How do you feel when you get invited to a webinar?
Excitement? Blah? Dread? Relief? Fear?
Readiness? I felt myself sit up straighter and immediately jotted down the word and let my mind roll it over a time or two. It struck me, we do a lot of readiness work in communities and yet how much time do we (as leaders, trainers, presenters, consultants, planners, providers, researchers etc) spend developing capacity (readiness) for online participation and engagement? How do we determine the extent to which a group is "ready" to learn and engage in a real time webinar event -- and what do we do to prepare them?
Is the Problem the Technology?
What about our Expectations?
Brain Rules fame, our brain isn't really multitasking -- it's simply switching from task to task to task very quickly. So we miss out on a lot when we try to multitask. Sadly, when we sign up for "webinars" we have this expectation (built on previous experiences) that we'll be talked at and not expected to actually do anything until the very end. sigh. How do we break this expectation? I think my friend and colleague nailed it -- we figure out the readiness level of our potential participants and create a webinar that taps into their comfort and then stretch just a little bit into greater levels of participation.
So, what questions will help us understand readiness in this context? Here's my first thoughts, do chime in with more (please).
- Experience/Reflection: How often have you participated in webinars in the past? What worked really well? What didn't work? Where did you feel challenged to participate?
- Tools: Which interactive tools do you feel most confident using? [list: chat, polling, whiteboard, annotations, emoticons, audio, video, web tour, application sharing].
- Conditions: Do you participate individually or as a group in a conference room?
- Comfort: How would you describe your level of comfort using interactive webinar tools?
- Structure: How well are you set up to participate in an interactive webinar (e.g., computer headset with a microphone, keyboard)?
What did I miss? What else enables participation or gets in the way of it? What questions help us understand how ready people are to participate and get the most from webinars and online events?