In this age of technology, more information is accessible than ever before in history. When making a determination about professional continuing education, therapists have a lot of options. Requirements for licensure make CE imperative, but most therapists want their time and resources applied in a way that will improve their skills and serve their clients.
There are many on-line educational opportunities that appear attractive for a number of reasons.
1. They are sometimes cheaper;
2. They can be viewed from anywhere- home, place of work, etc. (reducing travel costs and inconvenience);
3. Often they can viewed at times convenient to the learner (not always);
4. Usually can be taken over a period of time, again convenient to the learner.
As attractive as that option might be, there are many ways that "live" courses provide a superior experience for the learner, especially when it comes to improving treatment skills for pediatric therapists.
1. Courses tend to be more "in-depth," including important background information sometimes sacrificed in the short on-line versions.
2. Live courses put the learner in an optimum learning environment, with the opportunity to seek clarification and get questions answered.
3. Learners are able to discuss ideas generated with colleagues and instructors.
4. In many cases learners can try "hands on" experiences with instructor feedback.
5. A large block of CE hours can by gained over a few days, without the distractions of work or everyday life, while gathering substantive information to directly improve the learner's practice.
The Richter AIR Symposium provides several other features simply not attainable in a "distance" learning situation.
1. A variety of professionals come together to learn and share, creating a dynamic environment for learning.
2. Networking with colleagues from other locations, work sites, professions is a uniquely enriching experience of this venue.
3. Interacting with speakers of national and international stature gives context and greater meaning to the information offered in each session that simply does not compare to the experience of watching a flat screen.
4. It is actually possible to make the event into a working vacation or a learning retreat, depending on your inclination. There is much to do in the evenings to relax or rejuvenate with colleagues, speakers (at Speaker Roundtables) or at the Mall of America for entertainment.
5. Participants can explore a variety of exhibitor information and review their products and materials first hand.
Live courses sometimes cost a little more per credit, but they enrich the learner in a sense of community learning, and how much is the potential for new professional contacts, practice groups and new friends worth?