No Lecture Webinars

Asleep at the computerThese are my live blogged notes from the webinar How to Create No Lecture Webinars by Ray Jimenez, presented through Training Magazine Network. Awkward phrasing, grammar errors, and typos are mine errors, not Ray’s. My side comments in italics.

Key Idea

Rather than just saying something and telling learners the answers, ask questions that lead learners to figure out the answers themselves.


350 participants right now–a big group for an interactive webinar.

Started with a couple of polls with the moderator

Showed people how to change the layout to show more of the chat. This reduces the size of the slides. If you’re going to do this and plan for more chat space, make sure the slides are still readable at a smaller size.

Asked a leading question (which would you rather be–frustrated webinar leader or interactive webinar leader). Only two choices so could answer with a single letter in chat

Sent a survey in advance, including a question asking for ideas on how to stop lecturing in webinars. Followed up on that by sharing the results of the survey and asking us to share one good idea someone contributed.

Lots of photos–not just happy people, sleeping and frustrated people too. Trying to get emotional reaction and not just using the usual happy stock photos

The lecture in webinars is Medusa

“A lecture is an answer looking for a question. A question is an answer.”

With this many people, the chat is too fast even for me to follow. Glad to have Ray calling out some specific ideas as they float by

Directions on the slide said to type answers in chat, but actually wanted to use the poll feature–mismatch in how people were directed to respond

Up to 440 participants now…

What we see depends on our experience. At our age, we all see a naked couple, but young children see dolphins. Sorry, this probably makes no sense without the image–it’s an optical illusion like the duck/rabbit

Unless you connect with the audience’s context, there is no connection, no learning

Most of the time we don’t bother to figure out the questions to help the learners figure out the answer. Ask the question that leads to the answer.

Socratic method of webinars

Example: the answer you want is “It’s best to listen to employees to make them feel important.” Ask a question like “How do you make employees feel important?”

Questions to

  • Relate
  • Interpret
  • Apply

Ask questions that make it personal–relate to their own experience

Questions help learners own the answers

Stories can serve as questions. They provide context, help relate it, get emotional involvement–but I’m not sure every story is a question on its own. I agree that they work as a similar tool to how Ray’s using questions, but I don’t think stories = questions

Used an example of a Trump quote vs. a third-person description of Trump firing someone. First person gets the emotion. Show, don’t just describe.

Ray was having connection issues. Good example of the importance of a producer/moderator. Gary was able to advance slides and read chat responses to Ray so we could continue without interruption

Valerie Wilson: make it so fast you can’t multitask

Chat, polling, breakouts all good tools, but the technology can’t do it on its own. If we don’t have good questions, the tools won’t provide context.

Question: How do we apply this to technical training?

Answers: a mix of technical content, lecture, interactive learning; have people practice outside of webinar; ask people to do troubleshooting

Ideas from the survey about a new name for webinars. I liked learnapolusa, not that we could ever use it🙂

With this many people and the chat going by so fast, it’s too easy for questions to get missed. Several people complained that they asked questions that weren’t answered. This method seems best for leading people only to the answers the leader wants people to get to–no time was left for questions from the learners. Somehow there has to be a balance. With this many people, questions probably need to be answered afterwards. Is the forum the way to handle that, with asynchronous responses? Make people raise their hands? The balance is hard with this big of a group.

Image credit: Spleeping at work by Teriyaki Matz

3 thoughts on “No Lecture Webinars

  1. I train using Webex, the training platform they offer has a Q&A section which is better for questions then chat because you can link answers to question and quickly see what questions have not been answered. it also has a “canned response” feature so if a question is asked repeatedly you can quickly select “already been answered” and move on.

    • I’ve seen the Q&A feature used with bigger groups, although I haven’t used it myself. I can definitely see how that would have been better in this situation, although I still think he didn’t have enough time to answer all the questions live. At least with a Q&A panel he could have collected all the questions, answered a few live, and followed up via discussion forum for the rest.

  2. Pingback: My History of Live Blogged Notes | Experiencing E-Learning

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