What makes online presentations engaging?

2 Nov

How many of you attended a webinar with a mesmerizing title only to find out that the webinar was a complete waste of time or plain boring? For the first time in months, I was finally riveted by Roy Pollock’s webinar on “Beyond ADDIE: Introduction to the 6Ds of breakthrough learning.” Although I had previously read the book, I was fully engaged during the webinar. This made me ask myself: “What makes online presentations/webinars engaging?.”

What made Roy’s webinar engaging?

1. One week before the webinar, Roy (or Forthill company) sent out a job aid that would accompany the webinar. It was not a copy of the slide deck, but a learner worksheet with fill in the blanks, and key questions to guide the note-taking. For a change, I was busy taking notes and reflecting on the questions presented in the worksheet, and not passively sitting at my desk or multi-tasking.

2. Before Roy talked about each of the 6Ds, he polled the audience to gauge their previous knowledge. The data collected from the poll then guided the discussion and clarified misconceptions. Although I was viewing the webinar archive, I thought this a great technique to use with even an asynchronous audience. A few simple questions asked at the right time enabled me to reflect on my previous knowledge.

3. Roy used a lot of visuals to communicate the metaphors that he was using and clarified why he chose those particular images. One image sticks with me until this very moment: a girl learning how to ride a bike, the message being you can’t teach someone how to ride a bike by showing them a PowerPoint presentation (so true!).

4. Roy was very enthusiastic about his subject and conveyed that in his tone. His enthusiasm “rubbed off” on his listeners. I can’t remember the amount of times where online presenters almost lulled me into sleep. When you can’t see someone face, you really have to hear the person to connect with them.

5. Last but not least, Roy made his presentation very relevant to his audience drawing on concrete examples from the training and development field and added value to the listeners’ time. Unlike some presenters out there, he did not express himself in generalities and platitudes, which tend to make the listeners switch off and wonder why they tuned in to the webinar to begin with.

These are the 5 points that made Roy’s online presentation engaging.

Can you think of a presentation or webinar that was particularly engaging? Can you think of the reasons?

Interested in the webinar? : http://forthill.mobilerider.com/embed/918/53420/


The value of the talking head

18 Oct

Lana Talking headSo much has been said about the talking head and many studies have shown that the talking head has no instructional value. Suzanne and I often discuss this. For a while, I subscribed to this argument, but now I am slowly realizing that the talking head is not just a talking head, it’s a human being that helps us establish rapport with the content. Continue reading

Out with lecturing, in with problem-solving

8 Sep

First of all, I’d like to thank Ted Major for posting the link on Diigo for Don’t Lecture Me, American Radio Works.

“Physics education researchers, among whom Redish is now a leader, determined that the traditional lecture-based physics course where students sit and passively absorb information is not an effective way for students to learn. A lot of students can repeat the laws of physics and even solve complex problems, but many are doing it through rote memorization. Most students who complete a standard physics class never understand what the laws of physics mean, or how to apply them to real-world situations.”

Although this excerpt from this article is about less lecturing and more problem solving, it got me thinking about why online classes are sometimes considered to be more effective than face-to-face classes. In the online environment the instructor is not seen as the “sage on the stage” (sorry about the cliche), but rather a stirrer of the mind, encouraging students to think critically, exposing them to contextualized and complex problems. To think that so many courses nowadays are still based on lectures and “information dumps” as Suzanne Aurillio calls them is disheartening. Only yesterday a friend of mine was complaining about how ADD she was when her professor was lecturing: “I couldn’t concentrate for longer than 15 mn, so I started frantically shaking my leg. Usually I would be on facebook but the wireless was down and the class was 2 hours long…” In reality, my friend has not really been diagnosed with ADD. The question here is she really ADD? or is the professor using disengaging teaching techniques?

Note: Is it only me who sees the term lecture under a negative connotation? (” The principle lectured me about the importance of the school uniform/ The professor lectured about the laws of physics”)

Blurred categories: Blogs and Discussion Boards

4 Sep Blurred lines between blogs, wikis, discussion boards, journals

Blurred lines between blogs, wikis, discussion boards, journalsThis is mostly in response to emapey response to my Sep 3 entry.

First of all, Thanks for your post and the tip ;). As you can see I have put it to good use 🙂

Now to the response:

While I agree that some posts are reflective and some call for interaction, I think the reason why most of us (at least it is for me) are part of the “Pedagogy First” community is to share our experiences and communicate with one another.

After reading your post about the difference between Blogs and Threaded Discussions, I can’t help but think that in the Pedagogy First online community our blogs are being used as a threaded discussion platform. After all, our blogs are all feeding into the same “forum.” This is another instance that leads me to think that having clear cut distinctions between forums, wikis, journals, and blogs makes sense from a development standpoint but for the end user it really does not matter. The most successful bloggers are those who entice their audiences to interact with the blog’s content and leave comments. Granted, there are lurkers out there (and that’s what I thought my role would be when signing up to the forum.

But again is it really a forum? or is it a collection of blogs?

Facilitating online interaction

3 Sep Frustrated_computer_user

Frustrated_computer_userHere we are, an online community that is inherently motivated to share and collaborate. I’m happily jumping from one blog to another reading about different experiences. But, as I was drawn to the content and spontaneously wanted to interact with it and leave a comment, my efforts were thwarted by filling out a spam form, or not finding a comment box to begin with. Much to my chagrin, I kept my thoughts to myself and moved on.

This got me thinking about “regular” students in an online environment, students who are not motivated to interact verbally or post comments in a new environment. For those, the instructors have to invest a lot time designing of the online environment, removing obstacles, changing their writing style (maybe?), and making the course more inviting.

As for me, the more steps I have to take in order to participate in a discussion, the more I will be distracted and probably end up doing something else … (sorry that’s the truth!).

Have you had similar experiences?

Camtasia Relay Fuse iPhone App!

2 Sep Fuse for the iphone

Fuse for the iphoneWhy am I so excited about FUSE?

On the job I get to test a lot of cool and not so cool applications. The latest gizmo that I am fond of is Camtasia Relay’s Fuse iPhone application. If your college or university adopted Relay and connected it a server that means unlimited uploading on your part of lecture capture of your classroom and now anytime anywhere with Fuse. Let’s say you’re teaching graphic design and you noticed a new ad somewhere. With touching the giant REC button, go ahead and capture what’s out there and become a commentator. What better way to connect with your students outside of class?

Hello Pedagoy First Community

18 Aug


Hello Everyone!

Just wanted to write a quick hi and introduce myself to everyone. I’m Lana, an avid learner and passionate instructional designer.

I’m very excited about being part of this community.

Let’s have some pedagogical fun!


Hello world!

4 Sep

Hello Everyone,

My name is Lana and I’m ready to rock and roll on the blog.

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