However, pressures of work, costs of travel and problems of timing make physical meetings problematic – just today I had to plead off a meeting and video-in because of workload.
We work in an exciting industry where you could be speaking to people from USA, Germany, China, and Japan all in a day, and physical workshops are just not practical in such an environment – nice as they would be. This is why, about 5 years ago, there was a loud buzz about "distance learning" and I was involved in writing several courses for different organizations. They were all seeking to resolve the same problem – how to reach people anywhere, anytime. However, many of them were not successful because the model they relied on was – in effect – simply providing an online handbook for people to read in their own time.
However, there has been a recent resurgence in the idea of providing remote training opportunities with larger publishers looking at video conferences, virtual meetings, and online training resources for their staff – those in the office and those who work from home.
The new approach takes into account the following important factors, learnt from earlier experience:
- There must be a set time for the training – a start and finish time, because people are very good at procrastinating - anything that is not "urgent" and time-limited won’t get done
- There must be an opportunity for discussion – contributing and sharing
- There must be some interaction – simply reading or watching is an ineffective way to engage people.
ALPSP has been repeatedly asked about providing its training to a wider audience, and face-to-face workshops are – for all the reasons above – not scaleable (or economical).
So, when I was asked to help develop an online version of the Introduction to Publishing course we agreed that there had to be quality content delivered in an interactive, time-limited and focussed way. And so the "International Primer - Introduction to Publishing" was born. Taking all the lessons learnt, we have structured it as follows:
- A comprehensive handbook for reference (you can't get away from needing content!).
- An interactive webinar – discussing issues raised in the handbook and allowing for discussion and contribution.
- A quiz – to help participants check understanding of what they read and watched and discussed.
- Follow-up access to the trainers – for questions, comments and reactions.
Introduction to Journals Publishing 2: An international primer on Monday 24 April, online, 10am EDT (New York); 3pm GMT (UK); 4pm CET (Central Europe). You can find out more here.