Building Training Content: Recycling Webinars

For anyone who works full time in the training industry, webinars are a way of life.

For sales teams, hosting demos in person has become a thing of the past; frequently they will invite customers to preview a product online. In training, it is especially helpful to use a webinar when you want to disseminate information to a live audience, when you want to get feedback from the audience immediately, or when you need to have a group discussion.

In the past, I would host webinars to announce a new product release and conduct weekly team meetings. The main use of a webinar is to share information on your desktop. Many people do presentation-style webinars where they review information in PowerPoint or Prezi to inform their audience. Others do demonstration-style webinars where they show off a product on their desktop.

To create a high-quality webinar, you will put a lot of time and energy into developing content, rehearsing, and organizing your attendees. Often times I found myself completing a webinar only to feel disappointed that not everyone could attend or realizing that I didn’t have that time to recreate a helpful webinar several times a year.  Through trial and error, I learned the value in the ability to “recycle” training to add to my content library.

Keep in mind the following for creating a webinar that you can convert into training material later on:

Ensure you are using a webinar platform that will allow you to record content.

Do a dry run beforehand to make sure you know how to start and stop the recording, as well as understand where to retrieve the file. You wouldn’t believe how many times I have finished the introduction of my material only to realize that I forgot to hit the “record” button.

Mute all attendees except during designated Q&A times or utilize the chat box tool.

Really, this is a commandment of webinars. Having participants be responsible for their own muting often does not work. The larger the group, the more interruptions there will be: cell phone conversations, dogs barking, babies crying, coughing—believe me, I have heard it all. Giving your participants a designated time for Q&A or open discussion creates a better-quality webinar. If the Q&A is not something that you want to include in the recording of the webinar, you can simply edit out this section.

Understand the limitations of webinar quality.

The primary purpose of webinar software is to bring people together to view the same material on one person’s computer. Therefore the audio and video quality that you will get from a recording will be not as high as recording your desktop by yourself.  If quality is important to you and you have enough memory on your computer to run a screen recording program and the webinar at the same time, you can create a recording that does not compromise the audio and video quality of your webinar. For example, you can host your WebEx call while having a desktop recording software activated to take a video and audio recording. Rather than recording the webinar from [Webinar Hosting Company]’s interface and recorder, you simply use your own with your desktop recorder as if you were recording an offline demonstration.

If you are using your webinar hosting software to record your webinar, keep in mind that often times webinar platforms such as GoToMeeting and WebEx create a file a format that will not integrate easily onto your learning platform.  To see an example of a GoToMeeting file converted, cleaned, and uploaded and ready to put on your learning platform, check out this video.

Source note: This post is an excerpt from the book Stop Repeating, Start Recording by Laura McClernon.  This eBook is centered around the idea that individuals and companies can create online training programs quickly and at little cost.

Learn how companies use Lessonly to improve and even re-use training content here.

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