Thoughts on more online events?

We have a few cadets on our squadron who’s parents are terrified of covid, and it’s a big step that they can even attend for 2 hours a week. In our wing recently, there’s been one event online, which was road marching theory. They all attended, and most of them don’t have plans on doing road marching, they just wanted to get an event down. What would you think if squadrons ran more courses online? Things like Cyber would go pretty well.

Ordinarily I’d say that wing/region level courses such as a RM theory/cyber course could benefit from online options as it would allow more people to attend, even if it means the social element isn’t there.

However, I know that many staff are currently completely worn out by online delivery of courses/parade nights due to having done so many and the recent return to working from home (some of us have barely returned to the office, if at all) so I don’t think there is much appetite right now for more online delivery

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Although there is a place for online training the areas where I would want to use it are relatively small.

It’s fine for a theory course where all you are doing is lecturing, but as soon as you need some interaction form the class the utility falls away. It’s much too easy for the quiet ones to sit there in silence and slip under the radar, whereas they would be noticed in a proper classroom.

It’s also useful for meetings and such like as it means they can be done quickly from home, rather than taking an entire evening.out of your day.

Outside of that I wouldn’t be interested in delivering much on line and wouldn’t encourage my staff to either.

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I don’t have any real interest in online events, but we are stuck with them. I lost interest in April 2020, when the novelty wore off. If online worked like it seems on TV, ie no drop outs etc and not the reality which is more like watching Norman Collier, then they may have more appeal.
The aspect I like about online meetings and training is I can have it running while I’m watching TV, doing something more interesting or at work where I can be doing useful things. Because I know I do this, I can’t think other people are doing the same.
But I do miss meetings/course with real people as you lose the chance for side talks and general networking, which were invariably more useful than the actual meeting/course.

There is also staffing to consider.

Take a course for say 18 cadets, that split into 3 syndicates for group work (pretty common). Face to face that can be staffed with 2 volunteers for ratios. They can move between the syndicate tables as needed.

To run the same on Teams with 3 virtual breakout rooms needs 6 staff.

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The only thing I would add to the topic is the following,

Could the in person class not be broadcast to those affected individuals? Effectively a mixture of cadets at the Sqn and those watching at home?

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Completely possible.

I’ve also done the other way round… Where a staff member can’t make it to the sqn due to childcare, but can teach a lesson from home…

I’m quite happy for any course / briefing that is basically death by PowerPoint to be done online. Why have all the hassle of travel, maybe a long distance across some distance, maybe incurring a night away, getting up early, when you could simply roll out of bed and turn the laptop on and listen? When it’s done your free at home too, probably keeping other family that bit happier, and having less of an impact on home life etc.

I must say the online CCF conference has been great. I’ve still been able to take the kids to gymnastics and the park by logging in to teams on my phone and popping the headset in.

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And so much cheaper. We’ve got a wing conference coming up and at this rate I’m not too sure about attending. Why would you put people at risk? Totally get the in person aspect but not at such a potential cost.

Any goss from it.

The senior WOs conf is on teams.

In all seriousness im suprised these type of events are being permitted from a region level…i get the face to face element is key but theres scope for huge financial savings for something that will be a sit down in a chair and be talked at.

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The Commandant is wrongly in my opinion opposed to National SME conferences being face to face on the basis of cost.

I agree that it’s cheaper, but the networking which takes place in the breakout sessions and in the evenings can’t be replicated over teams and is almost as valuable as the structured stuff during the day.

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I agree - you don’t get the “water cooler moments” and creativity - if you’re not used to working remotely or a competent IT user - gets stifled. At work we have a very similar spread of skills, abilities, interests and ages as RAFAC; and from the last 2 years of remote working and “online meetings” there has been a development of “silo working” mentality - the collaboration, creativity and cross pollination of ideas is being lost - and that’s in a relatively small geographical area. I fear that, unless well managed, a national organisation such as ourselves is going to suffer the same issues.

Justification on the basis of cost is short sighted; how many teams are going to be replicating the same projects between Regions and Wings because they were unaware that others are pursuing similar lines elsewhere? Especially when we know comms and management are not this organisations greatest strength!

And whilst it’s “volunteer time” and therefore doesn’t have a tangible monetary value - the impacts on good will, morale and motivation will undoubtedly be felt in the long term. All for the sake of a days VA and some travel…

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