We offer webinars. Let me get that out front.
Why in the world am I blogging about the dangers of webinars?
After all, there are a lot of advantages: convenient access to courses from any computer, no driving through traffic, less time out of the office, and potentially a compact serving of knowledge goodness express delivered to your cranium in a friendly and palatable manner. And our webinars are priced even lower than our in-person trainings.
So what's the problem with that?
Let me tell you a story. I've been a technology instructor for over 20 years. I have been in hundreds and hundreds of companies, and taught many thousands of people. I've been in the trenches, and have the war stories to prove it. I know training very well, and I love it.
Despite all these creds, I had never really participated in webinars until about a year ago. I needed to learn how to edit video software, so I bought many hours worth of webinars on the subject.
The training was good. REALLY good! I was ecstatic! This was going to make my upcoming project so much easier!
Or so I thought.
Three or four weeks after the webinar, I sat down to begin my video editing project.
My mind was a total blank. Nothin'. Zip. Zippo. As if erased.
I couldn't believe it! I had REALLY understood the webinar, and felt so confident after taking it. And I had dropped literally days and days into these trainings - dozens of hours.
What went wrong?
Despite all the wonderful training experience, the convenience, the cost, the failure was mostly due to the webinar format.
Whenever we passively watch something, we do not learn very well. Learning theory suggests that we only truly learn things that A) we have a desire to master, and B) that we actively engage in.
My disaster stemmed from the fact that I merely watched the training. Kind of like watching an Olympic runner doesn't make you fit, or you can't learn to play violin by watching (unless you're a savant - these people can).
Therefore I suggest when you consider taking a webinar, ask if the instructor will provide opportunities for you to engage in the training during the session.
What I typically do in my webinars is demonstrate a subject, and then provide a few minutes for students to try it on their own computers while I'm available for questions and guidance. This of course only works if the student has the software installed, so keep that in mind.
Giving people a few minutes after each learning segment to try out the material makes all the difference. The difference between learning nothing, and wasting your hours and dollars, or coming away with actual skills.
Make sure you take webinars that impart actual skills to you.
I hope this has been informative and useful, and as always, let's keep bettering ourselves "bit by bit."