The incorporation of webinar training can present a number of new challenges to trainers who are not experienced in blended learning. Below are some suggestions to ensure your webinar-based training is effective and engaging.
The establishment of learning goals becomes even more important with webinars. Learners are less able to engage with teachers, who are in turn, unable to rely on non-verbal clues as to learners’ understanding. So, clearly established goals allow learners to know exactly what they are expected to take from a particular online training session.
Learners will have a deeper understanding of the material if they already know the basic terms and definitions before engaging with the training material. To do this, necessary background information could be introduced within your presentation, or a help document could be provided before they proceed through the instructional content.
Deeper learning is achieved when words are presented as audio narration rather than both audio narration and on-screen text. By including text on a slide that already has audio narration, learners are forced to process two things at once, causing a suppression in learning. Slides should contain relevant images which are then explained verbally, rather than relying on text.
Learners do not necessarily learn better when a trainer’s image is on the screen, ie. ‘talking head’ videos, which are a dominant part of many webinars. In fact, these can actually depress the learning process. Similar to redundancy, asking learners to process two things at once can have a detrimental effect, so presenting information on screen with the image of a trainer can split attention. Instead, use relevant animations and visuals that reinforce the voice over.
Personal communication and learner direction are often missing within a webinar environment. Signaling refers to the idea that learners’ attention needs to be directed. This can be done with call outs, text effects, or by pointing to the appropriate location on the screen. Simple slides, devoid of distracting information also increase focus.