The learning scenario is changing rapidly and training or educational institutions must alter their modes of imparting knowledge in order to remain relevant. Given their completely digitized living, today’s learners desire technology-enabled learning to be accessed at their convenience. In this environment of fast-paced consumption—even of learning—webinars play a powerful role. They are convenient, their live streaming offers scope for real-time interaction, and learners get the opportunity to gather in-depth information in a short, capsule format. No wonder then, educational institutions are increasingly using webinar solutions to deliver value to their student community.
The evolving learning scenario
Before diving into the benefits of webinars in education, here’s a quick look at how the learning community itself is changing, thereby necessitating innovation in imparting information.
Educational institutions host a diverse range of learners and the percentage of working professionals in this community is increasing. Learners today are a busy lot, balancing learning with employment, personal commitments, and so on. The learning ecosystem must adapt accordingly. It has to be flexible and convenient and the learning resources should be accessible anytime, anywhere, on any device for the learners.
What are webinars
Webinars are a perfect solution for professional learning in the digital world. This “seminar on the web” makes effective use of live presentation and interactive media to offer an engaging and enriching learning experience—across locations and time-zones. Webinars take on different formats to suit different industries and learning requirements:
- A single presenter delivers information to the remote audience, often using slides or visuals as supporting material. This is typically followed by a Q&A session.
- Two people engage in an interview or conversation and cover the topic in depth. Again, visuals can support the conversation, and questions are picked up during or after the chat.
- Multiple people gather for an online discussion panel of sorts, with a facilitator. This has scope for various viewpoints to be presented in one go. Audience gets the opportunity to interact with various experts in one single event.
Webinars can be used to convey information about any topic. The use of AV and the live streaming service adds value to the presentation—creating meaningful experiences.
Why webinars are effective
Here are 5 top benefits that make webinars a favored delivery platform for educational institutions:
- Flexibility – for presenter and participants:
No matter where you are, you can conduct or attend a webinar. Once the date, time and topic are announced, interested audience participants—across the globe—can register and attend at the click of a link. All that’s required is they map their timezone to the webinar timing. There is typically no limit to the number of attendees, thus increasing the reach of the webinar. This also makes the participant mix more interesting and enhances the value of the webinar.
- Cost attractive
Virtual classrooms require a lot less investment in terms of infrastructure, travel, accommodation, study material, and other logistics. Most webinars are free of cost, and even if there is a registration fee, it’s nominal. Just the cost benefit itself opens up webinars for a cross-section of the audience that may not be able to afford regular education.
- Wide choice of courses available
Webinars are available on a wide variety of subjects, topics, and courses. They don’t require participants to relocate or worry about lengthy admission procedures or even too much of finance in order to pursue a dream course. This convenience and variety is very difficult to achieve in traditional classroom teaching.
- More meaningful interaction
The live streaming service allows for real-time interaction between attendees and presenter during a webinar, taking the experience a notch higher. The AV format brings the feel closer to that of a real-world classroom. Another advantage is that the virtual classroom setting of a webinar puts all student-participants on the same footing. It enables participants to keep their inhibitions aside and freely participate in a lively and energetic discussion. And finally, participants have various ways available to put forth their questions – either verbally or in text format during the webinar or on email later. They can choose what they are most comfortable with. The important takeaway is that everybody gets a means to have their doubts sorted or questions answered, thus increasing the value for each participant.
Regular classroom training can no longer suffice the needs of the digital learner. Webinars are the much-required flexible, cost-effective and efficient platform to share knowledge and learning. They offer a win-win solution for both educational institutions as well as students, thus achieving a delightful learning experience for all stakeholders.