There's no question that technology has impacted all aspects of our lives, including education. With webinar software, teachers, professors, tutors, coaches, and entrepreneurs can create online courses anyone with internet access can join. While webinar platforms can be used for many purposes, they provide the necessary tools to mimic the synergy found in classrooms around the world. It's possible to distribute handouts, share PowerPoint presentations, and even understand students' doubts through the Q&A or poll functions. Furthermore, it's effortless to schedule and prepare recurring sessions throughout a course.
Recommended Webinar Platforms for Education
From the company LogMeIn, GoToWebinar is a popular platform among webinar hosts. For as low as $49 per month, GoToWebinar offers the necessary features to run live online classes, including polls, handouts, Q&As, and analytics reporting, as well as the ability to run paid courses. The cheapest subscription only supports up to 100 students, but teachers willing to make a higher investment can have up to 3,000 students attending a webinar simultaneously. The more expensive plans also come with helpful tools such as video sharing, custom URLs, on-demand webinars, transcriptions, and a built-in video editor. What’s more, GoToWebinar secures everyone's data by providing 128-bit end-to-end encryption. Interested teachers can test GoToWebinar through its 7-day free trial.
ClickMeeting combines the two most important aspects of any software: ease of use and a comprehensive features pack. Besides the usual abilities expected from webinar software, such as sharing handouts, polls, and Q&As, ClickMeeting lets you create calls to action, has a built-in chat translator that works in up to 52 languages, and supports up to 1,000 students. Moreover, teachers can run paid courses by integrating their PayPal accounts. Depending on the subscription purchased, it's possible to run either live or automated recurring classes. The former subscriptions start at $25 per month, and the latter at $40 per month, both for 25 students. However, ClickMeeting's flexible pricing enables lecturers to select the number of attendees required, where the price per student drops as their numbers increase. Instructors can test ClickMeeting through its 7-day free trial.
The two main things that make Demio stand out from its competitors are its user-friendliness and excellent customer support. Developed by two webinar professionals, the software was created with the objective of developing a platform where running webinars was an effortless and stress-free experience. By having straightforward setup and in-webinar interfaces, plus 24/7 customer support representatives ready to answer within a few minutes, their objective was more than accomplished. Of course, ClickMeeting also comes with all the necessary tools to run engaging classes and to set up automated recurring sessions. It supports up to 1,000 students, and the price starts at $34 per month. Better still, this webinar software provider offers 14 days to try the product with no strings attached and adds a 30-day money-back guarantee so teachers can get a refund after purchasing the service.
How Webinar Platforms Help Teachers
For teachers who have only ever lectured in person, it may seem that online classrooms could never be as good as physical ones. However, that's far from the truth: when used correctly, webinar software can offer the same degree of interaction found in a classroom, and then some.
Easier Way to Have Guests
There are many subjects in which inviting experts to share their experience is valuable. For example, students learning about entrepreneurship will be highly motivated to attend a class where a real entrepreneur shares their experiences when starting their own first company. However, timetabling these kinds of sessions can be challenging due to guests' busy schedules. Webinar software makes this process easier since the guest can join the lecture without leaving their office, taking less time away from their busy lives.
Gaining a Wider Audience
Physical classrooms bring the disadvantage of a fixed location. Students probably won't drive hundreds of kilometers to attend a class or a workshop. Consequently, most people offering such services from a physical location will be restricting their source of possible students to a certain radius. Since webinars are run over the internet, teachers can engage with students from all over the world.
Improve Overall Learning Experience
There are many features that can be taken advantage of to improve overall course success. For example, if a professor records classes and shares them with their students, attendees can be more focused on understanding and actively participating instead of taking notes.
Best Webinar Software Features for Online Education
When looking for a webinar software provider, there are various features to consider. Right off the bat, webinar rooms should always offer the same interaction as a classroom. Still, there are some other tools to take advantage of that end up improving the overall learning and lecturing experience.
There's a reason people attend classes instead of learning by reading books: interaction. It's proven that students learn better when they take an active part in the class instead of passively listening to it. Consequently, using a webinar software platform that provides ways to interact with students is vital. Teachers should therefore look for webinar platforms that offer features that enable student interaction, such as Q&As, polls, and live chat.
It's common practice to share learning materials before or after a class. Teachers operating in a traditional classroom do this by handing out documents while in class, or by sharing their PowerPoint presentations through email or an online platform. Some webinar software providers make this process more straightforward. Online instructors can share handouts while in session, as well as record and share the full session afterward.
The option to charge attendees for the class is an essential feature for anyone not affiliated with an organization. This tool enables lecturers to receive payments from students without the need to use another platform.
How to Make Online Courses Interactive
It's a bit daunting to create an online course from scratch. However, there's nothing to fear: webinar software provides all the necessary tools to lead engaging classes.
Invite Learners to Contribute
Probably the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about an interactive class is a classroom full of raised hands. In an online class, using polls to ask questions, saving a few minutes for Q&As, or encouraging students to speak with each other through the live chat are just some of the few ways to make students part of the class and increase their engagement.
Ask for Feedback
In universities, it's common to ask for feedback at the end of the semester. With webinars, teachers can create an easily completed form at the end of each session to understand where they need to improve. Showing you care and want to deliver lectures in the best way possible will motivate your students and make them more engaged.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Everyone is on social media, so why not take advantage of that to increase student interactivity? Start discussions within the topics being learned or share a video with the highlights from the last class so students can share and comment with each other.