Are you planning to organize webinars? Then do what the Learning & Networking team did: We learned a great deal by observing how others designed their webinars. The webinar series on storytelling organized by Nicole Bittel from the Swiss Distance University of Applied Sciences were interactive and energizing. The secret: Focus on one topic, make it conversational and build in many interactive moments.
By Nadia von Holzen, SDC
Lately the Learning & Networking team has organized two webinars with the community of SDC storytellers. We are slow in the uptake of using webinars for learning. But I would say better slow and therefore interactive. And that we managed: two webinars that were interactive. The reason for this little success? Copying!
We joined several webinars on storytelling elsewhere and observed closely how others designed the webinar session. From some we learned how not to do it: Input without conversation this boring; watching slides and not seeing the faces of those who present is insupportable. What is the sense of making time in the middle of the working day when I can watch the session quietly later remotely?
And there was the series of webinars organized by the Swiss Distance University of Applied Sciences (FFHS): “Virtuelle & Interaktive Sessions (VIS) zum Thema Storytelling im Hochschulunterricht”. What a great pleasure to participate. What an energizer! I was inspired. The webinars were so well done, so well prepared, and running so smoothly. This was an eye opener how to make good webinars.
I wanted to know more about the preparation behind. So I contacted Nicole Bittel. She is researcher at the Institute for Research in Open- Distance- and eLearning (IFeL of the FFHS). We had an interesting exchange. Nicole shared her reflection with me.
Listen to her answers:
Playlist also available on soundcloud.com
Tips for your next webinar to make it a success
If you want to organize a webinar that is inspiring and interactive stick to the following points:
Become a ‘webinarer’
We started by joining webinars elsewhere. So what about observing how others design interaction in their webinar and make it conversational; and how you feel about it?
We all need to learn how to use Webinars more effectively. They are an amazing technology with a huge potential for informing us, jointly creating knowledge, problem solving, and sharing what we have learned with each other.
Know what you want to achieve
The purpose must be crystal clear. The guide So You Want to Host a Web Meeting? by Nancy White, Pete Cranston, Susan Stewart and Bonnie Koenig is excellent to clarify the purpose of the webinar. We also have to be clear that a webinar is the right tool and else we better look for alternative options of working and learning together.
And one more thing we learned: To focus on one topic and one objective because in terms of webinars „less is more“.
Make it interactive
We have to hold the participants attention through interaction and prepare an agenda that is conversational. In her blog Nine Practices To Make Webinars Interactive and Effective Nancy Dixon shares some great ideas.
Be well prepared
The work is in the preparation: To clarify purpose and interactive agenda we have to know our audience.
We have to know our platform from practicing and practicing and once more practicing.
In the team we share tasks and define the roles: Ideally the team consists of 3 persons: presenter, facilitator and technical back-up person.
Tailor the interactive experience to the size of your group.