Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Virtues of Virtual Workshops

Donna Monkhouse Your BC Eye
Physical workshops offer attendees a fantastic interactive, organic learning environment as well as a superb platform for networking and some great peer to peer information exchange.   You can contribute as much or as little as you like; and if you prefer, you can just simply sit quietly in the background and absorb the flow of information.   The choice is yours.

A safe haven, the physical workshop seems like the perfect setting for effective learning and knowledge transfer.   It even has its quirks for its presenters, offering great scope for different types and blends of communication, ranging from verbal to visual to indeed kinesthetic interaction!  
If that is the ‘good’, what are ‘the bad and the ugly’?  Well, two simple words – time and money!   

With busy work schedules and multiple key diary commitments in place, taking a full day out of a busy working week to attend a workshop off site is not always possible, even if attendance would add real value.  And we haven’t even mentioned the cost of getting there and any possible overnight stays!

But what if the workshop came to you?  What if you could have all the same benefits without the hassles?  What if you didn’t even have to leave your desk to participate?
Well there is a way – and that way is the virtual workshop.  The virtual workshop offers similar benefits to that of a physical workshop plus a few more – you get to network with your peers and profit from the sharing of best practice; you can ‘chat’ to other delegates, ask questions through the Chair and participate in discussions and debates, you just don’t have to travel to get there and if you wanted, you could even attend wearing your pyjamas and slippers – no-one need ever know!

All this adds up to some tremendous cost savings – no travelling costs; no overnight costs.  And then there is the added bonus in that it saves time and can be attended with minimum disruption to your day, enabling you to make the best use of your time and meet critical work and diary commitments and still have some time for important professional development.  And the savings made by the organiser in terms of reduced administration and event management costs are passed directly onto the attendees in the form of reduced delegate fees.  Definitely a ‘win-win’ situation for everyone concerned.
It is easy to set up from a technological point of view, requiring only the minimum use (and understanding) of technology to get started  – internet connection, a laptop or PC and a set of headphones will suffice to link you up to your new virtual learning environment.   

The virtual workshop is a global workshop.  People can potentially attend from anywhere around the world, adding to those already great networking opportunities as you connect with people from across the international scene, rather than being restricted to people who are “within travelling distance”.
But the best bit about a virtual workshop has to be the time and money it saves you.  No need to spend a day out of the office travelling to and fro to attend; the virtual workshop offers you the chance to participate at the click of a button (or two) directly from your desk or wherever you happen to be at the time.   The power of the internet is working at full capacity here; technology is the name of the game.

So with all these virtues, it is no wonder that the BCI is making use of the available technology to bring some of its workshops directly to you with the introduction of BCI Virtual Workshops, which they have just launched.
Four great titles are already planned for 2012, starting with Communicating in a Crisis. 

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