Zoom vs Online Training

Posted 26th July 2021

Training via Zoom

I’ve just had an unusual experience: I went to the University of Cambridge to deliver media training to someone in the same room! It was a real pleasure, but got me thinking about online vs in-person training. When lockdown hit, our communication training and media training courses were all either cancelled or severely delayed – as were our TV shoots. We immediately offered courses on Zoom, and the bookings built up again.

At first there was a sneaking suspicion that Zoom was second best, but ‘at least we can offer something’. But we’ve come to really enjoy delivering online courses, and realise that training via Zoom has some special benefits. For media training, there’s an obvious one: for many outlets appearing via Zoom has become the default way to get contributors into your broadcast. So learning how to make the most of your ‘broadcast’ Zoom appearances is an important skill.

We also run communication and presentation training courses, and offering these online has helped to make them more accessible. For course organisers, it means you don’t have to book a room, or pay for transport or food. If someone drops out, they can be more easily replaced. Because it’s less of a big deal, junior delegates feel more able to join in, and are more likely to be offered the training in the first place.

The same is true for the most senior people: you can join from anywhere, so you are more able to find a slot for training if it is online.

As trainers, we like how easy it is to share video and graphics, and to divide delegates into small breakout groups for exercises and workshops. I feel it’s easier to give everyone attention – with no running beween real rooms!

There are extra demands on trainers too: you need plenty of energy to keep everyone engaged. And where an in-person training course is a welcome break from routine, and maybe a trip away, online courses are delivered to the same place your delegate has been sitting for 16 months, so you have to make it feel like an occasion.

I’m sure that training by Zoom or Teams will remain a permanent feature of what Screenhouse offers. But that visit to Cambridge was a great reminder that communication and training are about people, and there is something very special about being in the same space, and in this case getting out our broadcast cameras and lights to create the full media experience.

You can explore Screenhouse Training – delivered in person, and online, here.

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