Why webinars are so great!

The Welsh Government recently held a webinar about the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) consultation. WIMD is the Welsh Government’s official measure of relative multiple deprivation for small areas in Wales and in November 2013 we launched a consultation on proposed indicators for WIMD 2014. Prior to WIMD 2008, we held consultation events in north and south Wales. These events were an opportunity to explain to users what was being proposed and the reasons for selecting specific indicators. However, events can be costly and resource-intensive.

So on this occasion, we opted to hold a webinar instead!

What are webinars and how do they work?

  • A webinar is an online seminar. They are easy to set up and easy to join.
  • We used GoToWebinar. As many as 100 people can join to watch the webinar.
  • No specialist software is needed for the host or attendees – you just need a laptop/computer/tablet with internet access and a phone. There is also an option of using a webcam if you wish.
  • The attendees can see the slides of the presentation and hear the voice of the host live, without moving from their desk! They can also ask questions, either by typing them or asking them verbally.
  • The session can be recorded – this enables you to circulate the presentation with commentary to anyone who could not attend.

 How it went

We held two Webinars and both went smoothly with minimal technical issues. There were 22 attendees in total. In both webinars we found that people typed their questions rather than ask verbally – perhaps this was because most people had prepared their questions in advance. However, this did mean that the webinar didn’t feel as interactive as a meeting.

We found it helpful to sign in to the webinar as a guest on an additional tablet. This meant that we could see exactly what other webinar attendees saw and could check that everything worked as it should.

During the webinar you have the option of running interactive polls. To gauge how the attendees felt about the Webinar, we asked “Was the Webinar sufficient for your needs?” – 100% of those who answered selected ‘Yes’.

Lessons learned

Webinars are not a replacement for face-to-face user meetings and presentations – we still held presentations for some key users groups. However, for stakeholders who have an interest in learning more about a specific topic, within a limited amount of time and without having to leave their office, webinars are ideal.

We definitely recommend you give webinars a go – they are easy, informative and could save valuable time and resources.