Why Webinars?

June 16, 2011

Folks often ask if a webinar is the best way to train Class A/B operators.

For sure, the traditional “brick and mortar” classroom style is what’s most familiar because it’s a live, in-person experience.

What makes live training tougher these days is cost and scheduling. There is travel to get to the classroom; it’s harder to reschedule if something comes up; it costs more (more overhead). So usually “face time” just is more costly in time and money.

Webinars are now the new meeting communications standard for many business people.  But for many UST operators it’s a whole new concept.

And just because it’s online doesn’t mean it has to be dull. Our webinars are content-rich with lots of real-life pictures and stories. We know it’s tough to stay awake even in a live class so we go out of our way to use images and interactive exercises to make the material come alive so students stay with the instructor through the day.

Should you use webinar technology to meet the training requirement? Here are some things to consider:

Generally there are three types of “classrooms”

Live: Traditional classroom

On Demand: Internet-based, attend whenever you like by yourself

Live Webinar: Internet-based, attend on a specific time and date with others

Webinars require a high speed internet connection and basic computer literacy – operators who don’t have high speed internet or get easily frustrated using the computer should perhaps consider another alternative.

Don’t get us wrong. We’d love to train everyone out there but we’d rather see people have a positive training experience and have it suit their objectives and capabilities.

Most of our webinar attendance ranges from 10-40 students per session but we can host larger groups with a few special requirements.

In June we hosted our largest-ever webinar: 152 students for a dealership training meeting in one large room with a projector, two large screens and an event sound system for Q & A.

The Numbers:

1 Day
152 Students
1 Instructor
5.5 Hours of instruction
1,928 Miles between instructor and students

We’ve set up a comparison of the each option. Use this chart to determine which qualities are most important for you.

Training Options
Qualities Live Class On Demand UST Training Live Webinar
Live Instructor Yes No Yes
Can Ask Questions Yes No Yes
Self Paced No Yes No
Interactive Maybe * Maybe * Yes
Easy to Reschedule Maybe * Yes Yes
Can Take Anywhere ** No Yes Yes
Can Opt to Take Exam Only No Maybe * Yes
Can be Customized to Your UST Maybe * Maybe * Yes
Easy to Reschedule Maybe * Yes Yes
Easy to Modify Content Maybe No Yes

*   Can be if designed and/or delivered well.
** Anywhere high speed Internet is available.

The feedback was very positive. Students, and even the instructor, were a little nervous about the distance and number of students. We prepared by having everyone fill out a tanks survey prior to class, so that the instructor knew exactly what the array of compliance was. We knew the attendees worked for a retail c-store, which also helped mold the course to a single user type. We tested and maintained audio and video quality so it looked and sounded great the day of the class.

So webinars aren’t for everyone but for certain situations it makes good sense. For time saving, money saving customization and ease of use, webinars are the way to go.

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