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Which do you prefer: effective online learning or effective live workshops? ... and why?

I've been following the discussions about the potential virtues and pitfalls of online and home study continuing education for MTs since at least 1996, and I was delighted yesterday when Punkie Spelts told me about the following article she read in The NY Times: Study Finds That Online Education Beats the Classroom
We got a copy of the study, read it, and wrote a short blog on it HERE.
I'm getting ready to retire from the CE business soon, but it's really refreshing to me to see that effective home study and online education are being validated.
I'd love to hear from others about this or related ideas and concerns.

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I think it depends on the quality of the online material.
I've done both in-class and on-line continueing education and for me it's all about quality either way. It also depends on what the course is about and what type of training materails are provided: Learning a specific and new technique may be more advantageous to attend a class room setting to be sure you're doing it right and for that personal feedback. In contrast, adding to knowledge that's already been gained through previous training can be done with comparible quality online.
Online classes are GREAT as a supplemental learning tool.

But yes, there are varying degrees of quality.

With most online course, emphasis is on process rather than content.

I’m developing online courses now and I am amazed what can be done with digital technology.

SO, I write a paragraph and then add a popup feature to define thixotropy. Oh, hard to pronounce? No problem, I can add an audio glossary in English AND Spanish. Oh, forgot what where piriformis is? No problem, I can add a popup graphic illustration to show it and it’s relationship to the sciatic nerve. Oh, can’t remember how to do skin rolling? No problem, I can embed a video of that technique.

So many students/therapists are uncomfortable asking questions; some of their questions go unanswered.

With online courses, there can be discussion boards and webquests and case studies where you can use the web to research medication side effects (on reliable sites, of course).

Online, you can network with other therapists, educators, authors, researchers… We’ll look at where we are right now; using online resources to discuss important topics.

It’s hard to have access to an instructor who is not comfortable with online communication. With face-to-face learning, there is often not a lot of “follow through.”

Personally, I like having many learning opportunities and learning options….
I have not tried an online course because I prefer hands on and feedback. I would try one if the price were reasonable.
When it comes to a hands-on modality, I personally prefer a live class, but I've done some lecture classes online and enjoyed them a lot. I recently took an online class in HOW to teach online and found it to be a great experience.

Congratulations on your retirement, Sharon. I had heard just yesterday your website was for sale and wondered what was going on and now I know!
I work in a K-12 environment during the day. I have two teenagers both in public school. With the overcrowded classrooms and over stressed, frustrated teachers, I sometimes feel my kids would be challenged more with on line learning. That being said, as far as massage, I feel hands on is best to tune in the technique and develop the craft. However, I'm sure we have all experienced over booked sessions where we couldn't take advantage of the hands on anyway, plus the high cost and the accelerated speed to get you in and out, what do you really retain. I found by taking an on line class, getting the books, DVDs and tests is a great way to learn and digest our trade, then take the live class once you are familiar with the terms and specifics and can take full advantage of the live instructor. Could get expensive and not something I can do often, but when I care more about my skills than the credits, its worth it.
I have not had any experience with on line learning as yet. I have been given a free CEU class in Hot Stones that I will be taking on line next month from my employer. All of my learning has been hands on from the World Massage Festival. I love being able to meet the instructors and interacting with others as we all learn together. The hands on learning has been a great experience for me.

I think an Institute which offers hands on learning is great to build your confidence and boost your market readiness to perform the activities.

I definitely prefer hands on live workshops. Simple reason for me is, that if I have any questions while I'm working on another therapist and practicing the techniques, my question is answered right then and there so I can make corrections. Plus with the live classes, you have the opportunity to make friends from all over the U.S. and around the Globe, that you would have never met by sitting at home by yourself watching an online class.

On the flip side. I do see a huge market for the online training, as there are a lot of therapists out there that due to family, work, etc may not have the time to travel and be gone for days at a time for a live workshop.

I say Go for it! Wish you the best of luck!

I like DVD learning.  Because there is a  rewind button.  For me, its the best way to learn.

I've done very well with DVD's and live classes.  I haven't tried online yet.

Class room experience for me. Especially for massage. I need hands on. But I am from another generation. It seems the younger people are use to learning from a screen. And online has the advantage of being more marketable.

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