There’s a lot of learning to be done online. Where once attending a conference used to mean nights away in a hotel and conference centre, you can now attend seminars online – called webinars – from your desk.
There are a number of platforms to use for presenting webinars and other e-learning methods, which allows trainers to use their existing material to reach a broader audience and make more money. But when choosing an e-learning platform, there are a number of considerations to make.
Technical – How?
Much like traditional seminar spaces, there are a number of logistical factors which trainers should take into account when choosing an e-learning platform. This means potential trainers should ask possible platforms and providers a lot of questions.
The platform still has to be available when you want it to be – so ensure the platform gives a commitment not to do scheduled maintenance during your webinar, for instance.
Is the platform robust enough to handle the number of attendees you predict you will get, or are you so popular that you either restrict numbers (limiting your revenue) or crash the platform’s servers?
Like a real-life space needs to agree on providing providing a sound-system, access for all participants, methods of providing anonymous feedback and tea or coffee, e-learning platforms and trainers need to agree on all the elements of access and functionality.
How will questions during the presentations be managed? Is there a method for asking and processing them? How will bookings be managed – and will there be the equivalent of bouncers to ensure people who haven’t paid don’t get in?
What will accessibility be like? Is there a facility for closed-captioning, and is the platform easy to navigate with a screen-reader?
Before the webinar, are there any restrictions on promotion? Does the platform have its own promo methods?
And once the webinar is over, what is follow-up like? Do participants get sent a recording of the entire webinar, or just the slides and tools presented? What are the methods for following-up with attendees and for getting feedback?
Content – What?
As a trainer you want to retain intellectual property of your training materials. In a physical conference, participants would receive a booklet – if the webinar slides are delivered to participants, how can you make sure the participant doesn’t then turn around and use them for their own gain?
Both the platform and the participant should agree to terms and conditions of attending the webinar – including an agreement not to copy and share materials or make recordings without permission.
Presentation – Who?
In many cases the person who makes the presentation is not the person who wrote the speech or the materials. So an author needs to make sure they retain their intellectual property – and discuss with both presenter and platform how follow-up will be handled. Is the author available to answer questions from attendees?
And if there is any follow-up work from the presentation, who is entitled to make money off that work?
Usually if an author has licensed a presenter to use their material on an ongoing basis, any follow-up work belongs to the presenter. But if the presenter is just a fill-in, any ongoing business should go to the author.
Because e-learning platforms and providers usually dictate the basis of any agreements with trainers, it can feel as though the platforms hold all the power. But any trainer venturing into e-learning should find out the impact of the agreement terms and compare providers over these three subjects. While you may not be in a position to negotiate, you can still make sure you go with a provider that best suits your needs.
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