We just completed (as of April 22-24) the anniversary of our transition into the online delivery of our CAPS classes (Certified Aging In Place Specialist) utilizing the Zoom platform. This means that we are well underway for year two of the online offerings.
Anything new can seem a little daunting or challenging at first, but there was no need for concern. The transition has been seamless. If anything, the enrollments have increased, and the classes are quite well received.
In hindsight (isn’t it beautiful to be able to have hindsight?), we should have done this long ago, but the technology was not available. All things in due time, and the time is right for this now.
The online format versus in-person
Many people had requested an online availability of the CAPS classes, especially since so many university classes and continuing education (CE) offerings are available this way and people have become accustomed to taking them in this manner. The in-person offerings were doing well, but then there was the pandemic, and everything changed. The big reset.
Since people either couldn’t travel or wouldn’t do so – or both, since facilities weren’t open to hosting us and travel restrictions or quarantine rules applied in many cases, it became quite difficult to continue as we were. Therefore, the change was made from in-person offerings to online classes.
The online Zoom classes are a perfect complement to what was happening in person, but actually are better in several key respects. The only area that expectations may not match is where people expect to sit in front of their computer and watch a video, a self-paced program that they can start or stop at will, or a lecture that can be muted or kept on in the background while multitasking with other activities.
These are live, real-time, interactive classes that in many respects require more participation than in-person versions. The content, while structured, varies a little each time with questions that are asked, the experiences of those attending, outcomes desired, current events, and group dynamics. There is no way this can be accommodated in a pre-recorded or rote presentation of the material – online or in-person.
Keeping the classes in the online delivery format seems to be the thing to do. While travel restrictions have eased or lifted in many places, and mask-wearing rules may or may not apply in various areas or situations, people have gotten used to taking classes online. They enjoy the ease of doing so.
We could return to in-person classes although we have no plans and no interest in doing so. For us, it requires a lot of coordination – scheduling of dates, finding places to host the classes, making travel arrangements, and generating registrations for people to attend.
For attendees, in-person classes require that we find a date and location that matches our schedule (that we know is often subject to last-minute changes) and then that we register and pay in advance for that class or classes. But what if the flight is canceled, we or a family member becomes ill near or on the date of travel, or we have other unexpected demands on our time that conflicts with our ability to take the class? If we have already paid for the registration, airfare and hotel, or already made the trip only to discover that we couldn’t actually take the class due to ill health (ours or a family member) or the need to return home to attend to other issues, we would be faced with several uncomfortable decisions.
Conversely, with in-person classes, a person can switch to another class as needed without concern for rescheduling travel dates (or losing money already paid). Additionally, the internal conflict or stress of needing to be there for a family member or work situation versus taking the class will not be a factor.
There also is the ability to have children, pets, or elderly charges nearby (even in the same room) during the classes – an impossibility for in-person classes. This eliminates the concern for their care and makes taking the classes possible.
The benefits are extensive
In addition to travel concerns (because there is no travel), the ability to reschedule classes as necessary, being there for family members or pets that require a little oversight or monitoring, and not being concerned about making a commitment for a certain date and then having something unforeseen come up, the stress of attending the classes is greatly reduced or eliminated.
There is no traffic to contend with in getting to the classes, no lunch or beverages to pack and take to class (and possibly keep refrigerated), no concerns about getting to the location early to make sure you get a good seat and that you can see the screen well (everybody has the same unobstructed view of the material), no worries about interrupting class or fellow attendees when you need to get up and leave the meeting momentarily, the ability to ask questions or make comments in the chatbox without taking class time to do so, and so many other benefits to online classes.
If you have been uncertain about this direction, you needn’t be. Come join us. https://www.stevehoffacker.com/caps-classes/