Why webinars are not the most effective e-learning content

When talking about e-learning, the first thing that comes into people’s mind is webinars and video-lessons you can watch online. Well, the good news is that digital learning is in fact much more than that, but of course you need proper structures and content creation skills to exploit its potential. In this article we will try to show the limits of webinars and explore possible solutions to make e-learning content truly effective

 

WHAT A WEBINAR IS: DEFINITION AND ADVANTAGES 

According to a common definition, a webinar is an interactive seminar held on the Internet by one or more teachers and a number of attendees simultaneously connected from different places. As we said in a previous article, this is the easiest and most popular way to replicate the traditional bricks-and-mortar class environment in the digital world. On one side, it allows one teacher to talk to many students even if they are not in the same location. On the other hand, it allows students to interact, mostly through a dedicated chat, by asking questions and receiving an answer right away

Apart from the lack of physical constraints, another great advantage of webinars is the opportunity to record them, including the Question & Answer part, and upload them on digital platforms. Thanks to this, seminars can be available for re-watching over time, although without any interaction chance. 

 

WATCHING VIDEOS ONLINE: A MATTER OF ATTENTION SPAN

With or without Q&A, a webinar commonly lasts from 30 minutes to one hour and a half. Do you remember the attention span study on digital natives? Acknowledged that digital natives (and digital immigrants too) have a very short attention span and need continuous gratifications in order to stay focused and actually learn, how could a video so long be truly effective? The clichéd response is that it is not

It can’t be denied that interacting with the teacher can help a lot to get engaged and keep attention levels high, therefore a webinar is still way better than a traditional video-lesson. Unfortunately, it’s also true that most part of the webinar is dedicated to a preliminary explanation in which the student is just a passive participant: this is indeed very similar to traditional face-to-face lessons, with the downside of being alone in front of a screen instead of sitting in a classroom along with fellow students.  

 

THE UNEXPLORED POTENTIAL OF E-LEARNING CONTENT

Webinars became very popular because of their similarity to what trainers and students are used to. Of course this can be helpful to introduce digital training in new environments, but can also be a limiting factor in the exploitation of e-learning content potential. 

The greatest benefits of e-learning comes in fact from creating content that are, contrary to webinars, meant for this specific channel and designed and put into effect using all those training strategies that proved to be very effective when learning digitally. We will explore them more in depth in forthcoming articles, but in general they help to ensure high levels of engagement and a longer attention span, achieving much better results than trying to translate traditional methods into a digital medium. 

 

Of course, creating native e-learning content requires a number of specific skills and led to the blossoming of new professions, midway between digital and training experts. Do you want to know more about those? Read the following articles! 

 

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