From 5 to 8 May 2015, the CEPOL Unit of the Hellenic Police Academy organised the course 66/2015 on Training of Webinar Educators. The course took place in Veria, in northern Greece, and was led by experts from Italy, France, Greece and CEPOL staff. The activity was aimed at police educators and training developers competent in the use of Internet and willing to increase their learning and training toolbox.
The General Inspector of Northern Greece, Police Lieutenant General Dimitrios Sofios, stressed at the official opening of the course the importance of e-learning and the growing support that EU Member States place on e-learning products.
The approach of the trainers was to involve participants as much as possible in all planning and implementation phases of a webinar and in an interactive way. The course included various presentations, discussions and workshop exercises:
- An overview of progress made in e-learning technology from an academic perspective;
- An interactive showcase of the differences between traditional seminars and webinars;
- Different methods and channels to promote webinars;
- Tools and tips to successfully deliver online content, including ways to hold the attention of an online audience;
- Live examples of how to deal with troubleshooting and advice on how to coach future experts and presenters;
- The post-webinar phase.
During the workshops, participants were divided into groups. Their tasks were to prepare and implement a webinar from scratch. They had the chance to test their abilities as webinar organisers and presenters in a series of “live-test” webinars.
Having a look at participants and experts’ feedback, the objectives were fully met. Comments were very positive:
“I’d especially like to emphasise the well-balanced mixture between passive – learning from the experts – and active learning. Through the active sessions, I realised that troubleshooting is one of the most important tasks of the organiser and moderator. We also realised that you learn from mistakes, and that the more you practise the easier the handling” - Mrs. Carina Mayer, Austria.
“It was particularly interesting to experience and learn how to operate the internal mechanism of a webinar and how much effort is needed to put so that everything runs smoothly” - Mrs. Natālija Batova, Latvia.
Mr. Cyrille Tisseyre, an expert from France, suggested: “an extra day, at a minimum, seems needful for trainers and participants. In addition, the synergy among the training team helped to establish a qualitative programme and it would be good to perpetuate it by creating a teaching kit for EU Member States”.
The 21st century has been characterized as the era of information and knowledge. The dawning of this age of wonders has permeated mankind’s every social aspect. Training and education could not have stood impervious to the calling of these digital Sirens. Since the very beginning of human society, educators have viewed themselves as the rocks which root the future; just as they plant the seeds of knowledge in the minds of keen students, they themselves become the bedrock on which their never ending quest, to reach out and mold as many willing minds as possible, by whatever means are available at hand, grows.
However, that traditional path has reached its border. A digital tidal wave has come crashing down to usher them into a new era. E-learning, after having taken its first “baby steps”, has been widely accepted and met with critical acclaim by traditionalists and progressive educators worldwide. Like a chrysalis emerging from its cocoon, CEPOL’s e-learning products have also undergone their own metamorphosis and having gotten past their infantile period, they have now evolved into their mature state. The use of webinars in particular, has escaped the close confines of CEPOL’s borders and has spread over to the EU Member States, which having viewed the added advantages and rewards of this approach, are quick to adopt them for their own benefit, as can be evident by the ever increasing demand for their use.
In the, not too distant, future, everyone involved in the preparation and implementation of webinars, will be thrilled and proud to see a buildup of signs on doors and windows of police organisations all over Europe saying: “Please be quiet. Webinar in progress”.