Angela Gunder | Designing Effective Webinars
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Designing Effective Webinars

Designing Effective Webinars

We’ve all been there – the dreaded webinar that promised a big payout, but left us hungry for something (anything) more than what was given.  Your desire to multitask, doze or simply exit grows stronger with each passing PowerPoint slide, and you wait for a point of engagement that never arrives.  What gives? With the plethora of synchronous online tools available for holding e-meetings, how do we ensure that the content that we plan and deliver will engage and capture the audience’s attention?

As a frequent webinar attendee, facilitator and presenter, I thought it would be extremely useful to compile a document of best practices, tips and tricks for building synchronous online sessions for both educational and corporate use.  Given that my output of choice is typically the web, it didn’t take too long for the project to evolve into a series of web-based modules covering the design and development of an engaging webinar.

The modules specifically focus on designs that presenters, teachers and trainers can use to deliver instruction that is geared towards audience participation and learner-driven education.  Learners will gain hands-on practice creating pre-activities, choosing applications and software, designing in-session activities, utilizing measurement and assessment tools, and creating post-session surveys for follow-up.  There is a focus on usability of content design and layout, along with sample templates that already make use of design best practices.  The goal of the website is to offer presenters and designers a road map for how to plan, design and implement successful synchronous sessions that keep the learner on task and invested in the lesson.

One of the chief benefits of working on this project will be the production of a learning object that is both evergreen and interdisciplinary.  Principles of education, usability, design and communications will each be integrated into the curriculum, allowing correlations to form between the common best practices in each of these areas.  These principles will then be shared on the site in a meaningful, practical way. Ultimately, the goal will be to produce a website that is utilized by instructors for various projects with the only commonality being that the delivery channel is internet-based.

In a working world where many professionals do not have the luxury of access to instructional designers building and facilitating online synchronous sessions, having basics skills in designing online activities for learner engagement is key. The target population for this lesson, presenters and instructors with a desire to hone their skills in effective e-meeting usage, often cannot set aside any extra time to take on several hours of instruction on how to create design materials and activities that meet education and design principles. Given that the way in which a presentation is planned can make or break the effectiveness of the content delivery, a primer in the core principles of design, education technology and communication can go quite a long way. This web lesson serves to bridge the gap between content expert, presenter and instructional designer, allowing those with limited knowledge of education theory to feel comfortable creating presentations that keep attendees engaged in the content. The lesson is focused on providing the learner with a working knowledge of both education and design theory in an efficient way, leaving them with just the skills they need to produce and run successful e-meetings, all the while avoiding getting bogged down in complex theory and technically-advanced aspects of design.

Designing Effective Webinars includes the following learning objects:

  • Standalone website containing all learning modules
  • Pre-Assessment Activity
  • Learning modules with embedded video examples
  • Post-module check lists
  • Online self-assessment
  • Printable Rubric for Future Assessment
  • Sample templates for marketing materials, presentation layouts, assessment questions and design elements
  • Resource list of links
  • Forum for sharing designs, activities and best practices

Visit the website at

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