Even though webinars have been around since the 1990s and it seems that almost every organization does them, there is still significant variation in quality. This inconsistency has not only led to disappointing learning experiences, it has caused consternation among providers of continuing education and professional development that see the potential for webinars as an effective delivery format for learning at scale if used well.
Here are the best practices to use for webinars, as well as what to avoid.
Prepare. Practice. Produce. Present. Participate. Preserve.
- Define learning outcomes and make sure you consider what the audience will find useful.
- Consider the range of learning styles — visual, aural, kinesthetic.
- Include interesting graphics/images on slides, but avoid slide animations.
- Use presenters who have firsthand experience with the topic.
- Know how to respond to common technical issues, and have responses at the ready.
- Design for the online format, with both its opportunities and limitations in mind.
- Don’t have more than three presenters.
- Have a dress rehearsal.
- Rehearse timings to ensure the pace and transitions are good.
- Try out all webinar software, including interactive and notation tools, and practice “handing the ball” from speaker to speaker.
- Test presenters’ audio equipment and any connections that will be used for the live event.
- Have a technical producer to support presenters and attendees.
- Have an emcee introduce the topic and speakers and facilitate questions from the audience.
- Provide common troubleshooting tips upfront.
- Have some voice speaking before start time so people can check their audio.
- Live caption the webinar for the hearing impaired.
- Display a welcome slide before start time so people know they’re in the right place.
- Include photos of the speakers.
- Don’t give long introductions for speakers. A brief sentence or two with links suffices.
- Avoid video streaming if bandwidth limitations are likely an issue for attendees.
Read more at www.oclc.org