Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Online webinars

So I attended an online webinar today about best practices in webinars. I hoped for the best on this, but of course it was really an infomercial for a webinar provider. That did not disappoint me as much as the fact that the provider trumpeted as a benefit of their program is a feature that tracks attendees window usage.

The system can tell when the presentation window loses focus, i.e., the attendee has shifted to another window, such as his/her email application. Their claim is that this gives the presenter and, in extension, the training department, and idea of the attendees attentiveness to the webinar.

I'm not fully convinced that this is a solid metric because, as I posted in a question to them, which was never answered, some people may have dual monitors or large monitors in which they work and can have two or more applications running at the same time.

Since most webinars rely on PowerPoint presentations is there anything gained by staring blankly at a slide while the presenter speaks? We bill ourselves as a generation that can multitask. Surely I can listen to a presentation, sneak a peak at their current slide, and continue to compose an email or develop my own presentation.

The bottom line is that this attentiveness feature is a web version of measuring "butts in seats," but it is done in real time and changes constantly.

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