The Dental Channel webinar, better and cheaper delivery

by | Apr 24, 2009 | Articles

Dental professionals must remain up to date with the latest developments in dentistry; in this as in many other professions the pace and change of innovation is high. How do busy professionals find the time to invest in learning and save an estimated 1/4 million pounds across the profession. The answer is a webinar programme run by the Dental Channel.

The Dental Channel is a winner of the e-Learning Award 2008 for synchronous delivery of learning; there were previously a winner for widespread adoption of e-learning in 2005 for CD-Rom programmes and offer a wealth of learning material, online and on CD to a user base of 7,000 dental professionals. The Webinar programme builds on the success of these programmes, a loyal user base and adds the important ingredient of interaction.

Starting in July 2006 a monthly live programme has been delivered directly to dentists, it is now extended to technicians and nurses. Sessions are delivered using WebEx; regarded as one of the product leaders for web conferencing services.  The experience of the Dental Channel is that WebEx is very easy to use and trainers can quickly convert from classroom or conference delivery to live web conferencing.  Presentations can be prepared in PowerPoint with the addition of image, audio and video files being added to meet the design of the classroom session.  As with all synchronous learning the collaboration between presenters and learners and between learners and learners is an essential feature of the interaction.  All learners value conversation with other learners at synchronous events.

Interactive sessions are delivered at various times that are convenient to work schedules; dentists participate individually from home in the evening, both those in the UK and overseas.  The style is that of a traditional lecture usually with PowerPoint presentations as the main presentation media.  The chat and Q & A panels provide feedback and the opportunity to ask questions.  Other visual aids are also used. Unlike a conventional lecture participants can submit questions privately that can be answered privately.  Those with microphones can ask questions and if they are using a web cam other participants can see them. Sessions are edited to provide an ”on-demand webinar”. A big advantage is that participants can see dental procedures in close up more easily.

Along the way the Dental Channel has picked much useful guidance on how to run this type of programme effectively and the download supplies more details.

The business return is also significant. The comparative cost of delivering the same volume of training just to dentists only by traditional conferences and face-to-face sessions is estimated at £280,000 with webinar delivery costs estimated at less than £30,000. In addition training has been delivered to those who might otherwise not receive it; dental nurses most noticeable who attend webinar sessions in their lunch time.

Several lessons have been learnt. The download lists ten top tips but three of them are: domestic broadband is capable of delivering webinars, it is wise to offer telephone conferencing facilities, use the assets you have for existing face-to face sessions (both people and visual material).

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