Webinars: Boon or bane for professional development


Over the past two years, I have seen the greater use of webinars as a communication media to update fellow professionals in a variety of subjects.

As I am sure that you are aware, the term webinar is short for Web-based Seminar, which is a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web, specifically the combination of web & seminar.

Sometimes, webinars might be one-way communication tools from the speaker to the audience with limited audience interaction.

Other times, webinars may be more collaborative and include active voice or text question & answer sessions to allow full participation between the audience and the presenter. In some cases, the presenter may speak to information being presented on-screen, and the audience can respond over their computers or telephones.

I would not question their value as a cost-effective way to update on the latest developments in your field and I have been using them extensively over the past two years. No-one would argue that they are, certainly, more environmentally-friendly (and work-friendly) compared to the impacts of a traditional seminar, where extensive travel and down-time from the working day can be involved.

However, are we missing something by leaping on the bandwagon of webinars that are on offer. Are they limiting the opportunities for the free-flow of communications between professionals, the use of analytical thought and direct questioning of the presenter, the possibilities of networking with other professionals & all the other benefits that come from traditional seminars?

I welcome your views on the advantages and disadvantages of webinars…

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