Attending e-learning webinars, proposed by some as a replacement for conferences, was preferred by many participants in a recent study.
Researchers for the paper, published in Cardiology in the Young, included 1,374 participants in the analysis. The study design was that of a cross-sectional survey using an open- and closed-ended questionnaire for the assessment of the impact of the e-learning webinar (the subject matter of the webinar was the management and post-operative tetralogy of Fallot patients). Of those, 557 (40%) completed the survey.
More than 70% of the participants reported agreeing or strongly agreeing that the webinar format did indeed promote deep learning for each of the area topics under study compared with conventional methods (textbook and journal learning). Two-thirds of respondents preferred attending the webinar rather than attend and international conference, and more than 80% of respondents reported some kind of barrier to attending such conferences (79% cited costs, 49% cited distance to travel, 51% cited time commitment, and 35% cited family commitments). Another interesting finding was that more than half (53%) of respondents expressed concern for their carbon footprint generated from conference attendance and preferred webinar attendance instead.
Participants also cited expertise, concise and high-quality presentations, and platform quality as additional benefits of the webinar format. Limiting time for questions was cited as a weakness of the format.
“E-learning Webinars represent a disruptive innovation, which promotes deep learning, greater multidisciplinary participation, and greater attendee satisfaction with fewer barriers to participation, the authors concluded. “Although Webinars will never fully replace conferences, a hybrid approach may reduce the need for conferencing, reduce carbon footprint, and promote a ‘sustainable academia.'”