The Internet has become a very powerful, influential and extremely useful technology that it seems to not use it, is to betray your own common sense. Trainers, of course, have more than just common sense and they know they have to make use of the advances of Internet technology to deliver better, more intuitive training sessions.
But what is it about the Internet, the use of webinars in particular, that makes trainers start foregoing their traditional training methods? Do webinars and other Internet-based training methods really provide richer learning experiences? The following points explain how webinars used for training make perfect sense.
Breaking the Distance Barrier
Obviously, through online communication, the location or distance barrier effectively disappears. Trainers can now provide trainings across distances, even overseas, without having to travel. Everyone can communicate online not just using audio but also with image or video. Delivering rich learning experiences does not really necessitate personal presence. While there’s a plus in a teacher-trainee relationship wherein both are in the same room, discoursing while seeing each others’ full body gestures, webinars are in no way inferior with all its advantages taken into account.
Additionally, since trainers no longer need to travel to the location of their trainees, they can have more time preparing and polishing learning material necessary for the web-based training. The amount typically allocated for transportation and the preparation of traditional training materials could be better spent in doing further research and improving the training modules.
Encouraging Participation Even Among “Shy” Participants
Aside from breaking the distance barrier, webinars are also notable for their ability to somehow get rid of the “shyness factor” among participants. Since participants don’t really have that personal encounter with the speaker and other participants, they tend to have more courage to interact. Most participants in a webinar or in web-based communication in general don’t really expect very prompt responses from the persons they are communicating with so there’s that allowable little time to compose oneself, to think of the right words to say or write when responding or when raising a point. Webinars are generally characterized by casual or more relaxed conversations that likely encourage even those who hesitate to speak to consider contributing something to the discussion.
More Comfortable and Convenient Setup for both Trainer and Trainee
Rich learning experiences are hardly achievable when the circumstances are not favorable. For example, a company may find it difficult getting an appropriate resource speaker due to schedule constraints and difficulties in bringing the speaker to the venue. Similarly, trainees may also have a hard time juggling schedules or going to a specific location, making it difficult for them to properly prepare for the training. Trainings through webinars address these concerns and allow trainers and trainees to “meet” more conveniently and participate in the training wherever they can be comfortable.
Of course, webinar-based trainings can be flexible or versatile. They can be used like a hybrid setup wherein a number of participants can gather in the same place to listen to a speaker located in a remote location. Webinars can be a one-to-many affair and still provide significant enhancements to the training process.
Interactive Web-Based Learning Aids
In addition to the ability to conveniently conduct trainings by being able to communicate through the Internet, there are also many features in webinar software that greatly enhance the training experience. Webinar providers have integrated compatibility with a number of web services and applications including Microsoft Office, Google Calendar, and iWork to enhance the learning experience. They can also feature presentation sub-applications that make it easier to stream presentations to everyone without the need for additional programs and with the details of the presentations logged or even fully recorded in the webinar software for easier organization.
Most webinar software also support full or partial desktop sharing, the logging of statistics, as well as tests and surveys that can be conducted during or immediately after the session to engage participants or to obtain insights to improve future trainings. Additionally, webinar software can have integrated web tools to make it easy to conduct useful research, record notes, and compile files or notes related to the training.
Ability to Record and Review Sessions
Since webinars are undertaken using computers, training sessions conducted using webinars come with the very convenient attribute of being easy to record and review later on. Hence, participants who may have missed certain points can easily go back to those parts they failed to grasp properly. Additionally a webinar training session can be recorded in its entirety and presented to other participants as reference. They may not be able to participate in the discussions but they should be able to learn a great deal of information from the recorded trainings.
Webinars definitely provide a host of benefits when used for training purposes. Aside from the cost advantage and scheduling convenience, they also offer difficult-to-quantify features and opportunities that are not present in a typical traditional training session like the ability to encourage participation among those who are usually not as interactive during trainings conducted in a traditional manner. It’s just important to find the right webinar software to use, to look for a webinar or web conferencing software that is easy to use and has enough of the sensible and reliable features that truly improve the learning process during training.