Written by:

Holly Macdonald


November 11, 2010

This week, I finished a series of webinars (4 weekly 90 minute sessions).  While it’s fresh, I thought I’d jot down my reflections.  It’s only fair, it’s what I suggested the participants do! 

  1. Have a back up plan – on all of my sessions, there was one thing that didn’t go as planned (kind of like at a wedding, where there’s always one little disaster).  I mostly just glossed though when something didn’t go as planned – they didn’t know it. 
  2. Anything technically dicey (trying to co-browse, playing video, etc) I relegated to nice-to-have status.  Just in case.
  3. Co-presenting one of the sessions (sadly, the last) was great and if I do this type of session again, I’d definitely build that in. I thought it would be good to have some in-house learning folks speak about their experiences.  There’s always that ridiculous fear of consultants to contend with, so I brought in someone else to diffuse it.  Worked really well, and I think it enhanced the learning over all.  Plus, he reinforced what I had presented, which helped the participants feel good about the content.
  4. I used images rather than bullet points when possible, but wonder if webinar and face-to-face presos are different beasts.  Too many images and listening just to me prattle on might have been kind of, well, boring.  So, I mixed it up – some pictures, some models, some bullets (I know, I’m sorry to disappoint)
  5. In between one session and the next I assigned some homework.  People were diligent on that.  The next week I didn’t call it homework, but included a bunch of suggested web sites, videos, or readings.  No one looked at them.  I was completely thrown by that.  I must really be a goody-two-shoes, as I would have looked at *every single one of them*.  Be specific in instructions, I guess.
  6. I really wanted to use the participants’ actual work challenges in the session and it worked really well when I used one of the participant’s situation for case study, so will definitely do that again.  It wasn’t hard and it got them jazzed.
  7. I hoped we would be able to use the professional association’s online community to continue the discussion, but didn’t seem to get much interest on that front.  Maybe they weren’t that interested in keeping connected?  I reiterated that learning is a process, not an event, and that it would be great to have a cohort to ask questions to.  Granted, I didn’t sell it that hard and I didn’t really build a place on the online community just for this purpose, so might be the reason why.
  8. I thought about the “social” aspect of this and while I really wanted to see myself as collaborating with this group, I don’t know that it is totally spontaneous.  OK, so probably the fact that they had their phones muted and I was the only one talking might have had something to do with it, but the alternative of competing hold music or background noise from everyone makes group conversations like that hard.  I had to work on the social part of it.  Asked questions, involved them through chat as much as possible.  It is easier to just let them be passive, I think.  It will be interesting to see what the participants thought of it.
  9. I missed Twitter as a way to enhance things- very few of the participants are on Twitter (or blog, or use other SoMe tools) – and I was surprised to see how much I referenced Twitter or wanted to retweet things to them and couldn’t.  It might have been the Twitterfest that DevLearn was (#dl10) thanks to @sumeet_moghe (backchannel rock star who blogged his thoughts, too) or Enterprise 2.0 (#e2conf) the last couple of weeks, but it still snuck up on me how much I use Twitter.  I did suggest they subscribe to my paper.li Daily!
  10. I had a thought – maybe I should have approached it from a “Flip” perspective.  I treated it fairly traditionally (which is what the paying audience expected), but maybe sending them content ahead of time and spending the actual webinar time could have been used in a case study.  I did use case studies, but the whole thing should have been more case study. 

Maybe next time…

Got any webinar suggestions for me for next time?