"The risk of not trying Session lies in missing out on a meaningful connection with your audience"
These were words spoken by Melissa Emler, Chief Learning Officer at Modern Learners. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with her to discuss how Session has revolutionized her digital learning landscape.
Moving away from the widely-used Zoom, she took a leap into the future of digital interaction, transitioning her courses, webinars, and one-on-one meetings to Session.
Let’s dive in and get into some of the key takeaways from our enlightening chat with Melissa.
First of all, what was Melissa looking for?
Given that Melissa is the expert in online learning and had seen it all when it comes to webinars, courses, and engaging 1-1 meetings, she was very determined to find something with:
- Customization: She mentioned that it is important to make sure you can customize your digital learning environment to match your brand. You will want easy-to-use design features that enable you to update your background, colors, and logos. This allows you to create an environment that is unique and representative of your brand or organization, thereby providing a consistent and professional experience to learners.
- Production Features: Production features are something that Melissa noted time and time again which are vital to ensure a smooth and successful learning experience. You will want to invite co-hosts, grant production controls, and customize layouts and stages to make it as dynamic as possible. These features provide flexibility and control over the learning environment.
- Engagement Features: The one thing that not only Melissa mentioned, but many in the events industry as the cornerstone for a successful event, is engagement. Facilitating interaction and creating a fun and memorable experience helps learners not only complete the lesson, but complete the course. These include confetti bursts, emojis, polls, Q&A sessions, music, timers, and chat banners. These features encourage active participation from learners, making the learning process more dynamic and interactive.
Discovering a new world of engagement
Melissa has been involved in learning for quite some time now.
She started her own company because she felt that many were focused on teaching, rather than learning. She saw that this style wasn't moving the needle and they decided to change the game and hone in on learning.
She was used to Zoom but found that folks were getting bored and fatigued, especially in the pandemic.
After using Hopin Events for some larger scale conferences, Melissa wanted to find a solution that was similar to Hopin Events but more wanted a more "lightweight tool that provides high-quality production value," especially for online instruction and digital teaching.
She mentioned that she needed to use engagement tools in novel ways. In particular, functionalities like stage segments, breakout rooms, and real-time reactions with emojis. The latter, she believes, makes speaker-audience interaction more intuitive and energy-laden.
An easier registration process for attendees, who merely needed to click on a link to enter a session, bypassing tedious navigations also made signing up for her students super easy.
Traditional video conferencing Vs. heightened engagement
Traditional video conferencing tools are designed to handle events and important customer conversations, and they work well if you want the experience to look and feel like regular, routine meetings.
And there are so many advantages to traditional video conferencing platforms.
They have been able to provide significant benefits to organizations, including increased savings due to reduced travel expenses, increased employee productivity due to the flexibility of working remotely, meeting transcription services, translation services for multilingual meetings, file and screen-sharing capabilities, and serving as a one-stop shop and gateway to other apps.
The issue comes when ‘old school’ platforms feel impersonal. Many like employees are essentially communicating with screens rather than people, which can make it difficult to establish personal connections.
And Melissa needed a more personalized and engaging experience. Something that was designed to be flexible and extensible, with a broad range of integrations and embeds that allow for true contextual collaboration in meetings.
Session is different by providing stunning visual customizations, engaging and fun ways to interact with each other, and a real-time platform that offers engagement at scale.
This means that Session is more than just a video call - it's an interactive and dynamic experience that can be customized to reflect the brand identity or personality of the user, providing a human meeting experience that lets users express themselves and enjoy fun, delightful experiences.
Melissa needed this refreshing experience after years of using traditional platforms.
"Session steps away from the bulkiness of a large event platform...It offers more significant engagement opportunities while providing flexibility for branding and adding fun to the whole process."
Session aims to address the "one-size-fits-all" approach that's prevalent in traditional platforms. It provides a customizable video experience that's tailored to marketers, but it's flexible enough to be used by anyone who's looking for something more than the standard video conferencing tools like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams.
Versatility at the forefront
Melissa pointed out that the ability to let users react with emojis, play music, or even just take a breather during intensive discussions, has been empowering and gave meetings a lighter, more airy, yet professional feel.
Whether it's a calendar sign-up, one-on-one meetings, or webinars, Session works like any other video conferencing tool but with added personality.
What really kept Melissa was the aesthetic superiority of Session and its built-in robust engagement tools that have raised the bar for what's possible within a video conferencing platform.
She described it as being a more versatile tool that allows for interactive demos, instruction, and an easy maneuver between stage, gallery view, and breakout rooms.
Addressing skeptics: the risk of not changing
Melissa urged that it's essential to understand why a change in tools is needed.
She warned that the risk of not trying Session lies in missing out on a meaningful connection with your audience. She enthusiastically recommended giving it a try, not just for its engagement features and aesthetics, but also because the risk of not trying is simply too high.
Session just feels so fun while you're in there! People respond, what is this? Every time they land there. It's stepping out of that fatigue of video conferencing that they are used to. Session is a refresher in what video conferencing can be, and people are really excited...
Melissa was a big fan of the Session team for the product demonstration and use case engagement. She recommended taking every opportunity to join an event with the Session team, stating, "they model everything the platform can do, and you will learn a lot, so don't skip their events."
Melissa's journey to Session has redefined her approach to digital learning and online interaction, reinforcing the fact that the right tools can significantly impact engagement and learning outcomes.
Research shows that Melissa is not alone in her appreciation.
Many users have reported positive experiences with the platform. One user noted, "It's super fast to set up. I like all the different options for rooms. I like that you can use the same link over and over for meeting rooms. Set it and forget it. I also appreciate that adding your own photo as a background really does change the tone of the room and feels so much more inviting than a black screen".
Another echoed Melissa's sentiment saying “we wanted a nice step above Zoom that still felt comfortable and intimate for our audience members and I think Session accomplished this for us.”
If you are curious about whether Session may be a good fit for you, you can get started for free.