Blending Webinars


Webinars (Short for Web-based seminars, presentation, lecture or workshop) are an interesting and effective medium for knowledge transfer & learning. It’s undisputed that the integration of the interactivity features has increased the impact of learning that the ‘webinars’ previous avatar called “Webcasts” used to offer. We have been recommending interesting webinars to our internal managers for a while now. The challenge has always been the ability to make the time for the event and also creating a more active space for interaction over & above the chat interactivity offered in webinars.

This was the intent behind the idea of running a contextual webinar within a structured classroom environment. The theme we chose was “High Potential Notification & Development”. This was an important subject as coming on back of a recently concluded half yearly appraisal; most managers were unsure about “should they notify high potentials” or “keep it discreet”. I thought this article from Gallup drives the point home. How to Tell High-Potential Leaders They’re Special

We chose a webinar on this theme offered by People Matters & Right Management

Here’s why we thought of blending a webinar with in-class learning:

Some learning goals are better accomplished face-to-face

There are certain interaction opportunities which only face-to-face offers. In addition when you have a group of senior managers, camaraderie becomes an important design aspect. When managers are involved in the process and actively endorse the learning and provide space for application of new skills, outcomes become meaningful.

Webinar can be an effective content-chunking mechanism

How do you facilitate a workshop / discussion on a complex theme like High Potential (Hipo) identification / development within 90 mins. This is the question that drove us to looking at available content on this theme. A big advantage of using a webinar is that you get readily “chunked content” that can be integrated with some social learning elements and converted into a meaningful learning forum.

Before the forum

  • Mark the date, topic & broad plan (This seems obvious but you need about 2-3 weeks to be able to plan this well)
  • Confirm any guest speaker(s) and invite them for a keynote. This can be done right before the webinar starts to set the context. It always helps if you can get a senior leader to do this.
  • Book the infrastructure where the webinar will be played and ensure that you have all audio-visual equipment up & running. We do this within a training room & project the webinar on a big screen.
  • Prepare all URLs ahead of the webinar. Test run this as well.
  • Run at least one practice of the webinar incase if it’s a recorded one. This will help you plan some ‘strategic pauses’ which can be used for interaction.
  • Send all participants pre reads at least 3-4 days before the webinar.

In the forum

  • Log-on 20 mins before the session starts
  • Explain the mechanics before starting the webinar
  • Encourage participants to tweet questions / views with an identified #hashtag
  • These questions can be posted centrally by whoever is managing the Master PC which is playing the webinar.

Post the forum

  • Email attendees a ‘thank you’ note with the ‘key summary’. Storify the tweets and share it with the participants as well.
  • Ask the participants to share their takeaways with other managers
  • Ask if there are themes that would be interested in learning more about

Blending is a tool that we must integrate as part of learning design. Here are some lessons that we learnt.

  • Webinars are all about synchronous learning but blending it with some in-class interaction may help accomplish learning goals.
  • Deciding what content to use Webinars for is not one of instructional design, but of social design.

So try blending webinars with in-class interaction. You may be surprised by the results. Have you tried anything new within the learning space?

We are eager to learn and replicate. Drop me a note.


Sunder RamachandranSunder Ramachandran is a highly energetic training leader with extensive experience in building capabilities for large teams in the offshore/outsourcing space. He is currently a Senior Training Manager with JLT Group, one of the world’s largest providers of insurance and employee benefits related advice, brokerage and associated services including an office of over 850 employees in Mumbai, India.

Sunder’s articles on workplace learning have appeared in Indian & International media including The Economic Times, Hindu Business Line, Times Ascent, National HRD Newsletter,,,, Human Capital and His articles can be read at He is passionate about social learning and blogs on the learning experiments that he is leading at

Sunder was a training entrepreneur for five years and has gained valuable experience on both the ‘Buy’ & ‘Sell’ side of the training business.. Connect with him on  LinkedIn and on twitter @sundertrg.


1 Comment

  1. rakshita says:

    Some very good pointers Sunder.These will come handy for plugHR #satschool

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