The creation and development of the Internet has allowed new ways of working to develop: among them, remote working has established itself and become widespread. Containment linked to the Covid-19 epidemic has accelerated the implementation of remote work. Everyone is impacted: students, private or public executives, teachers, employees in the tertiary sector … Since March 2020, nearly 20% of French people have been working full-time from home, compared to around 3 to 5% previously.
What impacts does this paradigm shift have ? How does this change affect people’s habits? More specifically, what is the impact of webinars and online learning and how to deal with them in a good way?
How did webinars and online learning become our daily life?
This new way of working, remotely and using the Internet, is setting up new modes of consumption. E-commerce, for example, has experienced an extraordinary boom. Some leading companies in the sector such as Amazon, Ebay or Alibaba have broken all records in terms of turnover. Online meeting platforms like Microsoft Teams or Zoom have grown exponentially and now have several million daily users. Previously perceived as a “gadget” by some, they have now become essential, sometimes even the daily life of many, thus replacing the office or the meeting room.
Since the March 2020 lockdown, even so-called “traditional” social networks or services have been developing means to keep in touch and retain their audience: Linkedin, for example, has developed a series of conferences and webinars (always linked to the professional universe) and thus offers qualitative content for network users, which can be viewed at will, like a VOD service like Netflix.
The pioneers of the webinar, if we can call them that, are also demonstrating innovation (Instagram with the Reels for example). New networks have also seen their user base grow very quickly (like TikTok). Already very fond of online content available at any time before the Covid, young people (11-25 years old) constitute a gigantic breeding ground for these companies. The generations over 40 have seen digital intrusion into their lives, first gradually for almost 20 years, then much more intensely for almost a year with the generalization of teleworking.
It goes without saying that this change of habits requires a certain learning effort on the part of those who were not trained.
While remote working is mainly the adage of “remote workers” working most often for start-ups or freelance, most often nomadic and working from any country, it is nowadays deeply in the mores.
A recent survey shows that today, teleworking and online meetings seem to be appreciated by a large number of people, so much so that nearly 75% of French employees want to continue remote working. And this can be understood: working from home, in the comfort of your own home has significant advantages: no time wasted in transport, savings on mobility and food, more sleep time, less distraction and more. time for oneself.
However, business leaders and managers wanted to keep control over employees and members of their team: sometimes unprepared, it was necessary to improvise, often at the beginning. Caught off guard, managers had to find solutions to be able to stay in touch with their teams, above all to be reassured. The issue of trust is now at the heart of the manager – managed relationship. Traditional meetings, a moment of full team cohesion in many companies, must always take place, whether or not they are confined. And for this, several solutions are proposed:
What are the best practices to organize a webinar ?
Step 1 : Decide a topic
To be efficient and really useful, you will need to define a specific area for your webinar.
Whether you’re addressing your work team, colleagues, supervisor, students, or even clients, a successful webinar needs to be interest-driven in order to captivate the audience.
If you are looking for inspiration, you can for example use tools like Answer the Public which will provide you with ideas for topics with questions frequently asked by Internet users.
Finally, keep in mind that people’s attention is often limited, so dragging out a webinar and bringing up too many different topics are things to avoid if you want to have a real impact on your audience.
Step 2 : Which webinar format ?
Have you ever thought about who will attend your webinar or your online learning session ? Several parameters must be taken into account for a successful webinar. A large number of participants will allow you to spread your message more widely, but will reduce the number and quality of interactions between you and the audience. It will of course also depend on your oral fluency, in front of an audience, and your preferences. The speech is not the same in front of 2 people or in front of 200 people.
Another important point is the number of speakers: will you be alone to speak or several to animate? What speaking time for each? Remember to clearly delimit the topics and allocate the right speaking time to each. Several speakers will allow you to energize the presentation, but too many speakers will confuse and risk blurring the message.
One last point: moderation. In particular if you have at least several dozen spectators: almost all video conferencing solutions have a discussion space, also called chat. No one is safe from malicious or malicious people aiming to pollute your presentation: hiring a moderator will allow you to avoid any incident and to concentrate only on your speech and your presentation.
Step 3 : How to choose a webinar platform ?
As you may have seen, there are several webinar platforms on the market.
Some are free, others pay or have a hybrid model called “freemium” … it can sometimes be difficult to find your way in this jungle.
To help you make up your mind, here are some of the main factors to consider before choosing a platform:
- The number of participants that the platform can accommodate
- Ergonomics and ease of use
- Features (screen sharing, chat, file sharing, recording and replay, poll, questionnaires …
- The cost and the business model (depending on your use, whether it is occasional or regular in particular)
Several large companies offer their solutions: Google with Hangouts, Zoom, Skype, Microsoft with Teams, Cisco with Webex, Facebook or Youtube … you can also go to the side of the “challengers”, less used but not devoid of qualities such as MegaMeeting, ReadyTalk, Anymeeting or OnStream for example.
How teachers can use webinars to improve interactions with their class ?
As we mentioned previously with the example of Linkedin, the webinar is an ideal format that lends itself perfectly to training and learning. Already before the Covid, many schools and training organizations had adopted distance learning: reduced costs due to the absence of structure, absence of geographical and sometimes even temporal constraints …
Even if distance courses and training are not yet accessible to everyone (as this requires a fast internet connection in particular), online courses have many advantages, for students and teachers:
- Better concentration
- Less fatigue and expenses related to the absence of transport
- Better learning quality thanks to visual aids and screen sharing functionality (among others)
- More free time for other activities or to work
- Greater freedom of learning and empowerment of students
In addition to these concrete advantages, it is easily imaginable that more and more jobs will be 100% or at least partially in remote working. By getting students used to working at a distance (at least partially) from the start, we give them a competitive advantage by teaching them autonomy, a sense of organization and rigor.
At all levels and at all ages, webinar and technology in general can be beneficial if used well. For this, it is important that training organizations (schools, universities) devote time and resources to the training of teachers, who are not yet all comfortable with the computer tool. If the technology is mastered and not suffered, it becomes an extraordinary opportunity in many aspects.
Webinars are a fantastic tool if used correctly. This new way of communicating and working is now part of the daily life of a large number of people. For this technology to remain a desirable advantage and not a burden, it is important to know and master good practices, whatever the target or the context.
If you want to know more on how to create a webinar and get a detailed overview of the different platforms and services, feel free to read out this guide our to reach our blog for more articles.
Author : François Meynier (Linkedin)