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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 182-183

Webinars/Online seminars – Against

Department of Pediatric Surgery, Aster Medcity Hospital, Kochi, Kerala, India

Date of Submission04-Jul-2022
Date of Decision08-Jul-2022
Date of Acceptance11-Jul-2022
Date of Web Publication29-Aug-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ashok Rijhwani
Department of Pediatric Surgery and Pediatric Urology, Aster Medcity Hospital, Kuttisahib Road Cheranelloor, South Chittoor, Kochi - 682 027, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JME.JME_82_22

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How to cite this article:
Parveen A, Rijhwani A. Webinars/Online seminars – Against. J Med Evid 2022;3:182-3

How to cite this URL:
Parveen A, Rijhwani A. Webinars/Online seminars – Against. J Med Evid [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Oct 5];3:182-3. Available from: http://www.journaljme.org/text.asp?2022/3/2/182/354993

  Introduction Top

Seminars conducted over website platforms, using the Internet are called webinars.[1] In early 2020, the whole world was overwhelmed by COVID-19, giving rise to restrictions to physical and social interaction. Webinars were the only viable and easily available solution to communicate and circulate scientific information. The transition of teaching from face-to-face communication to teaching on online platforms was seen worldwide. If we look at the strengths and weaknesses of webinars, one would find that the use of webinars would be confined to relatively few situations.

We have briefly outlined the disadvantages of webinars.

Feeling of dehumanisation

Presenting to a machine sounds less exciting than presenting in front of live audience. Even with great microphones and audiovisual tools, the presenter will miss the visual, non-verbal and subtle verbal cues that come with face-to-face communication. The presenter cannot utilise his body language to the fullest potential, to highlight certain information and he or she fails to form an emotional connection with audience. Moreover, there was increased boredom noticed with increase in the number of webinars.[2]

Lack of control over the environment

In live interactions, the presenter holds control over the environment and space making sure there are no distractions. This allows smooth delivery of knowledge. On the other hand, in the case of a webinar, participants could be at home, office or even on way to the office. Webinars give them an option to turn off their microphones or cameras, directly affecting the quality of the meeting.

Teamwork at stake

It has been proved conclusively that learning by doing is more efficient in improving memory and engaging the candidates. Teamwork enables participants to better understand complicated or ambiguous concepts and is open to complicated discussions.

Teamwork is compromised in webinars. The bond that develops in working as a team and delivering the best quality services is very much lacking in online platforms.

Technical obstacles

It is a bit challenging for old scholars to get along with technology. Moreover, sometimes not all participants can follow the speed and be at ease with technology. Good Internet speed is essential for live sessions. On both sides, for the speaker and for the participants, having good Internet speed is mandatory. Poor quality or interruptions in audio and video can create a gap in communication and confusion among the participants.

'Technology is great – when it works'. The upshot is, when technology does not work, it can be troublesome. Unexpected technical issues such as incapable computers of participants, a slow or weak Internet connection is difficult to deal with even after multiple practice sessions. Digital technology development varies widely from country to country, leading to a huge divide in the availability of these sessions. On the African continent, for example, penetration of Internet access is a real problem, making webinars and online teaching a non-starter.


Long screen time on computers and mobile phones comes with a package of health hazards.[3] Sleep disturbances, anxiety, stress, depression, self-doubt and vision problems are a few of them.

Age and gender

It was observed that preferences with regard to the duration of the webinar were influenced by age and gender. Women prefer to attend webinars for a shorter duration. Younger audiences prefer webinars of a shorter duration compared to older audiences. This can result in inconvenience among the speakers with regard to the quality and suitability of content.[1]

Limitations of the webinar in the medical field

In the field of medical specialities, webinars are used for short-term teaching courses, international and national conferences or local meetings.

William Osler said, 'Medicine is learned by the bedside and not in the classroom'.[4] Surgical residents, especially, experienced a negative effect in surgical training during COVID-19. Most of them complained about increased stress and anxiety and there was a spike in drinking habits.[5] With this in mind, it is evident that there has always been better quality learning in wards, outpatient departments or operation theatre, than on the Internet. Yes, webinars can be used as complementary to the regular teaching methods, but not a replacement.

There is a study that shows there was a spike in meetings attended by physicians in the initial 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.[6],[7] However, after the honeymoon phase with technology, 75.5% of doctors felt overburdened with frequent meetings. More than half (52.7%) surveyed, attended <25% of meetings invited. This is not surprising, considering the sudden plethora of webinars being conducted, let to the quality being compromised. A majority (73.3%) also felt the need for further improvised regulation in webinars. About 62.8% agreed on webinars not being a good replacement for face-to-face meetings.[7]

  Conclusions Top

In the field of medicine and medical specialities remote learning has huge disadvantages and is suboptimal when it comes to the delivery of information.

Webinars and online teaching had a brief and transient role to play in the dissemination of information during the unusual scenario of lockdowns during the pandemic. Now, that it is past us, it is best that we reserve these modes of teaching for unusual scenarios, for example, to incorporate people from different parts of the world on the teaching panel.

Ultimately, there is no comparison to the energy, motivation and lively experience of live session meetings and discussions.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Priatmoko S, Hossain B, Rahmawati W, Winarno SB, Dávid LD. Webinar among Indonesian academics during Covid-19, embracing the audiences. PLoS One 2022;17:e0265257.  Back to cited text no. 1
Gupta R, Naik BN, Ganesh V, Singh A, Soni SL, Puri GD. Evaluation of utility and usefulness of webinars on COVID-19 management: A questionnaire-based survey. Ain Shams J Anesthesiol 2021;13:67.  Back to cited text no. 2
Wroclawski M, Heldwein FL. Editorial Comment: Digital physician burnout in the “New normal” workplace. J Endourol 2021;35:885-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
Craig MS. William Osler: A life in medicine. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2001;3:145.  Back to cited text no. 4
Alam P, Salimi A, ElHawary H, Sioufi K, Papanastasiou C, Thibaudeau S. The effects of COVID-19 on Canadian surgical residents' education and wellness. Can Med Educ J 2022;13:50-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
Mishra D, Nair AG, Verma L, Grover AK, Mathur S, Srivastav T. The perceived impact of webinars during the COVID.19 pandemic: A survey of ophthalmology trainees from India. Oman J Ophthalmol 2021;14:78-84.  Back to cited text no. 6
  [Full text]  
Ismail II, Abdelkarim A, Al-Hashel JY. Physicians' attitude towards webinars and online education amid COVID-19 pandemic: When less is more. PLoS One 2021;16:e0250241.  Back to cited text no. 7


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