Online courses versus live training – what do you really want?

Online courses versus live training – what do you really want?

I had been pondering on an interesting aspect of human and organizational thought (and response) patterns. Between 2008 and 2017 when we only did real time lectures and live workshops we had a lot of people asking us – “Don’t you have your courses online?  That would make things so much easier.”

We put our courses online in the second half of 2017. More recently we moved them to our own platform – and did a lot to spread awareness of the courses. We did our best to inform all those who attended our workshops and also have been writing to institutions.

I am very grateful that we have around 1500 plus people enrolled in a span of 2..5 months. It is also important to note that this is a fraction of the real number of people needing these courses. Of those who need them, many know that they need them but many do not know this!

How do individuals and institutions decide to take up any course? Usually the decision is based on the pricing, the time time involved, and the perceived value. At QMed we believe we took care of the first two aspects:

  1. Pricing: Institutions get access for all their employees and students at a very affordable cost. Individuals give a donation of their choice, choosing from our donation options. Our offering is more like a membership – once they pay or donate – they get access to all our courses including the ones we plan to add in some time
  2. Time involved: Anyone who registers has access to all available courses for a full year and can do the courses at their convenience during the year; several times if they wish to.

The third – Perceived value: Those who have attended a lecture I delivered or a workshop we conducted definitely know the value of our courses. Out of the rest, some immediately understand their value, some do not. That’s okay. My observations are about those who understand.

The interesting situation has been that once we announced online availability of the courses why are institutions and individuals not registering in large numbers?

When we tell the people who know that they need them, they are not enrolling in a hurry. This is true for individuals as well as institutions. In fact some people said “we would rather do a real workshop”. I thought to myself (what happened to “please put your courses online”?)

One private institution told me that while they understood, thanks to the COVID 19 conditions even small amounts need approval from the highest authorities. And that the authorities tend to approve only what they know about and understand. Not something new that they have to spend time to understand..

Overall two things need resolution.

  1. People understand that our courses are very important. They save humongous number of human hours in the profession. They improve publications. And they train students to retrieve evidence based information
  2. Institutions and individuals need to raise the priority for learning these skills!

The only way I see this happening is that the Councils should accredit such courses. Just mentioning them in the skill sets in the curriculum is not enough. Once the courses are accredited, numbers taking them will surge. After all humans often need the proverbial carrot.

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