Do Webinars always suck?

Dean Dad over at Inside Higher Ed asks the question, “Why do webinars always suck?” and those go onto explain the ways they suck. I actually do attend my fair share of webinars so I obviously don’t think they always suck, but I know I’ve been disappointed in them way more then I should be. As Dean Dad points out, they fact that you don’t have to travel is a big plus considering the economy, but I never get as much out of them as a face-to-face meeting and usually get less out of the then I would a pre-recorded session. Also, if the webinar is more then an hour, forget it. My mind has had enough at that point. I think that is why I really dislike virtual conferences. Multiple hours staring at a screen and listening to someone present is just not a replacement for being there in person.

Besides the idea of listening to someone through a computer, the other negative is often you are sitting alone somewhere watching them. No human companionship. No person to talk to about the session. No “free” coffee. But I digress… I think the one thing I have found is that when I watch a webinar with someone else it is usually a much better experience. That is why at work I often will ask other people if they are interested and arrange to watch it together if the topic is relevant. Otherwise, like one of the comments made by Sibyl, I bring something wlse to do – although I can guarantee it won’t be Mafia Wars or Farmville!

What do you thin? Do Webinars always suck?

2 Comments

  1. From Joshua Kim, Ideas for Working with Vendors | Disruptive Library Technology Jester said,

    March 24, 2010 at 21:03:26

    [...] solves our needs to a greater extent than your competition.” (As an aside, Ed Corrado today points to the post of another blogger on Inside Higher Ed on the same topic.)Next up, albeit a month [...]

  2. Walter Lewis said,

    March 29, 2010 at 13:03:50

    As someone who has sat on the other side of the “digital divide” that is a webinar, one of the biggest challenges is that you are talking into the void. Face-to-face you get to see other people’s, uh, faces … live feed back. Any humour is better received if other people laugh with you and/or each other. If your audience has you on mute to keep the rest of the office noises from intruding there is zero audio feedback. Ask for feedback and wait patiently for thirty seconds until *someone* finds the unmute button.

    Then there can be the delay while your screen is out of sync with those of the participants: “can you see ‘this’ yet?” gets old really fast.

    In short: webinars are “cheap” on a number of levels … but still pass for training in an age when traveling has taken on new challenges.