Every time I receive an invite for an online event that I’m interested in, I sign up, don’t attend the broadcast, and listen later to the recording. Listening to the recording later has many advantages. Not only can I watch the recording when it fits best in my calendar. I can replay parts of it if I want, pause to take notes or skip forward. I can replay it slightly faster.
If there is going to be little interaction or none at all, and the class is not custom-tailored for a specific occasion, it makes no sense to have it in real time, synchronously.
Apple’s got it. Even after the pandemic, Apple WWDC keynotes are now pre-recorded from start to finish. And they are great. They can afford to invest in production, and the Apple Campus makes a great setting. They still promote them as an event that starts at a specific date and time because it helps build up tension, and they always make important announcements. But even so, all of it is pre-recorded, and the event date is just the date when the event is going to be available online.
What about Q&A? Questions and Answers can also be done asynchronously. You can collect online the best questions and give them thoughtful answers, and publish them online for others to see. You can use those questions to make the next version of the video even better.
The obstacle to changing from sync to async is that we’ve been doing things synchronously for as long as we can remember. We still associate synchronously with being in the same room, which is no longer always the case.
Now that the pandemic is almost over some people feel the urge to go back to the way things were done before, no matter what. Be bold enough to ask if there are better ways to do things.