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Asking the audience questions in webinars

In Jo's recent blog bemoaning the lack of interactivity in webinars, it shocked me to see that 'Asking the audience questions' during the webinar wasn't even an area that was measured

Granted, 52.6% of those polled said they 'showcased audience questions' in webinars but:

1) I don't know what 'showcased' means

2) 52% is a low percentage if the aim of your webinar is engagement.

In rolling out a global programme of online classroom modules, delivered by business people rather than trainers, we had to think long and hard about how to maximise the interactivity and to drive up the level of engagement. Here's what we learned:

1. Prepare people from the outset that there's an expectation they will contribute - signpost your intention to ask for volunteers and your readiness to volunteer someone

2. Have 'Contributions from everyone' as a ground rule for the session and invite people to sign up to this

3. Build in a variety of ways to invite contributions: come off mute; chat; emoticons; wheel of names, popcorn (trainer asks for first person to volunteer, then first person pick the second person - and so on), thumbs up/down coming to those whose name begins with letters A-E and so on

4. Dig a little deeper - e.g. in responding to points raised - say via Chat - take the time to ask questions to deepen your understanding

5. For each exercise, have some pre-prepared debrief questions to get the process rolling

6. Ask questions to encourage recall - in this way the key points are more likely to stick

7. Ask questions to encourage reflection - meaning making is critical for learning

8. Ask questions to prompt application - ensure the time invested in the training reaps rewards

If you've discovered more, please add to these suggestions. 

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  • Amazing insight Ally and I love your numbered list! I think you are spot on!

    Jo and I spend so much time developing interaction in our sessions whether it is a webinar or live online learning session. 

    Points 4-8 can never be disregarded live online! Yet so many people we speak to view it as complicated and additional pressure on the facilitator so limit or remove them from the session!

    Your point 5 we have really put extra time into. Currently many attendees still need to adapt to this new live online modality. For every question we ask we have already prepared what we think the common answers or talking points will be. This allows us to be prepared for those conversations or steer a group in that direction if they need some sign posting to help them. And if it is part of a more structured debrief we have a clear question for it or to start them off as a catalyst for a great group discussion.

    Even in a webinar simply talking at and telling people is not enough now. There is a virtual revolution going on right now and this list from Ally is a great place start to make sure you don't get left behind!

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