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Webinars – A “Real-Time” Learning Experience
By Terry Loving
As a webinar attendee, you get to absorb and learn from the comfort of your own home. No need to rush to get somewhere or plan what to wear. Your learning is in your hands. You get to choose how deeply involved you will be in the listening, the learning and the discussions. With so many experts out there teaching on trending topics, it is hard not to find a webinar that helps as you grow your business and incorporate new ideas. There are days when you may even experience two or three scheduled at the same time and have to choose which topic interest you the most! The convenience of a recorded webinar comes in handy when you can’t make up your mind! – Register for more than one and receive the recordings of both. (Sometimes you may find there is a fee for the recording.)
As an instructor, the services available online make hosting a workshop very easy with extended benefits. Most programs are very user-friendly with instructional videos and on-line help. The services range from “Free” to those with a monthly charge.
A little research will pay off here. Attend workshops and see what works best as an attendee. Try the introductory offers that some services offer to test out the programs that interest you.
Once you select the service you will use, plan your topic that you will deliver and send out an invitation – If you’ve listened to the needs people have and the topic is what they are asking for, your webinar may have to locate a “larger” room for an overload audience. Some services limit the number of attendees. Verify this before you send out your invitation.
An astute presenter realizes, when the content in the webinar is of value and fills the needs of their listeners, they are building not only a relationship with valued customers, but a targeted contact list that will serve them over and over again as they continue to market and grow their business.
Because webinars are so convenient for learning new internet applications, programs and general knowledge, attendees willingly give contact information for the privilege of attending, building the contact list of the instructor. Most often a presentation is free for the attendee with perhaps a fee to receive the recording. If you are attending a “sales pitch”, listening to the end of the presentation often gives you a link to their “very special – limited time offer”. Now you may have attended many webinars and watched as many presenters get “tripped up” by techie problems (the sound doesn’t work, the recording doesn’t work their screen is blank, etc) Observant folks have learned much from their problem solving techniques and how the presenters communicate with the attendees.
This may encourage you to decide to try out for yourself one of the many free (or paid) systems for a webinar of your own. You have something of value to share and determined to give it a try.
Prepare carefully. Take steps to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
* Preview the webinar application. Give yourself lots of time to become familiar with the set up – Most are straight forward with clear instructions to easily set up and get it working.
* Do a test drive ahead of time with only you present – Click buttons, check options learn how to mute and un-mute visitors, consider using a microphone or telephone.
* If possible, create a time slot for the webinar that gives you lots of “before” and “after” time for tweaking things and answering questions.
* Send out an email invitation in advance so attendees have time to plan.
* Send out a reminder email right before they are due online. Many get busy and distracted. Tell them you are starting in 15 minutes.
* Have your presentation or PowerPoint read
* Test your screen capture software and microphone.
You can never be “over prepared”; things technological always tend to “go wrong” somehow. Start early and double-check the settings. You don’t intend for anything to go wrong – It is definitely more pleasant if things go smooth and easy. Breath and enjoy the interaction with your attendees. Now – What could go wrong?
Oh boy. Just a couple of things. Usually nothing too serious. It may feel embarrassing. You will survive.
Your attendees know you are there to help them. Chat and ask for their advice. Check to make sure they see your presentation and can hear you. There are times if you don’t check, you will continue on, people still in the audience, and you talking to yourself. If you are relaxed and don’t stress out – the attendees are happy to help you through the “set back” so it becomes a joint adventure.
Offer your listeners a bonus if things go real bad – you’ve got their sign up information – send them a link to another webinar in the future – offer them a free ebook. Ask them for their feedback and responses. By being human and showing that you care, you will gain meaningful connections with people even if the technology let you down.
Have you tried doing a webinar? What is your story? What is the service you find most reliable and easy to use? I would be interested to know what you think.
The Best Time to Have Your Live Webinar
Do you find yourself constantly worrying about the best time to run your webinars? What time during the day or week is best to run your webinars?
All I can tell you that no time or date is perfect to run your webinars. I still get people attending my webinars when I run them at night, in the afternoon, in the morning, over the weekends, and also early and late week. This is the most important thing to keep in mind when running webinars. Run them at your most convenient time.
If you have a day job or you have other engagements during the week, you can run your webinars on weekends. You can see if more people attend your webinar or if the attendees in your webinar purchase more things by running your webinar on weekdays every once in a while. This also applies to the time of day. You can try running your webinars in the morning if you usually run them in the evening to find out if there will be a difference.
But most importantly, don’t be superstitious. It is very easy to listen to the advice of another person telling you that you can only run a webinar on Friday mornings. But the misgiving of that reasoning is if Friday morning was the best time to run a webinar, wouldn’t everybody run their webinars at a certain time? This would not be possible because that slot of time would be overcrowded and it wouldn’t be the best time to run a webinar anymore.
Another important reason why you should try different times and dates, is to find out what your subscribers prefer. Maybe a lot of people on your list attend your webinars on Monday afternoons, but maybe mine attend more on Friday mornings. Find out what your list prefers and combine this with the best time slot for you. You are an owner of a business and you can therefore schedule your own hours including what time and date your webinar should run.
Be consistent once you know which date, time and the most convenient day of the week to run your live webinar. If you see that you like and your subscribers, like you to run webinars on Mondays at 3:30 PM, continue running your webinars on Mondays at 3:30 PM because your list is already used to this.
The best time to run your webinar is the most convenient day of the week for you and also your list. You must also ensure that you run your live webinar at the best time of day for both you and your subscribers. Nobody can tell you the perfect time to run your live webinar because there is no perfect time. As long as the time and day of the week that you choose is convenient for both you and your subscribers then this is the best time.
A Brief History of eLearning
E-learning is a very broad term. It is used to describe any type of learning environment that is computer enhanced. There are multiple technologies that can be employed in E-learning. It has become one of those types of words that are so general as to have lost some of its meaning. Distance learning is something that has evolved from Elearning. It is used to describe a learning environment that takes place away from the actual traditional classroom and campus.
E-learning began at just about the same time that a computer was developed that was practical for personal use. In fact, the concept and practice of distance learning predates the computer area by almost 100 years. In England, in 1840, shorthand classes were being offered by correspondence courses through the mail. The improvements to the postal service made this method of distance learning popular in the early part of the last century. This led to a large number of through the mail type of educational programs. The computer only made distance learning easy and better. Television, video recorders, and even radio have all made a contribution to distance learning.
E-learning and distance learning are not quite the same thing. The basic thing that distinguishes distance education is the physical separation of the student from the instructor and the class room. E-learning, however, became part of the classroom environment from the beginning. The early use of computers was geared to help the classroom instructor. Gradually, as more and more personal computers became available, the idea of online classes was explored by some pioneering Colleges and Universities. The early attempts at distance education were hampered by resistance from traditionalist within the education field.
Some invoked what they called the philosophy of education to demonstrate that the teacher was essential to the educational process. This resistance led to the early online degrees being considered inferior to traditionally obtained degrees. This prejudice extended to the personal departments of major employers. When choosing between two otherwise equally qualified applicants, preference was shown to the person holding the traditional degree. In recent years this has changed drastically. The improvements in E-learning technology and the ability to create virtual classrooms and a virtual learning environment (VLE) has gradually broken down the resistance. This process has been helped by the emergence of a new generation that was weaned on the computer. It would not be surprising if within another generation, the pendulum shifts completely and the online degree is the one that is respected and coveted.
Natalie Aranda writes about learning and technology. E-learning is a very broad term. It is used to describe any type of learning environment that is computer enhanced. There are multiple technologies that can be employed in Elearning. It has become one of those types of words that are so general as to have lost some of its meaning.
Distance learning in virtual classrooms is something that has evolved from Elearning It is used to describe a learning environment that takes place away from the actual traditional classroom and campus