Develop Training: Making Your Webinar Engaging

What to know

  • When planning a webinar, you should take steps to make the presentation engaging.
  • Tips include creating a worksheet, converting your presentation into an e-learning module, and using tools available in learning management systems.


Engagement transforms a recorded webinar from informational content to educational content. Your recorded webinar or video can meet one of CDC's Quality Training Standards, specifically #4, with engaging educational content based on adult learning principles. When planning your recording, consider these suggestions to more fully engage your learner.

Imagine your audience

  • Script your presentation as if you are speaking to a few persons who match your audience profile. Practice so that you are comfortable, and your presentation sounds natural.
  • Increase engagement by aligning your questions with relevant learners' needs. If you know that your learners manage programs in local health departments, ask them questions about how they might apply what they learned to their health department program.
  • When presenting, ask open-ended questions then pause for a few seconds, like you are waiting for a response. Then continue with realistic feedback to possible answers to your question.

Realistic Feedback Example

Respond with "You might have correctly suggested [insert common response], but also consider [new information the learner should consider.]"
  • You can also ask a question and instruct your learners to write their responses. Insert a timer on the slide to make the time challenge visible. Allow enough time for a thoughtful response. Do not overuse this technique. Once or twice per recording is ideal. Adult learners are motivated and should rise to the challenge.

Challenge your learners

  • Prompt your learners to keep track of something throughout a segment of the recording. Connect the item to one of your key ideas and make it relevant to your learners.

Learner Challenge Example‎

Ask learners to identify the number of infection prevention procedures mentioned in the recording.
  • Let learners know that their answers will be compared against other learners' responses to generate interest and competition. You can do this by developing a "How Well Did You Do?" slide that ranks potential responses with supportive category labels.

Response Ranking Example‎

1-2 correct answers: a rising star

3-4 correct answers: a bright star
All 5 correct answers: a supernova

Create a worksheet

  • Before recording your webinar, develop a worksheet for your learners to use while viewing the recorded webinar. Cover related topics and include the questions from your worksheet as a part of the script for the webinar.
  • Leave space on the worksheet for your learners to fill in their answers.
  • Be sure to include the questions that you developed in the "Imagine an audience" section in the worksheet. Revisit those questions, sharing optimal answers to guide and engage your learners.
  • Include the worksheet with your recording. Some programs like Adobe Connect or CDC TRAIN allow training developers to include the worksheet as supplemental material within the recording room or platform.

Create a time stamp document

A time stamp document is a timeline with topics identified by the time they appear in the video. Providing a time stamp document along with the posted companion worksheet, or adding time stamps to the worksheet, allows learners to review the recorded webinar for specific topics easily and have greater control of their learning experience.

Time Stamp Example‎

2:47 COVID-19 symptoms

4:20 Infection control actions

Transform your video into an e-learning course

This suggestion requires a technical skill set but may be the most engaging.

  • Use software like PowerPoint, Captivate, Lectora, or Storyline 360 to convert your recording into an e-learning course. As your video plays, pop-up screens can appear at timed intervals that require your learners to react to and engage with the information.
  • The pop-ups can be knowledge-check questions, infographics that highlight key points, or a data entry screen that requires your learners to input information. This technique also provides a way for learners to review previously presented material easily. If learners answer a question incorrectly, they are returned to the point in the video where the material was covered. This technique moves engagement from external sources like the worksheet or time stamp document into the video.

Use engagement features available in your learning management system

If you list or host your recording on a learning management system (LMS), you can facilitate engagement through LMS tools.

  • Use a course discussion board. Add prompt questions to get conversations started. Encourage your learners to provide feedback and share questions or ideas with others.
  • Include supplemental materials like the worksheet or time stamp document as resources in the recording listing. Instruct your learners to use the documents as they view the recording.
  • Add a pre-test and post-test to assess your learner's' knowledge. Use the feedback features to reinforce learning that occurred in the recorded webinar.

CDC uses TRAIN as its LMS to share public health trainings. If you have a public health webinar recording you would like to share in TRAIN, contact the Public Health Foundation.