GoToWebinar, An Online Meeting and Web Conferencing Tool with Many Features

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GoToWebinar is one of the more challenging tools to set up, but, once completed, reusing preferences and settings is very easy. Customization of the GoToWebinar tool is one of the greatest benefits, including the multiple other features such as polls, quizzes, and reports. Setting up these features can be time consuming, which should be considered when deciding if this tool is right for your organization.

Setting up GoToWebinar is slightly more involved.

GoToWebinar is a bit more complicated to set up than some of the other online meeting and training tools, but that is largely due to the number of options offered. However, the options and preferences utilized for one webinar can be saved for future use. Preferences include choosing template colors and inserting your organization’s logo. The attendee registration page can also be customized to ask attendees whatever questions you would like.

Once preferences have been set up, enter a title and description of the meeting or training as well as the time the event will start. GoToWebinar allows for multiple presenters to take control and show their own screens. The next step is choosing an audio service. GoToWebinar provides a call-in number, but it may be considered long distance depending on where the attendee is located. Additionally, the quality can be rather poor, so this option is not recommended. If you would like to use a 1-800 number, you can set up service with AT&T; or Civicom.

Once you set up your webinar, you are provided a URL to send through email or put in a newsletter. You can also set up automatic email notifications for attendees to receive at the specified time you request.

Click to open interactivity GoToWebinar Setup

GoToWebinar Setup

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GoToWebinar features include polls, quizzes, and surveys.

One of the greatest benefits of GoToWebinar is that you can develop your own polls to display throughout the presentation to keep attendees engaged. Typical polling questions are multiple-choice or multiple response and could be used to gauge interest or knowledge on a topic. Responses are real-time, so you can see how many people have answered before closing the poll to show the results to all participants.

Polls are especially useful when you see the attentiveness rating dip. Attentiveness ratings show when attendees are not on the webinar page. They could be possibly surfing the web or reading email. Another way to keep attendees engaged is through the chat box. If you intend to use all of these engaging features, it may be beneficial to have two people running the session: one person to focus on content delivery and one to focus on managing polls, quizzes, and questions.

You can also set up a quiz or survey with a total of eight questions that can be open-ended, multiple-choice, or scaled. This survey will be sent at the end of the webinar and can function as an evaluation of your training.

Within GoToWebinar, you can also record your training; however, a drawback is that the tool does not host the training on their website like Yugma. Recording files are typically quite large and would most likely require conversion to another file type before posting to your own website. This might require the skills of a technical programmer or administrator of your website.

Finally, the last benefit of GoToWebinar is the reports that are provided after your webinar is complete. The reports include registered attendee information, login time, and duration on the webinar. This can be evaluated to determine at what point people dropped off. It also provides questions asked per attendee, which makes it easy to circle back with participants after the webinar, if needed. Additionally, the report shows attendee attentiveness level. You could set a minimum required attentiveness level if you are certifying attendees through a virtual training. It should be noted that just because the webinar screen is up, it does not account for people on the phone or having side conversations. Finally, reports also indicate poll or survey responses.

Click to open interactivity GoToWebinar Controls

GoToWebinar Controls

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Examine the benefits and drawbacks of GoToWebinar to make an informed decision

GoToWebinar is a flat fee for the month, so you can use it as many times as necessary. A monthly subscription is $99 for 100 attendees. Remember to keep in mind the savings on gas, hotel, food, and time compared to executing in-person training when evaluating the cost of these tools. The cost speaks to the fact that the system is a bit more complicated to use, but this is because of the many options available. GoToWebinar offers a free one month trial so that you could try it out to determine if the many options are worth the cost.

Security rating for GoToWebinar is low, even if you elect to have the password protected option. Consistent with the other tools, you should not have any confidential materials discussed or reviewed during your webinar. In terms of administrative skill required for setup, it is similar to Yugma. For the user, the required skill is lower and is synonymous with someone who is comfortable surfing the internet.

In terms of key benefits, the customization is very nice and the tracking of registration information, attention level, and polls is also a great benefit. The capability to record a session is also nice; however, keep in mind the limitation discussed about posting the sessions due to file size.

For drawbacks, just like with Yugma and Zoho for large group training, you may have to set up a separate conference call line. Additionally, you may need extra equipment for recoding the questions and conversations that occur over the phone. GoToWebinar has a tool that costs $50 that connects your phone to your computer so that it synchronizes the audio with the imagery.

Access the GoToWebinar website here.