Just one year ago
Exactly one year ago today, I got on a plane in Chicago to come home after teaching a three-day series of CAPS classes at Sugatsune and have not traveled since. The nature of the CAPS classes delivery system, as is true for so many supply chain issues over the past 12 months, has changed – for the better. No longer are we limited to who can attend the classes in-person and from the distances they need to travel. We can accommodate a range of attendees from just a few to a couple of dozen. It is not dependent on the size of the facility where the meeting would have been held.
A seamless transition
There were a couple of technical issues to resolve in making the change from in-person to online delivery, but mostly it was done without issue or notice.
To the benefit of those attending, we no longer are subject to family emergencies, personal illnesses, travel interruptions, and other concerns which may affect someone’s ability to attend the class for which they were scheduled and paid – and create anxiety for them. If such issues do arise, they can arrange to attend a future session rather than worrying about the class that they had issues in attending or just couldn’t attend at all.
Now that the classes are taught in the online Zoom format, issues that used to matter no longer do. It was thought that the classes had to be taught in-person in order to get a pure experience of the material, examples shared, and interaction with the other attendees. However, this was short-sighted. Quite the opposite has proven to be the case.
The classes being conducted online in a real-time interactive way – not in the way that many professionals are accustomed to attending webinars where they sit in front of the computer and watch a prerecorded or self-paced program, or one read from a script. This still allows people to temporarily disengage to take care of children, parents, or pets in their home – much the same as stepping out of the room at an in-person session to take a phone call or attend to personal business.
The attendance has expanded
The people attending the online classes are coming from many places and occupations. Nearly every state and many provinces have been represented, and several foreign nations have had students in attendance. This would be highly unlikely and most improbable for an in-person format. The travel lead time and commitment of those attending would be substantial. Now, a person may have to log in to the class a little earlier or later than is their customary class attendance time due to their local time zone compared to eastern time, but no one seems to matter since they get to remain at home. This is especially true considering the cost alone that would be involved in traveling from distant places in the United States, Canada, South America, Africa, Europe, or Asia as students have done the past 12 months – and are continuing to do so.
It’s not necessary for someone who wants to attend classes to wait until they are offered close to where they live or within a reasonable commuting distance. They can attend on any day from where they are. When they can’t attend all three classes in a row, or their schedule changes at the last minute, they can adjust their schedule to attend future sessions.
The time was right for the change
It’s unfortunate that it took COVID-19 to have us change the way we were delivering classes, but the change, aside from dealing with the virus otherwise, has been quite positive and good. Even prior to the shutdowns to respond to the virus, many people had begun attending classes, continuing education sessions, seminars, conferences, web conferencing, and meetings online.
This paradigm shift has been very positive and inclusive. People with learning difficulties are able to attend and participate in online classes more easily than was the case with in-person offerings. We are able to present more options graphically as well to facilitate learning experiences.
Yes, it really has been a year since we last offered an in-person class, and there is no way to tell if there will be any type of demand for these in the future. For now, online classes are extremely successful. The time was right – albeit overdue – for the change to the online delivery system.