We have heard from some of you about how the pandemic has affected your organization, your programs, the types of CE you offer, and your plans for the future. While many providers have faced challenges, including layoffs and loss of income when large live events were canceled, many also experienced unexpected positives.
Lorna Runkle, president and CEO of Act-Cess USA, Inc., said that the shift from in-person to online trainings meant changing single all-day trainings to two half-day trainings to meet the preferences of speakers and participants. Though the different scheduling required more time to set up and schedule, Runkle said, “This sometimes meant more time for participants to absorb and apply the material in between the two sessions.” She feels that the format may have led to better learning and retention. In addition, Act-Cess had higher attendance at the virtual events than for some previous in-person events. Runkle said Act-Cess plans to continue offering virtual training after the pandemic.
Benjamin Sher, director of the office of global and lifelong learning at NYU Silver School of Social Work, said that the entire university made the decision to shift to online learning early in the pandemic. Consequently, many more continuing education opportunities were available to social workers in New York and beyond. Before the shift, many programs had been offered as in-person events. But with online learning, social workers from as far away as California and Alaska joined some online certificate programs. Sher also noted that, because of the pandemic, social work licensees in New York were permitted to get 100 percent of their CE online. This adjustment to regulation encouraged NYU Silver School of Social Work to offer more asynchronous programming.
Sher said NYU will evaluate whether to continue using online modalities in the future to the same extent as they are now. The advantage of online education, Sher says, is that “now we can offer much more to a much wider audience.” He believes that NYU will continue to offer at least some of their programs online. New technology may also lead to an increase in online offerings, he said, especially for live events.
Are the experiences of Act-Cess or NYU similar to your organization’s experiences? Are you making plans to change the way you offer CE after the pandemic? If we haven’t heard from you about how things are going for your organization, the changes you have made to CE delivery, the future you foresee, and your plans for keeping changes you have made, we encourage you to share your thoughts. Email Lisa Casler Haun, manager of continuing competence and continuing education services.