, live quizzes, chat rooms, whiteboards, document sharing and engagement monitoring are just a few examples. These have enabled us to bring the needed three levels of learning interactivity into the webinars. Thus, the audience is no longer a passive listener, but rather an active participant. For learning purposes, that makes a whole world of difference.
Should you still use corporate learning webinars? Is there a future?
Learning webinars may have that slightly outdated connotation. But if they work for you, there’s no reason to stop using them. However, do keep in mind some of the problems with webinars, and engage with your users (learners) to find out how they see your offering. If your webinars lack interactivity, you might consider delivering through some of the newer technologies on the market (we are happy to provide recommendations).
In the future, webinars will be challenged by the rise of other technologies suitable for instructor-led training, such as augmented reality. However, webinars will continue to provide the required scalability for the time these technologies are still developing. In terms of digital instructor-led training, live video is not the only solution though. Many organisations are trying out things such as instructor-led facilitation in online environments – with good results!
If you’d like recommendations for good webinar tools or help with refining your approach to digital ILT, we can help you. Just contact us to set up a meeting – even a virtual one!