Blog #5: Putting to Practice!

Well…after some deliberation, review of all my classmates blogs and in consideration of the past two weeks reading…I thought this was the perfect time to explore my own experiences with online facilitation over the past week!  I have the privilege of designing and facilitating 10 mandatory sixty minute webinars for over 700 staff and what was the content you might ask?  Something we have all experienced – the annual Occupational Health & Safety review!  Human resources was of course the subject matter expert and delivered most of the content themselves with my support however the experience was timely in light of everything we’ve been discussing and reading as of late.

Let’s start with the planning required for these webinars.  Not only did extensive scoping of the content and building of the presentation take place but the administration setup was equally extensive.  To build the webinars, polling questions, survey and market the education occurred over 4 weeks with goals of ensuring the session would be learner centred, relevant and meaningful.  Also included was practice time with HR to not only review the content but practice navigating the technology as ‘presenting’ not only includes the virtual presence but also knowledge about how to switch screens and control muting.  Added onto this was a request for me to mentor a staff on my role as organizer, which of course I was happy to do.

But the best part for me came in trialling a webcam for first time!  Only a few staff in the organization currently have this capability and although I had to ask IT to purchase me a portable set, it works perfect.  A little daunting to project yourself into the screen however I was really pushing to try and create some sense of social presence in a short session and already evaluation is revealing that staff wish they could see all the presenters, which is a great first step… identification and validation that it is helpful to receive those visual cues which display emotion and tone of voice.  Each session provides immediate assessment in the form of a survey and it is used to guide/revise ongoing sessions.  Upon completion of all the webinars later this week, I will provide a full analysis of the data to HR who will use it to document baseline knowledge and align against organizational goals.

One interesting note to share is that a staff contacted me this week and indicated she had watched the webinar from her ipad; this was extremely exciting as staff do not have ipads however this individual herself decided to engage with her own technological devices; to expand her own knowledge of learning with innovation.  Although we were able to identify webinarsome challenges with the ‘app’ she used, I am planning now to further test this myself as I believe this presents opportunities in the future to expand the delivery of our organizational learning.

What a timely experience for me to ‘put to practice’ our recent learning’s and I am looking forward to the next opportunities for online learning in my organization where hopefully I can promote more effectiveness and engagement of learners through innovative and interactive strategies.


10 thoughts on “Blog #5: Putting to Practice!

  1. Wow, Kathy – that’s so exciting, and congrats on a successfully completed project. I agree, it’s very satisfying when you can use the current course material and apply it directly.

    Tell me, we’re the ten webinar one presentation repeated 10 times but to different audiences, or a series of ten, that everyone had to attend?

    And having the one staff member use her iPad … Yeah! BYOD I supposed to the the rising thing, esp in PSE. And yet I haven’t tried it myself yet in that context. Although as you can probably tell from the typos I’m on my beloved IPad as we speak 🙂


    • Hi Sam,

      Thanks so much! Yes, it was the same 60 min webinar presented 10 times…audiences were varied as this was an organizational session. The majority of staff self schedule themselves (which they love!) except for those who work shifts…their schedulers assign them. My organization is VERY blackberry driven although funny enough the CEO only uses apple products! A few others use apple and I was lucky enough to be one of those as there seem to be many issues with the blackberries. I am hopeful that we can soon look at tablets however am totally jazzed there are a few staff out there willing to take a risk on their own and try something new! Wehoo is right! Kathy

      • I hear you about the Blackberry glitches. Funny story … a couple of years ago a friend of mine was at a U2 concert that was sponsored by Blackberry for its employees and employees of major companies in the area who used blackberries. As part of the concert, Bono tweeted or some such thing and everyone in the audience went to their Blackberries at the same moment to retrieve the message, and crashed the Blackberry systems for miles around!

  2. Hi Kathy,

    Congratulations for successfully taking on the challenge of designing and delivering webinars! It sounds like using a webcam boosted the sense of presence and provided a welcome alternative to staring at potentially text-heavy powerpoint slides. I am curious what format would you say is ideal for keeping the attention of the audience for 60-minute annual Occupational Health & Safety review webinars? It sounds like you had more than one speaker. Would you say an interview? Panel discussion?

    Also, given that today’s employees are becoming increasingly mobile, spending more time traveling, attending conferences, etc., it makes perfect sense to adopt BYOD so that employees can have seamless access to the webinars from their own devices. This increases the likelihood that they will attend the sessions, even while traveling or working from home (Citrix 2013).

    Citrix (2013). The Power User’s Guide to Successful Webinars. Retrieved from

  3. Hi Lida, funny enough that is exactly the software we use! Gotowebinar through Citrix; have to say that I really enjoy using it and it is now used by our provincial body so is gaining momentum. Have read the paper also that you cited and it is extremely helpful.

    For our sessions, yes we had two speakers who alternated between different sections of the content. I think the different voices helped bring energy to content that otherwise can be seen as important but dry to learn. The other engagement strategy we used is to try and embed polling questions about every 4-6 minutes; normally we use as more of a knowledge check post content but decided this time to mix it up and used them as pre-test questions prior to different sections of content. Think worked well and the answers are sometimes surprising!

    Certainly the whole process is ongoing learning however it is something I really enjoy so am always eager to roll up my sleeves and try something new.

      • Hi Laura, polls worked great! Actually had some feedback that staff preferred the pre test questions because it was a form of self-assessment for them. Will for sure try that in design again! Of interest, I attended a full day course in Toronto today on how to effectively write multiple choice questions…was an eye opener and wonderful course! I know that this new knowledge can only help those types of assessments in online learning whether webinars, elearning or other. Kathy

  4. Kathy,

    Sounds like pretty exciting stuff. Also sounds like you are probably good to go on the course outline project because of this work activity 🙂

    You mentioned in your blog that initial feedback from the webinar was positive especially when the learners were able to see the speaker on webcam. I just finished reading the Fuller (2010) article, so I have to ask, what tool did you use for this summative evaluation? Was it an official survey? Or just people letting you know without you asking? I have taken part in webinars that request your feedback on the session as soon as you exit the webinar. Was this what you used?

    Also, what type of feedback were you looking for? “Level 1: measurement of participants’ reaction to training at the time of the training” (Fuller, 2010, p.122)? Or was it more “Level 2: measurement of participants’ learning of the content of their training” (Fuller, 2010, p.122)? For any kind of compliance training we have to provide a test with a passing score, is this a requirement for Health & Safety in your organization?

    Sorry for all the questions, just really interested in the evaluation piece of this webinar you did.


    • Hi Kerry,

      All great questions! Using gotowebinar software allows me to build in an automatic survey (exactly what you described) that is generated when the learner closes the session. I like this as a summative tool and also think it increases response rate as happens so quickly. I used this to evaluate the webcam however did also reach out randomly to some of the users that I knew would provide me honest feedback; one way or the other.

      We use the webinar analytics to help with level 1 & level 2 evaluation; combination of the survey and polling results. Although we don’t have any formal testing in place at this time except for WHMIS, more formalized processes are coming; using this content for establishing baselines. Formalized evaluation is still fairly new in my organization over past couple years but feel like we are headed down the right path; with everything so outcome based now in healthcare, the effort must be proven.

      Thanks for such great questions! Kathy

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