During the recent COVID-19 restrictions I have taken part in quite a few webinars. In fact, I’ve almost become addicted to webinars (usually free ones!) I now find them very difficult to resist and am in a quandary when two are running simultaneously and I have to choose between them (although maybe I can watch the recording of one afterwards at my convenience?)
My diary was turned upside down in mid-March and lots of time-occupying commitments fell out, together with the associated travel time, leaving me an opportunity to learn. Added to that, cancelled conferences meant that I needed to find sources of continuing professional development.
Looking at the webinars I have been interested mostly in COVID-19 and COVID-related themes; remote working/ different ways of working; psychotherapy in various guises; well-being/ resilience; and what might loosely be called research methods with a lot of cross-connections between those themes, eg delivering psychotherapy remotely in response to COVID-19.
I’ve learned a lot about how webinars are delivered and what I find works well (or doesn’t work well), including different ways of including and answering questions, different ways of starting and ending webinars. I’ve also learned a lot about all the different topics addressed. And I’m still learning – I’m booked on another three webinars next week alone.
But what is missing from these webinar experiences? Well traveling for one and maybe staying in hotels – that’s all good. Good for me in efficiency, costs (time and money), and my own well-being, and good for the planet. Less good is the loss of connections with the people I would have met at workshops etc. And I might want to argue that our connections with others are what makes us human! During the informal discussion we co-generate new ideas and projects, make new links for joint working, and make new friends: how can we replace these activities online? In the new post-COVID world can we do away with face to face conferences altogether?