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Table of Contents
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 101-103
 

Corona of Webinars: Therapeutic and toxic effects


1 Department of Neurology, Janakpuri Superspeciality Hospital, Janakpuri, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Cytology, Janakpuri Superspeciality Hospital, Janakpuri, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Pathology, Janakpuri Superspeciality Hospital, Janakpuri, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission09-May-2020
Date of Acceptance09-May-2020
Date of Web Publication22-Jun-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Man Mohan Mehndiratta
Janakpuri Super Speciality Hospital Society, C-2/B, Janakpuri, New Delhi - 110 058
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/aian.AIAN_426_20

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How to cite this article:
Mehndiratta MM, Gulati NS, Das A. Corona of Webinars: Therapeutic and toxic effects. Ann Indian Acad Neurol 2021;24:101-3

How to cite this URL:
Mehndiratta MM, Gulati NS, Das A. Corona of Webinars: Therapeutic and toxic effects. Ann Indian Acad Neurol [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Mar 4];24:101-3. Available from: https://www.annalsofian.org/text.asp?2021/24/1/101/287450




In December 2019, an outbreak of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by a novel coronavirus, now known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first reported in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, China. Within a few months SARS-CoV-2 has spread across China and worldwide, reaching a pandemic level.[1] As COVID-19 has triggered substantial morbidity and socioeconomic impact, all continents necessitated drastic measures, including nationwide lockdown and border closures. Social distancing is mandatory to slow down the spread of the pandemic and reduce the burden on the healthcare system.

But the fact is, human beings are social creatures. We need a range of social stimuli like going out, meeting other people, and doing things together for our mental and social well-being. This sudden sense of social deprivation has created adverse challenges for emotional and mental well-being.[2]

Technology now is playing a vital role to restore some semblance to normalcy. Social connectedness in a virtual setting is growing with people adopting social media and virtual communication technologies. People have literally started finding their “normal world” inside their screens.

Live events, conferences, and in-person meetings are impractical and not possible in today's scenario. People are forced to stay at home or are choosing to stay at their locations to be safe. Webinars (name derived from “web-based seminars”) are turning out to be an interesting and effective way to connect despite the physical separation. Participants and facilitators communicate over the internet either live or as pre-recorded sessions. In live webinars both the audience and the facilitator can write messages into an interactive and real-time.

Webinars are being successfully used in all spheres ranging from education to business to corporate meetings and trainings. Medical field too is fast adopting this technology. Doctors are conducting webinar sessions to ensure enhanced connectivity with their peers. This is a good way to share information, stay abreast with the latest trends and increase productivity and efficiency. Some of these webinars would definitely help connect the right participants and get desired solutions.[3],[4]

We explore a key question in this paper—Are all these webinars delivering their end goals? Do the webinar organizers suffer anxiety of webinar attendance? Are we seeing a “Corona of Webinars” here?

Doctors are constantly barraging and scheduling webinars. At times there are multiple webinars in a day scheduled at the same time. It is difficult to choose and select which one to attend [Figure 1]. The popularity of webinars, low cost, ease of access of software to conduct these webinars combined with the ubiquity of mobile devices is creating a rat race in brainstorming webinar activities online. This is resulting in a situation where we have diarrhea of content but constipation of ideas. It is difficult to properly filter, comprehend, and ultimately act upon knowledge and information being shared. Information bombardment is resulting in loss of focus, disturbed schedule, and decrease in work efficiency. The amount of information exceeds one's cognitive capacity resulting in information overload or infobesity or information anxiety. This is defeating the very purpose of conducting the webinar.[5]
Figure 1: With the advent of the popular webinars, innumerable high yield topics of current relevance are simultaneously being run by various sources across the world, making it difficult for an ardent learner to get connected in active live participation

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Many of these “series of webinars” lack a proper structure and content. Technology also plays a spoilsport particularly in developing and remote areas. Jitter and lag in voice over IP (VOIP) technology, low quality web camera and audio equipment, internet connectivity, hardware or software issues result in participants disconnecting (literally or mentally) from most of the online meetings.

Presenter cannot see or show the body language. She/he has virtually no control over the audience's environment such as lighting and seating, side conversations and disruptions. Definitely webinars have less dynamic and interactive experience and lacks experiential learning.[3],[6]

While conducting a webinar one of the major anxiety for the speaker is to boost attendance, that is, is the number of people who will log in and also stick around long enough and develop a proper interest. So many are using webinar marketing and promotion strategies such as incentives and prizes to boost attendance and promote survey participation. At the same time prizes and incentives also help build goodwill by rewarding participants for their time. Few of the incentives being lucky draw prizes for those who login throughout the webinar, assured gifts for those who answer the questions, and creating an online test and issuing digital certificates to those who take tests [Figure 2].[7]
Figure 2: Different ways in the form of prizes, digital certificates for the winner and various lucrative awards are being practiced attracting participants and increasing the webinar attendance rate

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In conclusion we are of the opinion that webinars are a helpful tool for networking, sharing ideas, and improved patient outcomes. At the same time, for webinars to become a useful tool for improved productivity, we still have a long way to cover. Technology needs to evolve, we need a repository and directory of webinars, doctors need to create a structure and methodology of conducting webinars, and we all need to be more responsible to ensure that it does deliver the value for the time invested. Uncontrolled and mindlessly conducting webinars would defeat the very purpose of conducting these webinars and create a “Corona like situation” for useless content.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Ahn DG, Shin HJ, Kim MH, Lee S, Kim HS, Myoung J, et al. Current status of epidemiology, diagnosis, therapeutics, and vaccines for novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). J Microbiol Biotechnol 2020;30:313-24.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Wang J, Lloyd-Evans B, Giacco D, Forsyth R, Nebo C, Mann F, et al. Social isolation in mental health: A conceptual and methodological review. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 2017;52:1451-61.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Gegenfurtner A, Ebner C. Webinars in higher education and professional training: A meta-analysis and systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Educ Res Rev 2019;28:100293.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Williams BR, Bailey FA, Goode PS, Kvale EA, Slay LA, Bakitas MA, et al. “Online training is great but human interaction is better”: Training preferences of VA interdisciplinary palliative care consult teams [published online ahead of print, 2020 Mar 03]. Am J Hosp Palliat Care 2020;1049909120907599. doi: 10.1177/1049909120907599.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Nematzadeh A, Ciampaglia GL, Ahn YY, Flammini A. Information overload in group communication: From conversation to cacophony in the Twitch chat. R Soc Open Sci 2019;6:191412.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Frehywot S, Vovides Y, Talib Z, Mikhail N, Ross H, Wohltjen H, et al. E-learning in medical education in resource constrained low- and middle-income countries. Hum Resour Health 2013;11:4.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Actualtechmedia.com [Internet] IT Marketing, Webinars. Should You Use Prize Giveaways on Your Webinars & Events?. Available from: https://www.actualtechmedia.com/blog/web  Back to cited text no. 7
    


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