Webinars hit the spot – the added value of Virtual learning

20 March 2019
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CIDT has delivered 32 online webinars across 19 countries to 450 participants as part of a Project Cycle Management training programme for the Caribbean Development Bank.

The value of having pre and post training activities has long been recognised. With improved technology and easy interactive communications blended learning approaches are now becoming increasingly common.  

Known as “Virtual Learning Symposiums” CIDT’s interactive webinars took place 6 to 8 weeks after completion of face-to-face training. The webinar objective was to recap key messages from training and to offer participants the opportunity to reflect on the experience of applying training content to their roles and workplaces. CIDT’s Dr Aurelian Mbzibain delivered webinars in French for the Haiti cohort; and Ella Haruna and Des Mahony delivered webinars on project cycle management and train the trainer for most of the English speaking Borrowing Member countries.

CIDT’s head of centre Professor Philip Dearden also delivered a series of webinars for CDB staff:

CIDT staff deliver webinars

“It was really great to be involved with the webinars and to have a personal opportunity to follow up on the post-training activity with the CDB staff. It was also really rewarding, to hear of the progress that individual staff have made with their various post training action plans. It was especially gratifying to hear of the really good progress that being made with revising the CDB Operational Manuals and Project Management Templates.”

The benefits of offering online webinars are multiple; here are a few reasons why CIDT are now using webinars to deliver supplementary training opportunities:

Follow ups to face-to-face training sessions

  • Opportunity to follow up on face-to-face training where participants can offer reflections, ask outstanding questions, or provide feedback.
  • A space where trainers can touch base with participants on recent practice or developments since the face to face training.
  • As a complementary tool to Action Planning webinars allow participants to feedback on the challenges and successes they have encountered in the period following training.

A different approach to learning to suit different learning styles

  • Online webinars offer a myriad of tools and applications to visually enhance participants’ experiences and interactivity.
  • For the learner that learns best by doing or by seeing, tools such as polls can reinforce the message and impact on learning.

 Webinars maintain direct contact with participants and build rapport

  • CIDT finds unique working relationships are forged between fellow participants and trainers in face to face training: the intensity of a dedicated time period combined with the intense transfer of knowledge or skills content creates a unique environment where relationships are formed.
  • Online webinars allow for further exchange and interaction that are built upon those initial relationships.  
  • We can really get to know our audience and tailor webinars to suit their needs.

Participation and Ownership is key to success

  • Physical meetings encourage passive listening, whereas online webinars give participants space to interact with colleagues and trainers to tailor the training experience.   
  • Webinars also allow people to connect from different geographic locations.

 Participant feedback on CDB Virtual Learning Symposiums (webinars):

“This is a great way to express challenges and concerns and to get assistance in addressing issues” (Participant from Antigua and Barbuda).

“I appreciate the continued learning opportunities” (Participant from Antigua and Barbuda).

“The VLS was well adapted to our region and situation so it helped the presentation to be engaging throughout.” (Participant from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines).

“The VLS provided me with a refresher on what was learnt/taught during the face to face. It also allowed for interaction with the tutors as to where we are with our action plans.” (Participant from Saint Lucia).

“I found the VLS to be ideal. More persons can be reached at one time which makes the entire process more efficient.” (Participant from Saint Lucia).

“The VLS provided an excellent opportunity to reflect on the lessons learnt during the face-to-face tutorials and likewise examine the progress of achieving the action plans.” (Participant from Saint Lucia).

“The VLS allowed us to have a really helpful summary and recap of the 8 modules that were delivered”. (CDB staff member reflecting on their recent webinar).

“The interactivity of the VLS was really great – the learning quizzes were really neat.” (CDB staff member reflecting on their recent webinar).