The word ‘webinar’ is a blend of ‘web’ and ‘seminar’. A webinar is an event held on the internet which is attended exclusively by an online audience. This distinguishes it from a webcast, which also includes the presence of a physical audience. Other terms used as alternatives for webinar are web event, online seminar, webcast, web lecture and virtual event.
Participants follow webinars via a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone, and can see and hear the speaker(s) thanks to audio and video feeds. In addition to the video images, PowerPoint slides can be broadcast which run in sync with the rest of the presentation. You can also make use of the screen capture functionality which enables you to show your viewers an application or website.
A webinar is a form of one-to-many communication: a presenter can reach a large and specific group of online viewers from a single location. Providing it is used effectively, interaction during a webinar can be very powerful. In view of the large number of participants, smart tools are essential to channel that interaction. Hence, a webinar offers various interactive opportunities:
- Ask a question
- Call to action
Growth of the webinar market
‘Less is more’ – but that doesn’t hold true for webinars. Defying all the latest communication trends towards everything being shorter and quicker, the average viewing time for webinars is increasing year on year, and currently stands at an average of 56 minutes! The webinar market is showing strong annual growth too. There are several reasons for this, not least that webinars are very effective. They also generate significant cost savings. Plus webinars are personal, live and interactive. From a teaching and educational perspective, webinars are interesting because of the very high degree of interaction, helping participants to learn and understand more quickly.