Be Seen: The Pros & Cons of Facilitator Web Camera Use in the Virtual Classroom (Part 2)

October 18, 2016 10:00 by Dana Peters

In our last post, we outlined the pros & cons of using a web camera in your virtual training session and we promised we’d go into a bit more detail in our next post.

Well here we are.

To refresh your memory, the pros & cons list can be found here.

In almost all cases, it won’t be a good idea to put a facilitator on camera the entire length of the virtual session. This is true for a number of different reasons.

First, the bandwidth necessary for a web camera to function, and function properly, is often an obstacle. Even if the connection speed on your end is sufficient, it’s difficult to know with certainty what the internet bandwidth will be like for all of your participants. If this is the case, the value of having the facilitator on camera goes from being an effective enhancement to a frustrating distraction for your participants. This is even more of a concern if you are working globally.

Second, even skilled facilitators will need ample amounts of practice with a web camera in order to effectively deliver a lengthy presentation. There’s nothing natural about it. Engaging with the camera is a skill of its own. This, in addition to ample time to test the camera and set up the facilities workspace will be required in order to make sure lighting and sound quality is up to par.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the use of a web camera adds another layer of complexity to the session delivery that can take away from the goals of the session and meeting the learning objectives.

So when do we recommend having a facilitator use a web camera at certain times?

Yes, there are instances when a webcam, used effectively, adds value.

Introductions

The use of a web camera for facilitator introductions can be an excellent value-add to kick off your virtual session. By allowing a facilitator to virtually “meet” your session participants via a web camera at the beginning of the session, you can create a more personal and intimate bond that can be carried through the remainder of the session.

Q&A

Q&A’s are also great components of a presentation where the web camera can actually bring value and intimacy to the discussion. 

Closing

The same can be true for closing remarks and thank you sections. These sections are typically shorter, so the web camera won’t need large portions of bandwidth for an extended period of time. They are also sections where participants should be focused on the facilitator, not on slides or other course content.

What do you think? Have you successfully utilized a web camera in your virtual training session?

In the coming weeks we will outline a few ‘best practices’ for using a web camera in your virtual training session, but until then we’d like to hear from you. What has worked for your sessions?

 

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