What do all these things have in common: ghosts, zombies, werewolves, virtual events, witches, and vampires? While one of these is not like the others, all of them can be scary to continuing education professionals.
According to the 2018 Tagoras Virtual Events Report, there are still organizations with concerns about embracing the online event format. About 32.8 percent of survey respondents see one or more significant barriers to offering a virtual event. Complexity of technology tops the list of concerns with 76.2 percent citing this reason.
We understand that finding the right technology to support your virtual event initiative can be intimidating, so here are some tips on what to look for in a system that will calm your fears.
- Flexibility – Flexibility in a platform is crucial. Even if you are not going to start out doing both live online events and on-demand right away, you want a system that has the flexibility in content delivery functionality to grow with you as your organization expands into new mediums. I recommend finding a solution that can support live event hosting, along with on-demand, in the same platform. Consolidating systems can save money, create more efficiencies for your team, and make life easier for your learners.
- Interactivity – Interactivity is a core component that learners believe they will miss out on by attending an event online versus in person. It’s important to understand what features are available in a platform and what items you’ll want to incorporate, so the online experience engages your audience. Does the system have Q&A, polling, surveys, and chat opportunities, for example? What will help you achieve your desired user experience?
- Scalability – Scalability should be considered up front when choosing a technology provider. Considering how you want to grow may be scary to think about when you’re buying a solution, but you do not want to be shortsighted. Remember, you don’t have to launch everything all at once; prioritize where you want to start with your online learning initiative, while considering where you want to be long term. Ask yourself: How will we want to grow this program and what tools do we need to get there?
- Integration capabilities – You may have systems, like your association management software (AMS), that you want to integrate with your learning management system (LMS). I recommend having integration conversations early on in your research to understand what it would take to implement an integration. Make sure to discuss end-user flow, cost of integration, and time investment from your team. Having points of integration established, such as single sign-on, order integration, and credit integration, can make life easier for your learners and your team.
- Tools for repurposing – Many of you have small teams, so you need a system that enables you to repurpose content with ease. Freestone LMS, for example, has a tool for scheduling rebroadcasts with a few quick steps. This will help you get more views on your original programs. Freestone also has a clip editor, which makes it very easy to create nano-learning courses from any of your long-form content.
- Supporting services – Another thing that can make your life easier is learner support. You and your team should be focused on what matters most: the content. Therefore, you want to make sure you have experts available to answer support inquiries and assist your learners with troubleshooting. Also, consider the production services that are available from vendors. Are they able to come onsite and capture or stream your programs?
For more tips that will take the fear out of delivering virtual events, check out the Delivering the In-Person Learning Experience Online whitepaper.