11 things we learned from hosting webinars all over the world
Zoom has become our new best friend in hosting webinars in the past 16 months. Let’s see what we have learned along the way!
#1 Elearning or e-learning
To hyphen or not to hyphen? That is the question. Linguistic compounds in English are generally done using hyphens, yet sometimes portmanteaux like ‘blog’ (web + log) or email (electronic + mail) are not. So, which is it? Well, it seems there isn’t a clear answer yet. Generally, though, the trend goes from: two words (electronic learning) to hyphenated (e-learning) to a closed compound (eLearning). So, in this case, we thought it safest to hyphenate. E-learning it is. Glad we could settle that 😉
#2 Turn off environmental noise before you hit the ‘join’ button
Computer notification sounds can drive you crazy, especially happening during a webinar. So, it can pay of to check your computer settings to make sure no one gets distracted by a notification sound. Although, sometimes noises from a surrounding area can also throw a spanner in the works. In our case, one of our colleagues in Indonesia sometimes needs to compete with the rooster sound during webinar! 🐔
#3 Keep it fun
Webinar fatigue is an actual phenomenon. A Google Answer box result shows: a new phrase coined to describe the overall feeling of disinterest towards the over-saturation of webinar offerings. That is why we like to keep it fun.
#4 Make attending as easy as possible
E-learning can happen in any place, as long as there is a device and connectivity. A physical class requires the attendee to come to a training location but in this mode, he or she can access lessons sitting anywhere in the world. Whether this is from the comfort of their home or together with colleagues at the office.
#5 Take a breath with a quiz
To keep everyone on track, a 2-hour monologue is not the way to go. We like to approach our webinars as a dialogue, instead of a presentation. Quizzes, Q&A sessions and live chat are making the sessions livelier. In the case the webinar lasts longer than one hour, we also incorporate a break. We also like to make use of the Polling tool on Zoom meetings, which allows us to launch the poll during the meeting and gather the responses from attendees. Great alternatives are apps such as Mentimeter or Kahoot.
#6 It’s (cost)effective
E-learning offers a very efficient way to deliver lessons. Use of videos, sharing of resource links, serving assessment tests can all be done at the click of a button. Additionally, the lectures can be recorded and shared for reference with a wide range of audiences.
#7 E-learning without internet is no e-learning
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that attending an e-learning course without an internet connection is impossible. But we do provide options if the lack of internet connection is only temporarily. You can watch the recorded versions later on, download the presentation and do the assignment without internet connection.
#8 It encourages shy people
We have seen that many people who are usually nervous in an open classroom environment open up in online classes. They ask more questions. They participate. This could be because of a comfortable home environment.
#9 There is a perfect length
It’s essential there aren’t too many topics crammed into one event, as attempting to cover several topics can exhaust or confuse the audience. If attendees can’t stay focused during the event, there’s a high chance that they won’t see the value in attending and in turn won’t register for a next online event. To avoid this, we tend to stick to the ‘45-minutes’-rule: the most popular length for webinars.
#10 E-learning can’t replace face-to-face learning entirely
Human beings learn a lot by simply being around other human beings. Unfortunately, e-learning takes away all physical interactions that students and teachers might have on the school premises. It’s always better for participants to be around other participants to talk or discuss ideas, which is an essential part of learning.
#11 The key is blended learning
The future is in blended learning. While all modes of learning have their benefits and drawbacks, after the current crisis, it is clear that some form of blended learning will evolve with e-learning forming a crucial part of the overall teaching-learning process.