GoToWebinar Review

GoToWebinar is software that is designed to enable you to deliver webinars online seminars without having to think too hard about the technical side of things.

For those engaged in public speaking, webinars offer some clear advantages over arranging half and full-day workshops:

  1. Online setup in one place
  2. Automated communication, file-sharing, reminders and follow-up emails
  3. Zero travel (Organisers, Presenters and Attendees can “attend” from multiple physical locations)
  4. The Record facility enables absentees to catch up later

I’ve been using GoToWebinar now for about six months, to help a client deliver learning sessions online for their client. Here are my findings. (Title Case in the text of this blog post indicates the name of a GoToWebinar element, e.g. Presenter, Broad.)

GoToWebinar Setup Could Not Be Easier

To Schedule a Webinar, you login and complete the following information for each one:

  • Title
  • Date and Time
  • Timezone and Language
  • Description
  • Webinar Information
  • Organiser and Presenters (each is emailed their own unique link and Webinar Information, that enables them to join the webinar at the appointed time in the correct mode)

GoToWebinar Control Panel is Intuitive

Organisers have full control over every aspect of the webinar. Presenters have slightly less of these controls. Attendees simply have Sound, and a Question/Chat window.

  • Start
  • Start Broadcast
  • Record
  • Share screen
  • Control sound and webcams for Presenters
  • Chat Privately with anyone or compose messages and Send to All
  • Answer Attendee questions
  • Close webinar

GoToWebinar Enables Interaction

So many webinar tools allow only one-way communication: from the Presenter to the Attendees. GoToWebinar enables Presenters to encourage Attendees’ interaction by:

  • Asking questions and requesting responses via Chat
  • Displaying Polls and Results
  • Encouraging Attendees to type Questions, which Presenters can then answer as they go along

My anecdotal experience is that in webinars of around 100 Attendees or a little less, approximately 10% of Attendees interact by asking questions. Over 80% respond to Polls. Less than 5% use the Chat function perhaps Polls and Questions are more easily defined.

GoToWebinar Facilitates Follow-up & Reporting

  • You can email all Attendees, Presenters and Organiser a follow-up email
  • You can send a link to the Recording to anyone, not just Attendees
  • You can email detailed management reports (Attendee Reports) to relevant staff, including percentage engagement per attendee for example
  • You can also use the management reports to review Questions and Answers, Chat content

Organiser Checklist

If you’ve been given the task of setting up, running, marketing or presenting a webinar using GoToWebinar or a similar tool then this is your checklist:

Control Panel

  • You may need to use CMD+Tab on your keyboard to switch the focus of the mouse pointer between PowerPoint and your GoToWebinar Control Panel, so that you can click on it, and the same when you need to go back to PowerPoint to advance slides
  • This is useful for Organisers when you need to: Display Polls, use Chat, answer Questions, switch Presenters or switch on or off Sound or Webcams

Start the Webinar (but not the Broadcast)

  • This opens the webinar title page (an automated voice announces that broadcasting will start soon)
  • Caution: if you share your screen at this point, and have really early Attendees registering and joining the webinar, they will see it (though they will not be able to hear you talking with other Organisers or Presenters) this is a known issue

Get Your Presentation Ready

  • Have your PowerPoint presentation (for example) sitting open and in Display mode

Start Broadcast

  • This starts the webinar properly for Attendees to see and hear the Presenters and the presentation (an automated voice announces this to Attendees, Presenters and Organisers)
  • Click Record if you need a recording of the webinar (this will be available via a shareable link, shortly after the webinar is finished)

Have Presenters Welcome Attendees

  • It’s good practice to wait a minute or so, to enable latecomers to join (the majority will have joined by 2 minutes into the webinar)

Post Introductory Info into Chat Window

  • Add Welcome, Instructions or Presenter Bios, where relevant

Advance Slides

  • Begin to advance slides as Presenters move through the presentation
  • It’s best to have this worked out in advance with your Presenters the verbal cues for moving to the next slide, making for a smoother Attendee experience (listening to “next slide” gets boring real quick)
  • Presenters may move back and forward, depending on different sections of the presentation (again, arranging in advance how this is done keeps things seamless for Attendees)

Ask for Engagement

  • Display Polls
  • Send messages in Chat
  • Ask for Questions and answer them

Thank Attendees

  • Thank everyone for attending or presenting, as appropriate
  • Signpost to where Attendees can find additional (website) or follow-up information (emailed), and how they can access the recording (if there is one)

End Webinar

  • The webinar windows and Control Panel closes for all Attendees, Presenters and Organisers

Conduct Follow-up & Reporting

  • Send out all relevant emails as listed above

Need Help to Run a Series of Team or Client Webinars?

We can help you design your presentations, coach your Presenters or manage the tech side of things, leaving you relaxed and free to focus on the learning.

If you have any questions about webinars or GoToWebinar, or you’d like to talk to us about running some webinars for you, get in touch.

6 Ways to Develop a Learning Organisation

Our Information Age has created a knowledge economy. Some prefer to call it a learning economy because knowledge is useless unless we know it and can apply it. So you’d think that training would be the major service of our time. Sadly, that isn’t the case.

The paradox of training is this: the more an organisation needs it, the less time that organisation usually has for it.

So, beyond throwing more workshops at the problem, what can organisations do?

Properly Train the Trainers

There is a growing trend for organisations to use their own HR staff as trainers in the absence of a budget for external consultants. First, find a budget, if you correctly view your own staff as your greatest resource. But, if not, at least ensure that your internal trainers are properly trained to do their job. Training is NOT “giving a wee talk”! And you have no idea how hard it is…

Link Training to Needs

Before training commences, a full Training Needs Analysis must be carried out, and by someone who knows what they ‘re doing. It is not a Training Preferences Analysis or a Training Vague Assumptions Analysis or a Training Let-Me-Pretend-I’m-Telepathic Needs Analysis. Unless staff see training as solving a real problem for them, it ‘s a waste of time.

Use Your Own Experts

Organisations possess many intellectual assets of which they are unaware or for some reason reticent to use. The larger the organisation, the higher the probability that some member of staff possesses expertise that with the right facilitation could form the basis for at least a single training event.

Employ Different Settings

There are multiple options for training methods beyond regular workshops. Book clubs or planned readings. Knowledge Cafés. Online or elearning. CBT. Debates and quizzes. Internal mentors. External coaches. Q&A sessions. Live demos. Role-playing. Management games. Outdoor activities. Videos and films. Guest speakers. Apps. The possibilities are endless.

Provide Meaningful Rewards

Little certificates of attendance are without much value. For many, a training day is viewed as little more than a day away from work. Provide stronger motivation. Link training to professional, managerial or even academic certification. Allow extra time off, either as a reward for attendance or a reward for attainment. Provide gifts of vouchers for meals and holidays. Fit training in as a measurable step towards promotion or a pay rise. These are what people care about.

Use Teachable Moments

Instead of one-off training events, fit training into the natural currents of organisation life. Such as? Crises. Reviews. The start or end of projects. The arrival of new staff or the exit of current staff. Promotions. The introduction of new systems. Major shifts in your industry or company. Any organisational changes. For what is learning, but a change from ignorance to knowledge?

As experienced training consultants, we are able to help you incorporate these learning strategies into your organisation. We particularly specialise in delivering Train the Trainer workshops, conducting organisational Training Needs Analyses, and designing innovation training experiences. Get in touch today.

5 Ways to Engage Employees in Workplace Learning

So, you’re the HR (& Training Manager), right? You want to know how to engage employees in workplace learning. How come they always wait until the very last reminder email every month to complete their elearning modules?! When will I ever not have to run 43 mop-up webinars instead of the scheduled two?

The key is in the heading. Engage. You must do this at every stage. You must never expect employees to be engaged on demand, unless you first have engaged them.

Decades of Learning Theory in a Nutshell

Young children learn by mimicking. Later they learn to question, form their own opinions, debate and reason. Adults learn differently.

  • Adults learn best if they are engaged in every stage of the process of learning, from the first idea to the evaluation and redesign recommendations report. Engage employees in workplace learning by doing it from the start, not at the end of the process!

First: Have a No-Holds Barred Chat About It (or Brainstorm) One Hour

  • You need to get all those who’re interested in attending, or a representative bunch, together, in a room and discuss learning needs.
  • One of the easiest ways to do this is using a brainstorm. For the uninitiated, brainstorming was first introduced in a murder trial to denote a murderer’s state of mind, insanity. It’s not such an incorrect way to refer to a scattering of random ideas from multiple sources.
  • Allow people to throw out suggestions without form, reason, sense or justification. Brook no judgements. This is not a discussion, this is a brainstorm!

Second: Hold a Structured Meeting to Discuss the Mad Ideas From the Brainstorm (or Distill) One Hour

De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats provides a structure to enable everyone to contribute from multiple roles. Allow each person to wear a different coloured hat for 10 minutes at a time. Extra points for asking around for people to bring in actual coloured hats doesn’t matter in what style, as long as they’re coloured to wear during the meeting it’s a visual cue and there’s much to be said for a little silliness during working meetings.

  • White hat: the wearer must adopt an informative attitude and state facts only, e.g. We have 12 new employees who need trained on that new machine in the Fitting Department.
  • Yellow hat: the wearer must adopt a bright and optimistic attitude, e.g. If we have this new knowledge base designed for clients, we could dramatically lower our Support Team’s workload.
  • Black hat: the wearer must adopt a judgemental or discerning attitude (without dampening everyone’s spirits), e.g. This project is going to take months to complete.
  • Red hat: the wearer must adopt an intuitive attitude, expressing feelings, e.g. My gut’s telling me our older clients are going to love the convenience of this new feature.
  • Green hat: the wearer must adopt a creative attitude, expressing options and alternatives, e.g. We could deliver this as a PDF that all employees read, or we could hold a debate to help everyone thrash through the issues.
  • Blue hat: the wearer is the control, ensuring that the 6 thinking hats format is adhered to

Make a list of points to give to the people responsible for procuring and designing the learning. It’s their job to make sense of it all and ask further questions.

Third: Be as Creative as Heck (or Design)

  1. Hire an experienced adult learning professional to sift through the brainstorm notes and recordings and draft an initial topic content outline. (The person from HR is often not an experienced learning professional and forcing her to deliver a workshop is a shoddy way to treat any employee.)
  2. Discuss with them various elements that can make up the learning: eLearning, videos and other media, workshops, debates and discussions, coaching, reading, games, seminars, role-plays and lectures for example.
  3. Have the learning professional design the learning. Caution: committees cannot design content. Instead, they ruin it, because the loudest voice or group-think not solid learning principles and tactics wins.

Fourth: Insist that Senior Management Drop the Attitude and Show Up (or Implementation)

Yes, this is a difficult one. Working in middle management and insisting that “senior staff” attend been there, done that. But when senior management show learning is important by turning up, taking part, and implementing learning, others do too. Guess what happens when they don’t?

  • Many organisations make the fatal mistake of making learning compulsory for regular staff, but not for management. We once insisted on management taking part in a learning assessment that tested for knowledge. On the first day, it uncovered a serious lack of knowledge that could have cost the company millions had it not been noticed. We proved that specialist knowledge among management was important (who knew?!), that learning worked and suddenly every (previously too busy) manager wanted to take part.
  • If learning is to be taken seriously and you expect staff to attend, then senior management must be first out of the block. Lead and learn from the front; don’t beat from behind.

Fifth: Allow Employees to Rip the Backside Out of the Design and Implementation and Start Again (or Evaluation)

  • Does your organisation hold annual reviews or appraisals?
  • Does it discourage reciprocal, relaxed communication?
  • Are employees’ suggestions relegated to a dusty suggestion box? (Ed: Is that a joke, do people still use them?)
  • Instead, first create an atmosphere and culture where employees give feedback daily.
  • Then and only then can you ask for specific feedback on all learning initiatives.

This blog post is based on the complimentary principles of honesty, enablement and permission. If a learning professional was to be converted into a fly on the wall, what would they see? What would they hear?

If you need help with transforming your organisation into the type of place where management learns from the front and all employees become engaged from the start, contact us.

Multiple Intelligence Theory and Recruitment

Is Multiple Intelligence Just a Theory? Well, it turns out that some people are better suited to some jobs than others. Who knew?! For example, how’d you feel if someone told you that you had to sell 49 mortgages in one week? I once tried to be a Youth Worker, but after eight months of trying I realised I was just not the rah-rah type (extrovert) required. And, no amount of squirming pretence would help. Allen once tried a Sales Consultant job. He left after a day!

What Is Multiple Intelligence Theory?

Howard Gardner, Professor of Education at Harvard, first popularised the idea that IQ was too limited a measurement of intelligence and instead promoted his Multiple Intelligence Theory. It sets forth a pleasing list of categories, a few of which anyone might possess, and provides scientific solace for those who were haughtily labelled “slow”, “dull”, “distracted”, “better suited to a manual job”, “quiet” or “not really suited for academia”. Each is more of an aptitude or attraction, the encouragement and development of which in early learning and later in the workplace may result in an intelligent person who is highly skilled, as well as comfortable and even happy, in their work.

So What Type of Multiple Intelligence Do You Possess?

This is Gardner’s full list, along with a brief definition of each. He said that traditional education typically homes in on the first two, linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence (hence the well-known, but badly named, “three Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic”).

In the real world, we prize those who can express themselves well (particularly in person) and those who can think logically. However, this ignores the vast range of human capability. Consider someone who is able to express themselves on canvas but is not necessarily comfortable with publicity. Or think of a talented singer who is not quite so adept at remembering to plan to pay his bills?

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)

If you can communicate well, influence others, get people to notice you, enrapture an audience orally or in writing, you have made an impact and will be lauded for your intelligence, even if that is not how it is commonly labelled. Orators have long been celebrities of a kind the modern-day variations include entrepreneurs, inspirational speakers and even linguistically-gifted religious leaders. Even successful authors though pigeon-holed as lacking in social skills have fans queuing up to purchase their latest tome.

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Those who are good with numbers, particularly with a scientific bent, are typically represented in the media as glasses-wearing, bookish types who crunch numbers for fun. They are worshipped for skills of which others can only dream of and provide merriment in movies for those whose understanding ends at the minutae of actors’ lives. Yet without such, we’d not have neither science nor inventions. And, it turns out Spocks have emotions too!

Yet, there are others who, while they may be praised, are not quite so prized or talked about in terms of “intelligence”.

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

Do you know someone who can look at a map and rotate it in their head? Conversely, do you know someone who always takes the wrong route after coming out of a building? Is there someone in your life who possess the uncanny ability tell the time without having looked at a clock for hours? Knowing where you are in the world in space and time, and being able to use this special power, is called spatial intelligence.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)

Are you aware of any famous sportspeople? Are they called “intelligent” or are they instead fawned over by amateurs, fans and media alike for their “skill”? Have you ever watched a lumberjack or a farmer? It is a beautiful thing to behold their respect for wildness or life and their unity with the earth. This is another type of intelligence, and it is not something just anyone can either possess or manufacture, much less harness.

Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

Think of someone you know not necessarily a celebrity musician who can play more than one instrument, turn their hand to new ones with relative ease, and who may also write their own music. This is musical intelligence. This person will almost certainly have been told that they needed to “get a real job” at some point. You may also find that their life is a little chaotic, a much-maligned trait that seems to manifest itself in the artistic, or creative, more than most.

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)

Do you know someone who seems to have a gift fo hospitality? And, who makes you feel right at home, whether on the golf course or at a large gathering where you feel like you are the only one there? And, who not only knows the social queues and mores, but even sets the tone for an evening? Are they able to influence and persuade and not always necessarily with pure motives? This is called interpersonal intelligence and it must be wielded with great wisdom.

Intrapersonal intelligence (Self Smart)

You’ll also know a really intense person, perhaps someone who seems to live in their head? Or, do you know someone who is so self-aware, it might even become debilitating (shyness)? What about that unusual child you know, who seems to possess such self-awareness, they seem like old souls? Intrapersonal intelligence is the skill of knowing yourself. In our look at me, self-promotional, extroverted-oriented world, it can feel that it is a skill that very few possess.

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

Do you know someone who is more at home in the great outdoors than inside? Do they relax by booking a walking or adventure holiday? Are they inspired by explorers or animals? Does your social circle joke about how they could survive an apocalypse? This type of person probably possesses naturalist intelligence. They simply have a fascination and aptitude for all things outdoors and will feel caged and oppressed in a job that requires them to be sitting for long periods of time, inside.

We’re challenging the limiting myths and prejudices around inteligence this month on our Sensei Facebook page. Check it out and share some of our home-made memes!

And, Your Team? Are Your Harnessing Their Multiple Intelligence to Its Best Effect?

While education has some way to go in catching up with Gardener and his successors, who have developed their own variations on his mutiple intelligence theory, we can adapt our workplaces now to hire and develop the right people.

  • Have you ever wondered why your sales people aren’t performing as well as others?
  • Have you ever watched a trainer struggle to feel comfortable infront of a room of new trainees?
  • Is your accounts person just a little disorganised?

It’s possible that each of these people is in the wrong role. You cannot always put it down to the “wrong personality”, “inexperience” or “laziness”. It could be that your hiring and training practices are out of date.

Are You Recruiting and Developing People with the Right Multiple Intelligence for the Role?

  • Rewrite job role descriptions that match required and desired skills and knowledge to multiple intelligences
  • Rejig job application procedures to discover what type of intelligence applicants possess before you meet them
  • Modify the interview process to remove time-wasting questions that are easily answered by reading the application form or CV and instead devise ways to explore that person’s intelligence in relation to the role
  • Recruit the right people with particular aptitudes and skills for specific roles
  • Provide training that takes advantages of each person’s intelligence

Contact us to help you adapt your recruitment, selection and training processes to ensure that you get the right person for the role and that you develop and take full advantage of the specific multiple intelligence they possess.

Never Mind the Three Rs – What About The Three Cs?

So I ‘m sick to death of hearing about the golden age of learning when pupils were taught the ‘3 R ‘s ‘ of reading, writing and arithmetic even though only one of them starts with ‘r ‘. So much for the golden age.

I ‘ve got a better idea. What about the ‘3 C ‘s ‘ of comprehension, calculation and confidence?

Comprehension is more important than spelling or grammar, because it deals with meaning, with ideas, which should be what language is all about. It ‘s not an end in itself; its purpose is to carry thought from one brain to another. I had a teacher who made us memorise multi-syllablled words when we had no notion of their sense or significance. What a complete and painful waste of time!

Continue reading “Never Mind the Three Rs – What About The Three Cs?”

Teach Skills, Not Subjects!

The title to this blog has been my personal mantra for many a year now. It started as a suspicion in the back of my mind as I pondered my own wasted school experience. But now I’m ready to shout it to all who want to listen.

Traditional education is a failure because its focus is on teaching information about subjects. We are expected to memorise this information and then regurgitate it in an artificial exam setting. Our reward for this exercise in tedium is a pretty bit of paper certificate. The actual information we forget at our earliest possible convenience. Any skills we happen to pick up that might be of use after school are secondary, almost an accidental by-product of the process. Continue reading “Teach Skills, Not Subjects!”

Safeguarding Children Online

Parents, guardians, teachers, youth workers, healthcare professionals and others who have responsibilities for safeguarding children online are often flummoxed when it comes to the web.

Do you feel lost, left behind and clueless? Are you frightened that kids seems to know more than you do?

We are designing a series of workshops for adults who are responsible for safeguarding children online or empowering them with knowledge (teachers, parents, guardians and youth workers). Initially there are two workshops: Kids and the Web and Teens and the Web. We can also provide age-appropriate workshops for children and young people.

Click to read more about Safeguarding Children Online

Knowledge is the Key: How to Learn and Study (Workshop)

Are you frustrated that no-one ever showed you how to learn? This workshop will teach you the skills of study.

  • How do you ‘speed read ‘?
  • Are there writing conventions and guidelines?
  • How do you influence, argue and analyse when reasoning?
  • What is the value of learning styles, mind maps and memory techniques?

This workshop is for lifelong learners and students of all sorts.

We are running a workshop on Saturday, 01 May at 09:30-16:30 at QUB.

Speaker: Allen Baird.

To book a place, phone the School of Education (Open Learning) on 028 9097 3539/3323 or email