How we got to our current format
The Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS) classes and that we have been conducting successfully online since the end of April 2020 are anything but a typical virtual or webinar format that many people are familiar with and expecting to see. These classes are much like – and in many ways better than – their in-person counterparts.
In fact, I have become so fond of the way they allow for the material to be presented and for the engagement of everyone in the class that I much prefer this to in-person workshops. I am sold!
The online pivot happened because we simply could not have people traveling to venues or being around other people during the height of the coronavirus. We needed a safer alternative, and we found it.
More flexibility and accommodation
We are able to do more in the online sessions than we ever were able to accomplish in the in-person classes. Anyone who is reluctant to enroll in or attend an online CAPS class should think again because they are going to be pleasantly surprised.
While many continuing education and instructional classes or workshops are pre-recorded lectures or powerpoint slide presentations that are simply recited or change from slide-to-slide at the appointed time, these are live, interactive, real-time events. They don’t happen until they are scheduled and conducted.
Anyone facing a hearing or vision challenge can attend the classes quite well (not always true for an in-person session), and individual attention can be offered on a case-by-case basis to enhance the learning experience.
Staying involved in the instruction
Most of us have experienced webinars that are merely presented and not taught in a way that encourages interaction with and from the attendees. In a typical webinar presentation, we know that we have some time to engage in other activities while the sessions are ongoing. In fact, we can leave our computers entirely and just check back periodically to see where the sessions are and to make sure that we haven’t missed any testing questions.
So, we read emails, visit with officemates, watch the news, and attend to other types of business unrelated to the webinar while it’s going on. Therefore our retention level is going to be less than it would be if we were fully engaged, and the knowledge we walk away with is going to be affected as well.
Engagement is the hallmark of the Zoom learning platform for our CAPS classes because everyone can see the instructor, and the instructor can see everyone else. no one is hidden or off by themselves several rows deep in the classroom. everyone is in full view of everyone else. Everyone sees the same thing at the same time – each other, the material, and the instructor – no filters and no barriers.