However, boring lectures kill webinars. Most webinars are extensions of talking heads clicking their PowerPoints to death. No wonder many learners multi-task and drop out.
Ray's aim was to cover methods to make webinars really engaging for their participants. The session page promised to cover a whole bunch of things including but not limited to:
- How to avoid the trainer "diarrhea of the mouth disease"
- How to prepare your lessons to focus on learner actions
- What types of pre-webinar and post-webinar activities must take place
- Designing your lessons without lecturing but instead letting learners discover
- How to ask questions that help learners discover answers
- Which exercises deliver learning experiences instead of lectures
With over 300 participants this has started to be as interactive as a webinar can get. Ray promised not to make us hear him preach. Most people want to be interactive webinar leaders because that helps them connect with their audience better. Hence the topic of no-lecture webinars makes sense, huh!
Is it really possible though? The funny part is that the folks came up with hundreds of ideas to make this happen within the space of a few minutes! Here are the initial survey results.
With all that intelligence set aside, webinars still create:
- Interactive Dreaming
- Interactive Multi-tasking
- Interactive Drooling
- Interactive Puking (huh?)
Introducing MedusaThe lecture in webinars is 'Medusa'. It's like an answer looking for a question, says Ray. Well that's intriguing to me -- it seems like people don't know how to ask questions. And a lot of people don't want to ask questions as webinar leaders. We create answers but we don't seem to investigate the state of pain that the answer addresses. We don't think of the audience's objectives for our presentation when we frame our spiel.
Unless you connect with the person's context, there's no connection and as a consequence there's little learning. So questions are at the key of interactivity -- if we think through the questions that drive to our answers we sow the first seeds of interactivity.
What's effective interactivity?The good medusa - questions help your audience relate to, interpret and apply your answers. So instead of just saying what we want to say - how about thinking through the real life context of your learners? How about placing them in a real life context and give them a scenario to deal with? Or how about you have them discover the answers by just leading them using your directed questions. Ray used a really nice example of a Times Square bomb situation to illustrate the value of questions to lead people to the eventual knowledge you want to share. Good tips, but I'm still waiting for what I don't know yet. Ray's now showing us a similar example from an Ethics and Leadership scenario.
Why Stories/Scenarios though?I'm a big fan of this approach, because it's real life, it tugs at people's emotions, and it's contextualised to people's situation. There's a good reason that Donald Trump's 'You're fired!' statement is so popular. It generates interest, it's real, its exciting.
Fortunately, there's heaps of tools -- polls, chat, whiteboards, breakout rooms etc. But what's the objective? In my opinion -- the objective is to get people to change their performance in the workplace. So all of the tools are fine -- but if the exercises don't link the context to the content, they don't make any sense at all. What makes sense is when these tools create the context similar to the work context of your learners.
How do deal with the lecture in Medusa?Focus on questions to relate, apply and interpret the answers that you're providing in your webinar. So Ray's point was generally around a few key ideas:
- Study the context of your audience.
- Think of why what you'll say will even matter to your audience.
- How can you create your webinars such that they ask questions of your audience?
- How can you structure these questions so they mirror your audience's work context?
- How can you sequence these questions so they automatically lead your audience to the answers you're providing?
Good stuff -- I thought it was kinda elementary, but for one hour of my time to hear ideas from 350 people, it was more than worth my time. I strongly recommend the TrainingMag Network webinars to anyone in the L&D profession. Thanks Gary and thanks Ray!