How AllPlay Web goes beyond polling to create interactive webinar experiences.
When LearningWare first saw the need for more engaging webinars, we did a lot of research into what was already out there. Our experiences with webinars thus far had left us flat. For the most part, they were just another presentation as usual; only there was no accountability, no interaction, and no effort made to re-focus attention.
We did find that there was a measure in place in some webinar technology (i.e. Webex, Gotomeeting, etc.) attempting to solve this problem: polling.
But polling has been around since the advent of webinars, and it hadn’t yet solved the problem of disengagement. Polling is a nice start, but it only goes a portion of the way in creating truly interactive webinars—whereas game-based technologies (like AllPlay Web) are a revolutionary tool in the webinar space.
Why is this such a radical shift from simple polling technology? Well, there are five major differences between polling and playing in a webinar:
Yes, polling can show how many people answered a question a certain way—but to what end? The score in a game format is added question-by-question, keeping the attendees invested in the game. This cumulative score also allows a presenter to reward attendees based on their total answers throughout the webinar. (This reward may be as simple as prestige or praise, but it can also be something like a small gift certificate or promotional item.)
Concrete scoring can also allow presenters to track how much everyone is learning and retaining.
Competition engages webinar attendees like nothing else. There are now stakes involved in answering questions (whether the aforementioned reward is valuable or not). When attendees know that they’re going to be tested on the material—and that they’re going to be competing with peers—they have an incentive to pay close attention to the content at hand.
People are naturally competitive—whether playing by themselves or in teams—and a game format capitalizes on this friendly competition to wholly captivate a webinar audience.
Unlike polling—game formats like AllPlay Web allow people to play in teams. This is significant for a few reasons:
- The team structure makes attendees accountable to their peers. One doesn’t want to be “that guy” who lowers the team score—so they engage with the webinar content.
- When people are grouped together they are more invested in interaction. They’ll speak up, participate, and become active attendees.
- In a team, an attendee is no longer one person in a sea of dozens or hundreds. The team allows for a small-group experience—even in a large webinar.
- Teams build relationships and networking. Even if a group is scattered across the globe, being on a team will allow them to interact with their peers on a personal level that one usually doesn’t get in a webinar.
Unlike a poll—which doesn’t have a particular structure throughout the webinar—a game can frame a webinar presentation. Ask questions at the beginning to preview information, then pause the game and go into content. Use the game again to bring up and teach additional points. Then elaborate more on presentation content. Then, wrap up the webinar with a final, rousing game round—reviewing the content.
Not only does it keep attendees engaged (and attendees need to be reengaged every 5-7 minutes), but it’s continually reinforcing key points—boosting the learning potential in a webinar.
5. Visual Appeal
A webinar is a visual medium—hosts can put a lot of work into their PowerPoint presentations and graphics. Most existing polling functionality in a webinar is very rudimentary. The game format is visually captivating, and allows hosts to add graphics, sounds and a game feel that reengages attendees.
Don’t get us wrong—we believe that polls have their time and place (which is why we’ve included a polling feature within the AllPlay Web software—that merges smoothly with the game questions). Sometimes you want to solicit opinions where there is no right-wrong answer. Sometimes you might just want to throw out a single, quick question. There’s no denying that polling software is useful and a step up from no interaction—it’s just not a fraction as engaging as a game format.