Last Updated on March 22, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
Short for “Web-Based Seminar”, a webinar is an online interactive event held via the Internet in real-time. A webinar could be a presentation, workshop, or training seminar shared on the Internet, using one of several video hosting tools available.
The use of technology in a traditional seminar is limited to only a computer, projector and maybe a laser pointer. Although people had never imagined it to get better than that, things are different now.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Webinars
Picture a scenario where you are sitting in your place of comfort and participating in a seminar thousands of miles away. Imagine giving a lecture to hundreds of students around the globe in real-time without being physically present with them.
That’s right, that is exactly what a webinar does. It cuts across time, space, and money using the internet.
History of Webinars
Web conferencing became available to the public in 1996. Shortly after, the first webinar software came out. It allowed one or several users to make a presentation, which could be attended by hundreds or even thousands of visitors from all over the world.
With topnotch advancement in software tools, webinars have evolved quite a lot. From year to year, they get more functional. However, considering that the webinar history lasts for several decades only, webinar service providers have been developing in a very fast manner.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Webinars
Webinars can be an outstanding training tool. When it first came along, the webinar seemed like such a good idea. Employees could take training classes online and a sales team could pitch a proposal to a client without having to travel. Although there are some advantages to be gained by replacing face-to-face meetings with webinars, there are also disadvantages to using webinars. Here’s an overview.
Advantages of Webinars
There are some real benefits to turning to webinars rather than traditional seminars. Let’s break down some of them:
When a webinar is used, an enormous expense is saved against travel and material costs. If you go the traditional route, it will no doubt cost more to set everything up. So, a webinar is the most cost-effective method of conducting meetings.
2. Diverse Audience
Distance is not a big deal with webinars. No matter where your workforce is, you can offer webinar training without having to be physically together. This means there will be a diverse range of attendees from all over the world.
3. Reduced Commute
Commuting can be a major source of stress. However, when attending a webinar, you won’t have to worry about that. Like said earlier, you can attend an event no matter where in the world you are without having to travel, which saves a lot of money anf=d time.
Webinars tend to be far flexible. Attendees can log on at any time, from any computer. There is no need to set aside extra training space, and you don’t have to ask your employees to devote time or resources to training during the workday.
5. Frees up Training Staff
Traditionally, enterprises would invest in training resources. However, webinar series can free them up. There will be more time and resources to dedicate to providing one-on-one training and consultations for employees who need extra help.
Disadvantages of Webinars
While webinars can bring a group of people from different geography together, there are some significant disadvantages to this type of technology as well. Some of them are below.
1. Limited Interaction
One of the main downsides of webinars is the lack of interaction between the participators and the presenter. Since everything is conducted online, there is just audio-visual interaction lacking physical interaction.
2. Technical Difficulties
There is a risk that the presenter’s time in the podium is interfered with due to technical difficulties. Since in which the audience views an audiovisual presentation on their individual computers with different operating systems and internet connections, opportunities for technical problems are virtually limitless.
3. Lack of Teamwork
Teamwork is an essential part of the training. Working as a team adds value to the task everybody is involved in. Sadly, webinars almost completely eliminate this aspect since everything is virtual.
4. Lack of Body Language
Body language is missing from virtually any web-based seminars. There is no clapping, standing ovations, or handshakes which leads to lack of enthusiasm. Attendees could be on their bed wearing pajamas while attending a webinar.
5. Lack of Environmental Control
The presenter has no control over the environment, contrary to a live setting where they have full control of everything. They cannot ensure that there will be no interruptions or distractions of sorts which leads to a lack of focus.
Webinars can be successfully used in place of traditional events in all spheres ranging from education to business and corporate training. While there are debates that webinars could potentially kill live events, they are deemed convenient for both presenters and attendees.
However, there are different types of online webinar software to choose from, so it’s important to find one that works best for your needs.