Why Professional Development Offline is Effective

The online space has brought us so many ways to access content, connect with others and provided us endless distractions if we want them (I’m looking at all you virtual farmers, candy crushers and word descramblers). For CMA, it has allowed us to offer engaging learning opportunities throughout Canada through Certificate Courses and the Chartered Marketer designation program. And while online learning is flexible, accessible and more engaging than ever before, in addition to online offerings, we also still run a robust, in-person seminar program.

It’s easy to see the appeal of doing your professional development online – it’s on your own schedule and at a click of a button (and probably in your pajamas).

But despite the possibility of comfortable attire, you must be highly motivated – it has become your singular responsibility to get the work done. Also, you often can’t just raise your hand to ask questions or get feedback in the moment. These are small downfalls in an otherwise excellent medium for professional development, but they are important when making the distinction about how online is different to offline learning.

The social components (like networking and idea-sharing), the ability to work on communication skills and the small time-commitment to content ratio are a few of the reasons our offline learning is still running strong. Despite the logistical challenges that location-based learning imparts to both the learners and facilitators, it provides major benefits:

  • One of the most highly rated components of our seminar program is the ability to work in groups of peers from different industries and backgrounds, and ideate together through facilitator-led activities. Getting to not only network with other professional marketers, but to work on applying new, shared and unique knowledge to a task is something you cannot get outside of a seminar or workshop environment.
  • Being with others also makes you think on your toes, communicate with people who may not share your vision and take on new perspectives. In fact, being able to practice communication skills is so important we have started running a few seminars a year specifically dedicated to the essential skills that underpin all other training (like presentation skills and professional networking).
  • Seminars are intensive – you can learn a lot in a very short amount of time. We limit the number of spots open in any given seminar to allow for deep interactions to occur, not only peer-to-peer, but also between participants and the facilitator. Put together a knowledgeable facilitator, a limited number of spots, small groups and interactive activities – it’s a recipe for deep learning.

We run seminars because they are impactful, even in the online age. Offline professional development is different and worthwhile – even if your inbox has a shudder-worthy amount of unread mail, like mine after a half day or full day away from your desk.

Upcoming Seminars:

August 20 – Developing the Marketing Plan
Was all well run. Enjoyed the balance between the round tables and Richard's content. Well moderated as well. (from participant feedback, August 2018)

September 4 – Content Marketing
I liked the step by step process slides that I can take back to work and apply with my team. Getting to apply the content we learned into the real world, in order to drive success, was the best part. (from participant feedback, February 2019)

September 17 – Maximizing Your Presentation Skills
The best part of the seminar for me was being able to participate in a way that didn't make me feel out of my depth. (from participant feedback, October 2018)

September 26 – Privacy Essentials for Marketers (NEW) - What you need to know about real-world compliance and breaking developments

Author: Jess Rodrigues | Interim Director, Learning Programs @ CMA