5 Reasons Why Live Online Workshops Can Be Better Than Self-Study Online Courses

Nothing against traditional online courses – they’re great for learning a more complex topics in a self-paced learning environment. However, there are many situations where live online workshops are a good or even a better alternative to self-study online courses. Before we look at the advantages of live workshops, let’s first talk about what both forms of online learning have in common.

Both can be done from the comfort of your home or office – you don’t need to travel to any other place to get your education. There is a huge variety of topics you can learn about – from hobby and personal topics to business skills and professional development. Both kinds of interactive online training are being offered by individuals (like bloggers, speakers or authors), companies or academic institutions. The price is often lower than in person classes and some workshops and courses even offer free lessons. Enough with the similarities – here are 5 advantages that live online learning events have over wide-spread digital video courses.

1. You take more action

The best course doesn’t help much if you don’t take action on the things you learn. How often have you worked through an online course and even earned a certificate – but didn’t follow all the strategies, tutorials and guides? To be honest, I have experienced this quite a few times. Why does it happen? Because we think “I have lifetime access to this course – I can skip the exercises and to-do items for now and do them later”. Then we forget about them. Live workshops are different. The lessons will be gone after the workshop (except if you get a recording after the event) and you won’t have access to the instructor after the workshop is over. This motivates you to make the most of the limited time – which also includes to practice the new skills and start implementing action plans. Positive group “pressure” also motivates you to take action. If the second session of the live online workshop happens tomorrow and everyone gets to talk about their results, you don’t want to be the odd one out who didn’t do the assignments or action items. Taking more action leads to getting better results that can improve your life. This is why live online workshops can lead to better results than doing self-study courses.

2. You have more contact to fellow students

In some self-study online courses there are student forums or instructor “office hours” where you can meet fellow students, but the connection won’t be as strong as when you are working together in groups via real-time video chat. Some live online workshops even offer “networking breaks” where you can go on 1-to-1 video chats with fellow participants. In these networking sessions, you can privately exchange contact details to stay in touch long after the workshop is over. You also hear about the struggles and successes of others, which can be very helpful and inspiring. The feeling of belonging to a community of like-minded people also gives you a learning motivation boost. All this enables you to stay motivated and build long-term relationships or even friendships that will enrich your life for years to come.

3. You can get your questions answered more quickly

In professional online workshops, you don’t have to send an email to the instructors / educators like you would do in a self-paces video learning program. Instead, you just speak into your microphone during a group discussion or submit the question in chat while attending a more one-sided lecture or talk. Getting answers quicker means that roadblocks to taking action and enjoying results are removed faster. This would be a real boost to your motivation to keep learning and keep executing the action plan you have learned. But there’s even more: You’re not only able to get quick answers from the workshop leader, but you can also ask for advice and feedback from other participants you work with. Quickly giving each other ideas, feedback and support via a group chat session can be an inspiring and encouraging launchpad to success. You almost never experience this when you study on your own for most of the time.

4. You pay more attention in live online workshops – and remember more

You can watch a video from a traditional online course while doing something else like doing the dishes. You may think to yourself “No problem, I can rewind or replay the videos if I miss anything important”. This lack of focus and attention leads to lower knowledge retention (you don’t remember as much). The same can’t be said about live lectures where you can’t replay the video later – you’ll be glued to the screen, take notes, ask questions and participate in exercises and polls. There often will be a schedule with different activities like lectures, group discussions and networking opportunities (except in traditional webinars where there only is a lecture / presentation and a questions and answers segment). This is a much more interactive – and therefore more memorable – way of learning.

5. You can demonstrate your skills and get feedback

Many tests and exams in traditional online courses consist of multiple choice or fill-in-the-blanks questions where you just have to show that you can remember what you read and watched. These tests don’t show if you did practice and acquire the new skill or if you had success with implementing the action steps. In live online workshops you can do almost the same things that you can do in an offline classroom – like sharing your screen or sharing your webcam video to prove that you indeed learned to program a website, dance, speak in public or start a business. Getting feedback from your teacher and / or fellow student helps you to stay on the path to success long after the workshop has finished. It also allows educators to evaluate and grade online students more on skill development than on remembering facts in a multiple-choice quiz.

Bonus tip: Experience it yourself

If you are shy or unsure if more collaborative live online workshops are for you, just try it. There are quite a few free ones out there that you can register for without having to fulfil any special qualifications or requirements. Compare your new online workshop experience with the way you feel about self-paced video courses and see which type of online education you like more. Please let me know in the comments what you think about this topic so we can discuss it further and learn from each others experiences and advice.

If you’re now really excited about the possibility of online workshops, I have some good news for you: I’ll soon host one of my own. The first one will be about writing, editing, publishing and marketing your own ebooks. Join my free newsletter below to get the chance of snatching up one of the limited, discounted tickets as soon as they go on sale. I always let my newsletter subscribers know about these deals before I share them with anyone else.

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