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When to use and when not to use webinars

Since webinars are predominantly one-way with some feedback (although they can include several speakers), they are best for lecturing to a live audience.
The ideal webinar is a teacher lecturing to a 20-strong or larger audience, while the audience asks questions with text. The lecturer reviews the questions at will and might give several audience members right to speak up so that everyone can hear them.

Also, webinars are relatively cheap (however, never free) to produce and hold. Their live streaming properties letone use consumer-level hardware (i. e. webcams, laptops, tablet computers, even smartphones) on both the audience side and the lecturer side. With live interaction, users never expect high quality of production, professional lighting, editing, sound and other benefits of pre-authored multimedia courses. Webinars are the best option for a course heavily based on audience feedback or the moods and momentary thoughts of the lecturer (there are teaching styles that heavily rely on that kind of behavior).

Webinars are not too good when we talk about one-on-one classes or other highly-interactive activities. Although some webinar providers offer multi-video-webinars and multi-screen video conference, it’s extremely hard to develop a viable teaching framework for that kind of interactivity.

Also, webinars wouldn’t be a wise decision for highly standardized, strictly planned and low-feedback courses and lectures. When a teacher sticks to the plan, uses the same classic examples again and again, and asks questions merely at the end of the lecture, it’s always better to involve an authoring team and produce a multimedia course.

And finally, at this point there are no reliable webinar solutions that can be used for free. Since the technology involves heavy use of mass content distribution, high levels of traffic and sophisticated server hardware, it all has to be paid for. And although a monthly fee for a standard webinar platform rarely exceeds $80, it still remains inaccessible to the free-only education initiatives.