nline education is evolving rapidly, and new digital tools are opening doors to effective teaching methods.
Webinars or web-based seminars are invaluable tools that can help to maximize the learning process. The value of the webinar industry is predicted to grow to $800 million by the end of 2023.
They represent a helpful support system providing instructors with better ways of engaging with remote learners and benefiting students in several ways. The benefits of webinars are numerous but can’t be overemphasized.
In this blog post, we will explore why webinars are essential for today’s students and anyone involved in or interested in digital learning tools in their professional field or studies.
We also reveal tips for hosting successful webinars and more.
What is a Live Webinar?
A live webinar is an online seminar, presentation, or workshop that allows participants to attend virtually without a shared physical location. A web conferencing platform enables attendees to join a live webinar from anywhere using an internet-connected device and audio/video streaming capabilities to engage in real-time learning experiences.
Many webinars offer text chat windows and interactive features such as whiteboard annotation tools, screen sharing, and polling options. Live webinars provide businesses and educational organizations with powerful educational content delivery methods for training large groups.
Practical Applications of Webinars
Besides their importance for online education, webinars serve organizations across several industries. B2B companies host 61% of all webinars.
Let's take a look at some practical applications of webinars for businesses.
Training and onboarding
Webinars are an excellent tool for delivering training to large groups or even welcoming employees to their roles at a company.
ServiceNow, a digital workflows company, uses webinars to introduce its team to the new products they are launching.
Customer service/support tutorials
Some software companies often use webinars to provide customers with step-by-step instructions for troubleshooting issues they’re experiencing with a product or system.
Oracle hosts a “Live Webcast Series” that helps people understand how to use its cloud-based services efficiently.
Networking and education events
Many business schools now offer webinar options for meetings, alumni chats, career advice sessions, and sessions that prospective students can attend without having to leave their homes.
Harvard Business School hosts frequent webinars on topics ranging from finance, business strategy, entrepreneurship, etc.
89% of hosts admit that webinars present the best channels to market and grow their business
Buyers love getting detailed information about products before making a purchasing decision. And what better way can they get the info than through live demos? Webinars allow product owners to showcase their offerings to larger audiences in real-time.
Febooti, a software development company, gives regular live streams of their software in action, showing customers various features and highlighting important updates.
Internal team discussions and Q&A sessions
Teams within departments in organizations may find hosting weekly webinars dedicated to internal communication useful. Important announcements, debating new ideas/ strategies, and updating progress reports during such webinars can help to prevent miscommunications and problems that could impact team performance.
Webinars are not only valuable for large companies. Smaller companies with limited resources can also leverage the power of webinars to enhance some parts of their operations and grow their business.
Jamie Davidson, the Marketing Communications Manager of Vast Conference said:
“For smaller companies that may not have the bandwidth to host multiple live events, the recording function creates evergreen content that, for example, Human Resources can use to run weekly remote onboarding for new employees.”
Benefits of Webinars for Students
Webinars allow students to participate collaboratively in lectures, workshops, and tutorials with a remote instructor in real-time. This two-way interaction will enable instructors to obtain students’ feedback instantly, engage the audience using polls and quizzes, and create an interactive virtual classroom environment.
Students enjoy the convenience of learning from their homes and on their preferred schedules through webinars. They can watch pre-recorded webinars or participate in live sessions anytime without physically going to a campus. This convenience helps students with busy lifestyles, such as those with jobs and families, to learn easily. Educational webinars are the most common type of webinars and they record 60% attendance.
With webinars, students have the flexibility of choosing when a class should hold and time it around their availability, schedules, and preferences for learning styles.
Webinars are accessible from any device with an Internet connection, which makes them great for those on the go (students who need a break between classes).
Attending a webinar for study purposes is a cost-effective option. Since webinars are hosted over the internet, travel costs associated with attending onsite classes or seminars don’t apply, meaning even more money stays in students' pockets.
Benefits of Webinars for Online Education
Webinars allow online education to reach a much wider audience with each session, as anyone with an internet connection can access them. They help to spread knowledge faster and make it easier for people from different countries to access learning materials.
With webinars, instructors can create customized courses tailored to every student’s needs and preferences, which enhances the learning experience for all users involved in the program.
During live webinar sessions, teachers can foster improved levels of engagement among participants as everyone unites under one platform. The common platform allows them to communicate back and forth in real-time while doing presentations or hosting question-answer sessions, etc.
Better Data Analysis
Online tools associated with webinars allow administrators to track detailed information such as the number of participants, average attentiveness span of learners during class, etc. This collected data can help to design future activities better, specifically catering towards what works best for a given set of individuals within demographic or common interests.
Tips for Hosting Great Webinars
Hosting a successful webinar could be daunting. However, careful planning and preparation can make all the difference.
Define the learning objectives
Defining your goals or objectives before hosting a webinar is essential. What are you hoping your audience will learn?
This definition will help guide the content of your webinar and ensure participants clearly understand what they can expect from participating.
Choose a reliable webinar platform
You must choose an online platform that provides good quality audio and video streaming and other features like chat rooms or surveys to interact with attendees during the session.
Research different providers and compare their offerings before deciding which best meets your needs.
Test Your Equipment and Internet Connection
Ensure you test any equipment (e.g., microphones, speakers) beforehand. Check internet speeds to ensure an optimal experience for yourself and those attending the session live. Nothing could be more embarrassing than technical difficulties midway through the webinar.
Create Engaging Content
When creating content for webinars, ensure students don’t feel overwhelmed by taking in too much information quickly. The content should be relevant and interesting to the attendees. It can include statistics, key points, humor, interactive polls, and Q&A sessions.
Use Visual Aids
Besides engaging content, visual aids help to provide a more in-depth explanation of concepts being discussed and keep attendees interested during longer webinars. Pictures and videos are great ways to convey those ideas while enhancing user experience with visuals.
During your webinar, be sure to ask questions throughout so that students can engage their curiosity about the material presented in real-time. This approach allows for better interaction between you and the participants, improving classroom dynamics.
You can use tools like chat boxes so people who feel shy can still express themselves without feeling uncomfortable about speaking up publicly.
Participants must have access to the resources they need during a webinar. Providing resources may involve giving the required links ahead of time, making documents easily accessible or downloadable, and adding helpful visuals. Taking some extra time to put these resources in place will help your webinar run smoothly.
Follow up with Students
After hosting a successful webinar, contacting individual participants or sending out surveys regarding their experience after concluding the event is important.
Following up provides insight into what the students found interesting or otherwise and could shape webinar ideas for future presentations.
It’s good to ask attendees of your webinars questions like:
- What did you enjoy?
- Do you have any suggestions?
- Was there any unclear or confusing aspect during today's presentation?
- Is the pace of the webinar comfortable for you?
Responses to these questions can provide valuable feedback on how effective a session was, including topics discussed, methods used, etc. Collecting this information will help you understand the areas where improvements can be made for future webinars.
Challenges of Hosting Webinars for Online Learning
Webinars require reliable technology and a secure web hosting platform to ensure the online experience is smooth for trainers and learners. Technical glitches can disrupt the learning process, lead to frustration among participants, and damage the quality of shared content.
Poor Time Management
During long webinars or series of connected sessions, there is the risk of rushed presentations and unsatisfactory outcomes. Such situations arise due to a lack of proper preparation resulting from wrong estimates of duration needs.
Maintaining user engagement during webinar sessions can be difficult. It requires creating engaging yet informative materials that capture and sustain participants' attention over long periods without losing their impact or being repetitive.
Facilitation and Moderation Issues
Instructors must manage questions quickly but efficiently by separating important concerns from irrelevant ones. They must be skillful in considering suggestions made by several people simultaneously and respond appropriately within a limited duration per session. The role requires that an instructor is equipped with multitasking skills.
Cost is a significant challenge when hosting webinars for online learning. Webinar costs can include the cost of software licenses, hardware investments required to host and facilitate video streaming, staff time and resources needed to deliver content online, etc. Depending on the size of the audience, there may be expenses related to obtaining additional bandwidth if streaming several HD videos at once.
Webinars have become vital to online education due to their convenience and effectiveness. They allow students to learn at their own pace and connect with educators in real-time.
Accessing and viewing content anywhere makes webinars ideal for busy individuals seeking knowledge for career or personal development goals.
A webinar benefits instructors and students by facilitating learning through active engagement rather than passive inclusion, ultimately helping everyone reach their full potential. The benefits of webinars deliver educational success beyond the traditional classroom settings.