Recent Webinar Survey Shows Attendees Not Paying Attention; Seek More Interaction

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Some of the statistics from the recent Webinar Experience survey were expected, like 38% of respondents reporting that webinars have replaced in-person meetings. But other statistics shockingly outline webinars' faults. For instance, 67% of webinar attendees mute the conference call to have other conversations.

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[webinars] may be more efficient … but there is something lost in the lack of interaction between facilitator and participant. Gauging participant interest and retention, along with maintaining their attention, is extremely difficult.

LearningWare Inc., a leader in classroom and elearning training solutions, recently conducted a very revealing Webinar Experiences Survey. The survey validated the trend of webinars continuing to replace in-person meetings, but also showed that attendees' minds, and bodies, may be elsewhere during said webinars.

The survey revealed that:

35% of attendees had gone to the bathroom during a webinar.
65% of attendees had worked on other projects during a webinar.
67% of attendees had muted the conference call to have other conversations.
81% of attendees regularly check their email during webinars.

More and more companies are replacing traditional face-to-face meetings with virtual, online webinars. According to the survey, a third of those in-person meetings and trainings have been replaced by webinars, while (according to Frost and Sullivan) webinars have increased by 20% across the board since 2008. It makes sense—it saves time and money in a world where offices are more likely to be decentralized and travel budgets have been cut.

But one survey respondent states, “(Webinars) may be more efficient … but there is something lost in the lack of interaction between facilitator and participant. Gauging participant interest and retention, along with maintaining their attention, is extremely difficult.”

With a lack of face-to-face connection, it becomes increasingly difficult for the webinar leader to know what’s going on in the minds of one’s attendees on the other side of the webinar screen. This lack of accountability, combined with attendees sitting in front of one of the biggest sources of distraction (their computer), makes it no wonder attendees’ attention is elsewhere and webinars are, therefore, less effective.

When asked if webinars could be as effective as in-person training, one of the respondents stated, “If used the right way. (But) Interaction and design are key. Without interaction, you lose participants. Designing a webinar so participants stay engaged is challenging, but necessary.”

Approximately 80% of respondents said more interaction is the number one solution to increase effectiveness, but only 12% of people surveyed regularly use some kind of interaction tool (i.e. polling, whiteboards, etc.) in their current webinars.

While webinars are a cost-effective meeting and training solution, there is definitely room for improvement. Adding interaction that keeps participants accountable for their attention could be the first step to revolutionizing a medium that is currently flawed, but clearly here to stay.

To see the full results of the Webinar Experiences survey, go here.

About LearningWare:

Since 1995, LearningWare has been producing software templates that have been proven to increase content comprehension and retention. AllPlay Web is their newest product—designed to make webinars more engaging and effective by using interactive competition. Their flagship product, Gameshow Pro, is in use in over 40,000 corporate and educational classrooms, and has been receiving rave reviews.

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Caleb Stevens
LearningWare, Inc.
612-904-6878 ext. 241
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