Thursday, December 20, 2012

Good, Better, Best: Webinar Design

314/366 earliest shot :-/ attending online conference #springycamp 4.30am start :)
I love talking and interacting with people, both in face-to-face and digital spaces. (That is a colloquial way of saying that I talk A LOT!)

However, despite my love of chatter, I find it somewhat tricky to host an effective webinar. Without intentional, strategic moves, interactivity can be lost, and the experience can be didactic.

Last week I worked with Toby Gruber to facilitate a webinar on digital professional learning. We wanted to engage the participants in spite of the general limitations of the webinar platform.

Here are the strategies we used to mitigate the design tensions that inherently exist with webinar format:
  1. We used backchannels both inside the webinar and on Twitter. While participants were encouraged to use the backchannels throughout the entire webinar, we identified specific "stop and chat" points where participants could dialogue with others and reflect on their learning. This helped to build in processing time, and it chunked the delivery of new ideas.
  2. We used polls to guide the conversation and be responsive. Instead of simply following a pre-determined set of slides, we asked the audience questions and delivered content based on their interests. I actually had to create many more slides than usual to make this possible, but the additional preparation was well worth it!
  3. We referenced the chat often as we talked. Instead of simply allowing the chat to fly by, we referenced participants' comments and included them in the conversation. Although this can require some tricky multi-tasking, it gets much easier with practice!

While these strategies worked well, here are additional strategies that I want use in the future:
  1. Direct participants to write/draw/annotate on the slides they see. For example, place a dot along the continuum between these two points. Or, add your favorite word to describe student engagement. By having participants also engage with the slides themselves, they are more likely to see themselves as part of a community during the webinar itself.
  2. Use a "treasure hunt" strategy. Actually send participants to the interwebs and ask them to find something to share about a particular topic or idea. This will keep them active and provide additional processing time.
What strategies do you use when hosting webinars? I'm interested in learning from you!

CC Photo Credit: Earliest Shot by KatieTT

1 comment:

  1. The site was absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need!b Keep 'em coming... you all do such a great job at such Concepts... can't tell you how much I, for one appreciate all you do!

    AimIT Software - Website Design company

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