Did you know that knowledge decays? There is a half-life to professional knowledge. It is the time it takes before half of the learning acquired during training is lost.
Knowledge decays even faster now. In the 20th century, it was estimated that engineering knowledge had a half-life of 30 years. Now, it’s three to five years. Several years ago, medical knowledge supposedly had a half-life of 18-24 months. Today, it’s 73 days.
What can you do to attenuate knowledge degradation? Continuous learning. One of the ways you can accomplish this is by joining virtual events.
Why Virtual and Not In-Person Events?
There’s no reason you cannot attend an in-person event. It should be similarly effective at refreshing a determined participant’s professional knowledge and helping him keep abreast of new developments in his industry.
Virtual events, however, can be better than in-person events in some aspects, like the following.
Research by FastForums, a virtual events provider, revealed that event-goers prefer short to drawn-out events.
Virtual events are usually short and fast, lasting only one to two hours. This is an ideal length compared to their in-person events equivalent, which can take at least four hours to a whole day.
Part of the reason in-person forums take so long must be the amount of preparation required to organize them. In-person events take so much time and effort to prepare for and attend. It can seem such a waste (for both the organizers and attendees) to conclude it in just two hours.
Benefit: If you’re like most people (i.e., you’re busy and have a lot going on in your life), you’ll love virtual events because they’re productive but fast.
Virtual events can usually accommodate more participants than in-person events.
In-person events have to work within venue space constrictions. Meanwhile, organizers can host virtual events on a platform that allows thousands of simultaneous connections. Since virtual events are also usually recorded, virtual events can have even more participants than those that can attend the event in real-time or live.
Benefit: Even if a virtual event is particularly popular, the chance of running out of tickets is slim. You never again have to miss an event because all seats have been taken.
There are thousands of virtual events, many of which are free to attend. Look around FastForums; you will see many events you can register for free.
Even paid online forums charge very reasonable rates, mainly because their organizers don’t have to pay for a venue, meals, plane tickets, accommodation, and all other similar expenses. They can also accommodate more paying participants and charge for on-demand video playback.
Participants of online forums similarly don’t have to spend money on these things. They don’t need to pay for airline tickets, meals, and accommodation to attend a conference. They don’t have to spend any money if the event is free, and they just have to pay a reasonable ticket price for paid events.
Benefit: Learn for free or for less.
Online events are more universally accessible than in-person events. All one needs to attend is a computer or a mobile device and internet connectivity. He can be anywhere in the world; it doesn’t matter.
In-person events require participants to travel to the event venue. The cost of travel and associated expenses can be steep for a lot of people. Moreover, the time commitment such events require (not just the actual event but the time it will take to travel to the venue) can be similarly prohibitive.
Since virtual events are accessible from anywhere and do not require participants to travel, digital forums are significantly more accessible to people with mobility impairments than in-person events.
Benefit: You don’t need to travel to join virtual events. You can attend from wherever you are. Therefore, online forums are very accessible even if you have mobility issues.
Richness of Content
Organizing in-person events requires a lot of time, effort, and resources. Organizers must rent a venue, which is a significant expense, and spend money on other things. For instance, there’s the catering for the participants and the travel and accommodation arrangements for event speakers and VIPs, among other things.
Because of these things, event organizers have to consider the popularity and desirability of an event before they can consider pushing through with it. They cannot expend all that effort on an event no one will attend.
In contrast, organizers have a low threshold (particularly in the number of attendees) to satisfy before they can consider launching a digital event. Thus, virtually anyone can organize an online forum on any interesting topic. It doesn’t matter how esoteric or niche the subject is or how many people might attend because online events take much less time, effort, and resources to organize than in-person events.
Benefit: There’s a wide variety of topics covered by virtual events. You should be able to find one on any subject that interests you.
Variety of Resource Persons
In-person events can accommodate only a few speakers. Organizers, therefore, will often pick the obvious (read: popular) options.
Since there are a lot of virtual events and practically anybody can host one, virtual events offer a greater variety of resource persons than in-person events. Experts in particular subject matters can host an online event and share their knowledge with other like-minded individuals. Do you want to learn about dry leasing and start air charter operations? Chances are high there’s already a webinar on that.
Benefit: Learn from many experts you will not meet or hear of otherwise.
There are no do-overs in in-person events. Once a speaker is done talking, you can approach him for clarifications, but you can’t ask him to repeat his presentation.
Online events are different because they are recorded as they’re happening, and the video is available for playback afterward. Thus, if you need to repeat specific portions of the discussion, you can.
This also means those who weren’t available at the time of the event can still benefit and learn from it. They simply have to watch the event playback.
Benefit: Learn on demand. Play back the event for clarification, or miss the live stream but watch the playback at a more convenient time.
Online Events Can Be Better
Knowledge degradation is inevitable, but you can slow it down by committing to lifelong learning. You can join virtual events. They are short, accessible, and available on demand, so you can still learn even with limited time.
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