It has been an interesting year here at the Kerr Center. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we had to stop planning several on-site workshops early in the year, and cancel our ranch tours. Only recently have we opened up to limited tours with proper social distancing. No on-site workshops have been planned yet.
I have participated in several online trainings. To date, all of my committee meetings have been online. It creates some interesting opportunities and challenges. You can reach a larger audience online, and it can be more cost effective. However, not everyone has good internet access, so the quality of the presentation may not be the same for everyone.
We find hands-on workshops to be popular since farming/ranching is a very hands-on activity. Several years ago we hosted cold frame construction workshops where everyone pitched in to build the cold frame. The real excitement was when we put the plastic on the structure.
While I recognize both the strengths and weaknesses of online training, and the need to protect everyone’s health and well-being, I hope we can get back to in-person trainings next year. The sharing of knowledge among workshop participants seems less open using the online format.
There is just something about a hands-on or face to face workshop, with its interaction between attendees, that you cannot capture in an online training. In my opinion that is a very big weakness. Here’s hoping next year returns to some form of normalcy for trainings.