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January 26, 2007

About Web Conferencing

So, what exactly is this web conferencing tool all about anyway? As a beginner and novice with this tool only a few months ago, I have learned a great deal about the capabilities and potential for using it as a part of training. There are many options to choose from including pay-as-you-go.

Based on my own experience along with my peers, the best way to initially learn about web conferencing tools are to use them to host web meetings. This helps you to learn the basics. Although there are many features available, start off using the standard KISS method by keeping it simple and safe. Start by setting up a meeting with others on your own team. Host a meeting with the person sitting next to you so that you can see what is happening from both the host and user perspectives. Learn how to load a presentation and share it along with the basic whiteboard and chat room features.

Once you are comfortable with these steps, learn how to change roles, making others in the meeting the presenter or host. Note: be sure to write these instructions down, since in the heat of a presentation or class, these are quickly forgotten and will create a frustrating and embarrassing situation. Then set up a web meeting with someone you know well who is remote. This will help to learn about the slight time delays, what is involved for a user to download any software in order to make the application work, and any other technical challenges.

One of the best ways to learn about these tools are to attend the wide variety of on-line seminars and webmeetings that are hosted by vendors and training organizations. These will expose you to a wide variety of tools along with seeing how different individuals facilitate these sessions. You will quickly be able to differentiate the more effective sessions from the zzzzzzzzz ones. Using more visual content, involving the participants by using polls, being a good public speaker, and being aware of being a talking head are some of the elements to observe. Note: be sure to see the blogs posted by Amy Peeler on this site for more information on delivering on-line training.

I also recently attended training on our web conferencing tool offered by our vendor. Not only did I learn a lot of neat features, but I experienced a professional facilitator. She was excellent and a great role model. Now I feel I am more confident in using this tool as a result of using the tool and understanding the facilitation skills needed to present material on-line. I now use the tool constantly and am asked to help others now get up to speed. There is a lot of potential for using this for training just as there is for elearning and other tools associated with blended learning. The key however is to learn how to use these tools effectively, which is what makes the difference.

Frankly, I had to learn this the hard way. While still a novice, I attempted to conduct a class on-line for a supervisory development session. Between technical issues and not appreciating yet the skills needed to facilitate on-line, it was not a fun experience. Lesson learned and now shared.

Michael McGinnis works in the Learning Services organization of Bose Corporation. His own blog is located at www.trainingonashoestring.com.


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This is a very interesting read about web conferencing. I bet a lot of people are now becoming to understand this positive technology. May I reinforce that with some more info about teleconferencing service. Here's the link for it:


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