The Differentiator: concept for a next-generation feature

Outcomes:
  • Differentiated our product from general-purpose webcast solutions like Webex and GoToMeeting by providing value-added features that mimic real-world teaching strategies.
  • Salvaged months of development work by re-purposing an existing, but ignored, feature to a more innovative result
Challenges:
  • Competitors with far greater development resources are stealing market share because of their ubiquity and perceived value.
  • We needed features to differentiate our product suite from a simple Webex meeting.
Solution: Online learning environments often lack the personal interactions that make classroom learning stimulating. I developed the concept of online “breakout groups” that mimic their real-world counterpart. The ability to break a large webinar of 100 people into groups of five or six in order to collaborate on assignments was the most asked-for feature amongst our customers, and something Webex, GoToMeeting, or On24 didn’t have. The ability to verify members’ participation and track it for CPE credit made it a key waypoint in our product roadmap.
They key to implementing this feature was in an older feature we’d already built but which had very poor adoption: a real-time whiteboard that allowed a webinar presenter to mark up shared slides with drawings and text. Making this whiteboard into a shared space (anyone in the breakout group can draw or write on it) gave it a new purpose, and provided a focal point for breakout groups to collaborate.