I’m teaching a technical writing class by webinar on the GoToTraining platform, and it’s going really well, thanks to the outstanding learners in the class. Having been a stand-up trainer for 21 years, I was more than a little skeptical about my ability to interact with learners virtually for two-hour webinars spread over three weeks.
It turns out that I have the same if not better interactions with the learners. I certainly get more questions from them than I do in a live class, perhaps because the question function is anonymous (shy engineers, eh?). And the benefit of spreading the class over three weeks is that I have time to research questions that I can’t answer on the spot; I then highlight these questions and answers at the beginning of the next webinar.
Another benefit is being able to poll the learners; I use the poll as a quiz. Answers are anonymous, but if answers are wrong, I can gently correct them without someone in the class having embarrassed themselves.
It helps that I can use my technical writing text Writing that Works and create slides from it, but for longer discussions, I can refer learners to certain pages in the text.
The responses from learners are positive, too. No one has complained about my condensing an 8-hour class into three 2-hour segments. As part of the class, I am holding one-on-one coaching sessions with each learner, too, and recording the sessions for their future reference.
In many respects, this webinar experience feels more user-driver than a stand-up class. I never would have guessed how positive the webinars can be (some of the participants are joking with me online as much as participants do in live presentations).
I’m having a blast and I don’t even have to go through x-rays at the airport.