How often do you find yourself saying, “That looks like a great session, I’ll purchase the archive and watch it later.” It sounds like a solid plan, but when it comes down to it, how many times do you actually go back and watch that archive? Your days quickly get busy with new projects that require your immediate attention, deadlines get pushed up, and emails come in marked urgent. All of a sudden that archive ends up on the back burner and it doesn’t take long before it’s completely off your radar.
When you do come across the recording weeks later – likely while looking for something else – it has somehow lost its appeal. There’s no longer a sense of urgency or excitement to watch it. The session description that first caught your eye now seems outdated and stale. Why is that? It’s the exact same description when it was presented live but now it’s labeled an ‘archive’. By its very definition, that archive recording has become a preserved historical document. In a world of instant gratification, we crave the latest update or most recent version of every product. The same thing applies to information and our never-ending search for knowledge. Yesterday’s news is just that – the archive recording became yesterday’s news the very second the live session ended.
An archive recording can be a great back-up plan when a scheduling conflict or emergency keeps you from participating live, but it’s certainly no substitute. Today’s savvy presenters encourage engagement to drive the conversation, but you can’t steer the conversation from a recording. All you can do is go along for the ride and hope that someone else gave the same input or asked the same question that is in your mind.
Presenters quickly adapted to online instruction by learning to utilize every engagement tool available to them and that includes using breakout sessions for small group discussions and group activities. Breakouts are fantastic networking tools that also optimize idea sharing and problem solving, however they do not show up on the archive. As a viewer, you only get to hear the set-up instructions and then the debriefing, which leaves you out of the complete learning experience. When the recording ends, although you may have gleaned many takeaways, you might still have a feeling that you missed out on something.
When that next session description catches your eye, don’t let it end up on the back burner; give yourself every advantage by participating live! Welcome the interaction in a remote world. And if you happen to receive a free archive recording after the session, consider it a bonus. It never hurts to have a historical record to refer to when you need a quick refresher or you just want to double check a detail.