I’ll admit it: When it comes to teaching, classroom programs are my favorite. Classroom education is more personal and more responsive — it allows the instructor’s personality and knowledge to interact with students’ specific needs. By gauging an assessing the impact of a lesson, the instructor is able to connect with students and guide them toward meaningful and successful results.
But amidst widespread cost-cutting, most organizations have shuttered their classroom learning programs in favor of more inexpensive technology learning. But while it may be more efficient, it’s not necessarily more effective.
So how can we tap into the best of both worlds — the efficiency of technology and the dynamism of the classroom? Consider these two simple tweaks to your online webinars:
Make them more personal
People sitting in on a webinar usually don’t know the presenter or instructor; he or she is just a voice behind the curtain. Because we are social beings, learning requires connection- and relationship-building. To make your webinars more personal, include a photo of the instructor on the screen as the program is introduced and as any housekeeping information is given. Then have a smaller image at the top of the screen as the program continues.
We relate better to people we know or think we know. In the introductory bio, share not only the technical or talent expertise of the instructor but some of his or her personality — talents, values, and interests — so the learner can start to relate to the instructor as both instructor and person.
Make it more responsive
Webinars are frequently a one-size-fits-all event — the content is defined and the instructor moves through the materials without any review of its effectiveness or learning impact — what has been prepared gets delivered. To improve the responsiveness of your webinars, solicit questions from learners at various points throughout the program — at the beginning, and after core topics are presented. Step out of your materials to respond to a couple of the questions.
Customize your approach based on the direction, needs, and questions of the learners. As we used to say at the training center I ran for a large international distributor, “Our prepared materials start us on the way; the road we actually take comes from the signals we get from the learners.”
Technology has allowed us to deliver more material for less cost. But efficiency is not effectiveness. The goal of the education is to learn in order to change behaviors. Results always matter. Though many have moved away from classroom teaching for financial reasons, we should try to implement some of how it was effective as we develop our technology tools.
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Jay Forte is a nationally ranked thought leader and President of Humanetrics. Jay guides organizations — their leaders and managers — in how to attract, hire and retain today’s best talent. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition and The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform The World. Jay is a member of SHRM, ASTD, the National Speakers Association and the Florida Speakers Association. Follow him on Twitter.