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Webinars

WebinarAs part of the Virtual Professional Learning and Development (VPLD) Developing Virtual Mentors (DVM) programme I’ve been encouraged to think about the webinars I’ve been involved in and consider what I observed. This post is me reflecting on just that.

I’ve had the privilege of both participating in and facilitating education and training webinars. Many of these would like be what Nicky Hockly would call “Chalk and talk”. Apparently the least effective type of webinar.

Hockly identifies in a blog post, Four ways with webinars. These include:

  1. Chalk and talk – eg. slideshow and talking – kind of lecture style
  2. Talk and talk – interview style where a facilitator questions a guest/expert
  3. Listen and do – where a facilitator talks through a tool/activity while participants are actually trying it out
  4. Guided tour – where the facilitator shares their screen and takes participants through a process or website, for example.

While I’ve said that the webinars I have been involved are probably Chalk and talk, they possibly also have aspects of Talk and talk as well. At all times participants are encouraged to ask questions in the text chat area or raise their hand, take the microphone and speak.

Like with a lot of things, I don’t think there is one right way to do things. I for one am not good at talking to fill in that radio silence that you can sometimes get in these types of situations when no one is talking. If I think of a one on one mentoring session, sometimes I think that these silences can also be important. They give time for thinking, reflecting, and even just looking for the right words. Sometimes silence is important.

I think too that some people like a big introduction to a webinar and to hear about this new tool or that interesting thing, but others prefer to have a short introduction and just get into the main session. Is one way right or wrong? No, they’re just different.

Thinking again about Hockly four types of webinars, it’s important to consider what the purpose of the webinar is and decide what is most appropriate. Listen and do and Guided tour could be great for training sessions but not necessarily for introducing the group to a new idea or for group discussion.

So for me, the main thing to consider when looking at webinars is… What’s the purpose? And then you can decide on how that webinar will look or be run.

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