A virtual event can be laced with different activities, but at its center is the learning experience. Learning is one of the major aspects that draws attendees to events. To provide maximum value and create immersive learning experiences during your event, you should deliver content in ways that are most accessible to your audience.

In this article, we will consider some content types you can include when planning your virtual event, and how you can use them to foster quality learning during your event. The content types to consider include:

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Pre-recorded Content

Pre-recorded content serves dual purposes in a virtual event: it can be streamed during sessions as part of the event agenda or uploaded on the event platform as on-demand content.

Streamed Content

You might stream pre-recorded content during your event sessions for a variety of reasons. One of them is to have smooth presentations. Things can go wrong during a live virtual presentation, such as a connectivity problem from a speaker’s end. However, when the session has been pre-recorded, you are not likely to experience those challenges.

Pre-recorded content is also a plus during events because it enhances the attendee viewing experience. At in-person events, onstage special effects typically provide an ‘electrifying’ atmosphere that is more challenging to execute in a virtual event. However, pre-recorded content gives you the opportunity for post-production effects that will amaze your attendees.

Streaming pre-recorded content during an event can also create an experience that allows speakers to interact with the audience via live chat. Speakers can make additional comments through the chat, provide clarification, and answer questions while the presentation is ongoing.

On-Demand Content

The purpose of creating on-demand content is to allow attendees to watch additional content at their convenience on the virtual event platform or mobile event app. Due to time constraints, not all important content can be consumed during the virtual event schedule. Therefore, some content that can’t be included in the agenda can be made available on-demand.

Another positive reason to make content available on-demand is to provide the opportunity for people who may not be able to join the virtual sessions to have something to fall back on.

Therefore, on-demand content can also be an integral part of event sessions that were pre-recorded and made available later. Other examples of on-demand content are interviews, documentaries, and showcase videos.

Live-streamed Presentations

Without live presentations, your virtual event may be more static, and your attendees may not find the viewing experience much different from consuming typical video content. Live presentations provide immediacy; your audience views it as it happens. They also provide opportunities for interaction between the speakers and the audience. The speaker can pause intermittently to take questions and poll the audience to get feedback.

Live presentations can be talking heads or on-screen presentations— or a combination of both.

Talking Head

Some presentations are better streamed with the camera focused on the speaker. This approach is ideal for presentations that do not require illustrations, or if the speaker is speaking freely and animatedly about their experience, in which case they may not need slides.

On-Screen Presentation

Some presentations require illustrations such as images, graphs, and statistics. Alternatively, maybe your speaker prepared slides, ordered chronologically in which their thoughts are chronologically arranged. In this case, on-screen presentations are preferable. Integrate both presentation approaches by providing a view of their face along with their slides.

Creating a Live Stage for Virtual Presentations

Without high-quality videos, sound, and good background, streaming can come across as poor quality. And unfortunately, poor quality can lead to a diminished learning experience for the audience. To prevent those kinds of experiences,, consider streaming key event presentations from the same location. This approach allows for a proper event stage or background set-up and lets you all the tools you need in one place.

For presenters that may be far away, provide them with audio, sound, and background requirements with which they should make their presentations, and run some trial sessions before the event date.

Panel Discussions

Another form of learning during events is panel discussions. They offer attendees the chance to learn from different perspectives and experiences, as a moderator engages a panel of experts. One challenge with panel discussions, however, is in engaging the audience. This is both true for in-person events and digital experiences. Below are some suggestions to make panel discussions engaging and impactful during a virtual event.

Provide a Strong Panel Moderator

You need a moderator that can manage conversation with the panel of experts to create a cohesive experience for both the panel and the audience. To foster a memorable discussion, the moderator should consider the panel and the audience as guests that need to be entertained. Therefore, the moderator should understand what resonates with the audience and the strength of each expert on the panel. This knowledge will help stir up discussions that will raise the curiosity of the audience as well as create excitement.

 Interact with the Panel Beforehand

Once the panel has been selected, the moderator should interact with them ahead of the event to discuss the questions. The moderator can prepare a list of questions and send it to members of the panel to choose from. Before the time of the discussion, the moderator and panel can be in a chat room to warm up before coming to the spotlight.

Allocate Time and Effectively Manage Transitions

Timing has to be reasonable to keep the audience engaged. Allocate time to each panel member for each question and response. The moderator should also manage the transition by making additional comments that help the audience connect the thoughts together.

The audience should have some idea about where the discussions are heading. At the end of the discussions, the moderator should give a summary and highlight the key takeaways from the discussion.

 You can have a mix of different content types and presentation formats during your event. The most important thing is to make them accessible to audiences in ways that enhance their event experience. When you create a memorable event experience through quality content delivery, you will boost attendee retention at your events.

About the Author:

Pathable contributed this guest post.


Jordan Schwartz is president and co-founder of Pathable, an event app and website platform for conferences and tradeshows. He left academic psychology for the lure of software building, and spent 10 years at Microsoft leading the development of consumer-facing software. Frustrated with the conferences he attended there, he left Microsoft in 2007 with the goal of delivering more value and better networking opportunities through a next-generation conference app. Jordan moonlights as a digital nomad, returning often to his hometown of Seattle to tend his bee hives.


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