Wonder of Webinars

Continuing professional development is often a necessary requirement to maintain certification.

Keeping up to date with the latest trends and best practice in any industry is a necessity these days too.

Standing still and not developing your skills and knowledge means you could be going backwards compared to your peers.

In the past, study, conference attendance or going to workshops and seminars was the only way to “sharpen the saw” as Stephen Covey said in his Seven Habits for Highly Successful People audio book.

Physically attending courses is expensive in cost and time particularly if travel is thrown into the mix.

One way to learn and keep up with the play and earn those necessary professional development units (PDU) or continuing professional development (CPD) points is to attend Webinars.

A Webinar, if you don’t know is a presentation delivered remotely to a computer or other device.  It is possible to type questions or participate using a teleconference or microphone.  Often a slideshow is used with a live audio commentary from one or more presenters.  And a recently added feature means you can see the presenter as well as the slideshow.

This article is not about the technical side of webinars just about how they have changed the training landscape from having to be somewhere at a specific time to putting the choice in the audience’s hands.  If for example you miss your webinar they are recorded and available later, and you can watch them over and over again for reference.  Not having to travel and put up with the hassles of parking and more time away from

A lot of webinars are “free” (nothing is free by the way) in that they inform you about new product developments and try to sell you something after telling you something you are interested in.  Webinars you pay for are generally specific about their topic and almost free of selling.

A more recent development is the online seminar.  Two I have had some experience of are the AccountingWeb.com and their annual virtual conference and the International Institute of Learning’s International Project Manager Day (IPMD) virtual conference (links below).

These seminars are excellent sources of knowledge and in the case of the IPMD an excellent way to get those professional development units for Project Management Professionals.

Most webinars are an hour long and that is usually enough time for a project management (PDU) or (CPD) point in accounting speak.

The only downsides to webinars, that I have noticed, is that occasionally an international course is not available as a recording and is in a difficult time zone, say four o’clock in the morning.  If you have limited internet capability then this too can cause problems.  The biggest drawback is the lack of face to face networking over a cup of coffee with fellow attendees and also meeting the presenter in person.  LinkedIn does help but is no substitute for meeting in person.

I have also been fortunate to be involved with and see what it takes to organise webinars with Polson Higgs Training and I can say that a lot of work goes into making sure all the attendees have what they need at the right time as well as the preparation of the presenters and marketing.  I now have more of an appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes.

So if you are looking for a cost effective way to learn from worldwide presenters and maintain credentials then webinars are a wonderful way to do this.

Link to IMPD

http://www.iil.com/emailfiles/ipmday-2012/index.html

Link to Accountants Web Live

http://www.accountingweb.com/live2013

Link to Polson Higgs Training

http://www.ph.co.nz/training_courses 

Link to Citrix GoToWebinar

http://www.gotomeeting.com/fec/webinar

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