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How does a webinar work?

2 November 2020

Woman sat at laptop during webinar

Recent months have seen a lot of changes in the workplace and in education, and one of the biggest of these changes has been the rise in popularity of webinars.

We’ve embraced the change here at Simply Academy, and now all of our courses can be delivered via webinar. This includes CeMAP, CeRER, DipFA and our Adviser Skills programme.

If you’re new to webinar training, you may be wondering how to participate in a webinar and you may even be feeling a little nervous. We’re here to put your mind at ease with some basic information and a few tips on attending a webinar for beginners.

What is a webinar?

The term ‘webinar’ is an amalgamation of the words ‘web’ and ‘seminar’ so as you might expect, it’s a seminar which is delivered across the internet.

It may be delivered live or as a recording, using software such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom or another webinar platform.

What are the benefits of a webinar?

The main benefit of webinar training is that you don’t need to be in the same location as the person delivering the training. And in the current climate, this means that your education doesn’t have to be put on hold.

But there are other benefits as well. For instance, if your webinar is being delivered live, you can ask questions during the presentation and can interact with the course leader as well as your fellow attendees. And recorded webinars allow you to go back over any parts that you may have missed or if you need to reinforce your understanding.

Simply Academy webinars are all delivered live using Zoom and you will have access to a recording of the session as well. This also gives you a great revision resource when you are preparing for your final exams.

What happens in a webinar?

Shortly before your webinar starts, you will receive a link that allows you to sign into the session. You may need to download software to your computer before your session, so do make sure to set this up in good time.

During the webinar, the training will go ahead much as if you were in the room with your trainer. Your host may use slides and video to deliver the training, and you will be able to interact either through your microphone or using the chat function.

Then if your webinar has been recorded, you will be sent a link after the session that allows you to access the recording.

How long should a webinar last?

The quick answer to this is that it should last long enough to deliver all the information required. And that will vary depending on whether the session is a brief overview of a topic or a deep dive into the subject.

Simply Academy webinars last 2.5 hours, which gives you enough time to really get to grips with the topic being studied and ask your trainer any questions you may have.

Can the instructor see you in a webinar?

A common fear for first time webinar attendees is ‘can you be seen in a webinar?’. If you’re not used to being on camera, you may be feeling a bit nervous about the prospect of being on screen.

The answer is that it really depends on how your host is running the webinar. But most webinar software platforms will allow you to turn your camera off if you prefer not to be seen.

Tips for your first webinar

Are you ready for your first webinar? These tips will help you to get the most out of your webinar training session:

Sign in early

Make sure that you have downloaded any software that you need, and sign in to your webinar session five or ten minutes early. This will give you a chance to make sure that everything is running smoothly and access any course documents that are available.

Prepare a clutter-free background

If you will be keeping your camera on for the webinar, try to sit in a spot without too much clutter behind you. And make sure that the light is coming from in front of you to avoid appearing as a silhouette on screen.

Remember the mute button

If your webinar allows audio participation, remember to put yourself on mute when you aren’t speaking. This stops any background noise from distracting your host and other participants. But don’t forget to take yourself off mute when you want to talk.

Be an active participant

As with in-person training, you will get more out of webinar training if you are an active participant in the session. So do ask questions, take part in polls and join in with the discussion. And if you don’t feel confident about raising your questions, you can always use the chat function to ask your trainer discreetly.

Now you’re ready for your first webinar session, and we’re sure that you’ll soon be feeling comfortable with this form of training.

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