Webinars and virtual classrooms – what’s the difference?
Shaping the future of learning
Both are online methods of engaging learners, both are ways to engage and encourage feedback – so what’s the difference between a webinar and a virtual classroom, and why should you choose one or the other? Using our experience as learning experts, we’ve outlined why you might need both in your learning programmes here.
Webinars are typically ‘broadcast’ models where a key message or overview/update is delivered to an audience, usually with some kind of Q&A element. They’re often used to give updates on product and service information to sales and service teams, or to kickstart a new initiative or programme.
Virtual Classrooms differ from the pure broadcast webinar model in the fact that the interactions are richer than simply having a concurrent chat while a facilitator essentially runs through a presentation, answering queries along the way. Virtual classrooms are designed to resemble the group discussions and syndicate work that the best face-to-face events provide.
Why use webinars and virtual classrooms?
Is it the best of both worlds? Webinars and virtual classrooms offer a flexible way of offering the group interactions that allow more socialising and sharing than elearning, without incurring the disruption and travel costs that come with face-to-face delivery.
They also give a real opportunity for deeper exploration of topics and a more inclusive process of group work where the more introverted participants can have an equal voice through use of chats and polling.
When to use them
Webinars and virtual classrooms can act as core milestone events within a blended learning programme, as they can be used to:
- Introduce the overall programme (perhaps with a senior manager involved)
- Supplement or replace face-to-face training sessions
- Enable subject matter experts to share their knowledge and expertise (with the chance for learners to ask questions along the way)
- Host virtual learning sets making it easy for people to brainstorm issues with peers
- Sustain participation within an overall blended programme, encouraging learners to return and share insights/action learning with peers and experts.
Our webinar and virtual classroom services
We’ve designed webinar and virtual classroom solutions for organisations including BP and KPMG. Our design team can provide the skills transfer or design input needed to put together engaging and effective virtual sessions. We can:
- Design sessions and create facilitator guides
with professionally produced slides and images
- Review your existing webinars
or virtual classrooms and make recommendations for enhancing them
- Train your teams
to design and deliver effective webinars and virtual classrooms.
We can design virtual classrooms as part of an overall blend or as a discrete learning approach. Contact us to find out more.