An educational webinar differs from an on-line meeting because it is usually limited to one-way transfer of audio (voice-over) from the instructor(s) to an audience of individuals or small groups viewing from computers or mobile devices in geographic locations anywhere in the world where access to the Internet is available.  Advance registration with email addresses will be required from the viewers.  Access to the program will be provided from a link which may connect directly to the webinar when opened or may also require an access code.  Some programs require a free software download.  Content can be presented from a slide presentation, spreadsheets, documents or video, but interaction from the audience will be limited to questions or answers submitted from a computer keyboard.  Some applications provide two-way interaction with an Internet call or the use of a telephone that may incur long distance charges.

Monthly or annual plans are available on a sliding scale based on the number of participants from 100 to 1,000.

Educational Webinars Advantages

  • Convenient and easy
  • No long distance travel required
  • No specialty equipment required
  • Cost based on number of participants and sites
  • Can be set-up with little advance notice based on availability of on-line meeting room
  • Easy to set-up and host after initial orientation
  • On-site tech support may not be necessary
  • Pass-control to other presenters or learners possible
  • Invitations, full-service registration and reminders automatically generated
  • Pre-webinar practice sessions may be included in package deal
  • Expands the audience in real time to include those who would not attend if travel required
  • Webinars can be recorded for viewing on-demand for those unable to attend in real time

Educational Webinars Disadvantages

  • Internet speed must be adequate at all connecting points to avoid lag time or distortion
  • Audio usually limited to voice-over from the instructor but two-way voice interactivity possible
  • Participants may submit questions, comments or answers from a keypad
  • Long distance telephone charges may incur if two-way voice interactivity is enabled
  • Communication through body language of instructor(s) and participants is absent
  • An annual plan necessary to guarantee unlimited access to on-line meeting rooms
  • Not all web browsers will work the same
  • Materials may not display accurately on all computers
  • Not all applications will accommodate Mac computers or mobile devices

Educational Webinars, You will need to:

  • Make arrangements through an on-line service provider for high level results
  • Choose a standard set-up and make changes electronically as needed per session
  • Advise participants in advance of computer system and high-speed Internet requirements
  • Provide a link to a web-based application or a software download for all participants
  • Verify computer microphone available for audio input
  • Provide webcam if streaming video from originating location is to be included
  • Verify payment procedures if not included in package
  • Give advance notice to viewers of computer system and high-speed Internet requirements
  • Verify that detailed instructions and contact info for questions distributed in advance to all presenters
  • Develop your own detailed checklist using Planning Helper’s free sample as a guideline