Thanks to the convenience of attending virtual events, more and more CPAs, tax professionals, finance professionals, and people in similar professions are inclined to attend online webinars and virtual conferences for their continuing education. As live streaming has turned mainstream, webinars and virtual conferences are becoming a viable alternative to in-person meetings, events, exhibitions, and training sessions and it is highly likely that they are here to stay.
The primary purpose to establish myCPE was to facilitate the delivery of such virtual events for continuing professional education, long before anyone had even contemplated a national lockdown or heard the term ‘zoom fatigue’.
While all virtual events are designed to connect people through live streaming, they each serve very different purposes and they all require engaging content to achieve any real impact.
Users are advised to opt for a webinar when they need a simple way to learn new things or earn continuing education credits. Webinar platforms can host hundreds of people at a time.
Webinars run one session at a time with one or more speakers delivering content either through live video, pre-recorded content, or a combination of the two. Webinar platforms provide a basic level of interactive features with attendees having an opportunity to ask questions in real-time, comment in the chat, and participate in live polls and quizzes.
A typical webinar usually lasts between 45 – 60 minutes and the webinar format is very well suited to delivering virtual training academies, thought leadership sessions, product launches, and internal comms.
Virtual conferences are designed to mimic the format of physical events, enabling multiple sessions to run simultaneously, while allowing attendees to access different keynote speakers, educational sessions, breakout rooms, and networking opportunities.
Virtual conferences are more complex than webinars and the possibilities are endless with bespoke virtual conference platforms to enable participants to create their own agenda and move easily between rooms to access the content.
Although virtual conferences tend to require more planning and production than webinars, they are a great alternative to large-scale events that would usually take place at a physical venue such as conferences, trade shows, and expos.
Virtual conference platforms have the capacity to host more attendees than webinar platforms and they also tend to provide a more sophisticated suite of interactive features, which can really help drive engagement.
On the surface, there aren’t many differences between webinars and virtual conferences. It’s common to think they are the same event format, just different technical jargons to differentiate between the two.
Here are the basic differences compared:
|Generally, 45 Mins to 70 Mins duration||Generally, 4 Hrs to 8 Hrs duration|
|1 to 1.5 CPE per session||4 to 8 CPE in each event|
|Interaction is possible only through text chats during Q&A||Interaction allowed with Keynote Speaker, and Other Participants|
|Single subject area covered in 1 session||Multiple subject areas are covered in multiple sessions|
Most of the webinars held on myCPE are good enough to qualify for CPE credits of multiple qualifications. Since they are approved by multiple governing bodies at the same time, therefore the individuals attending them get separate credits for all the different qualifications/job titles they have.
Also, for people who may not find bigger chunks of time in one go, the CPE webinars are the best way for them.
On the other hand, virtual conferences are of longer durations and are generally meant for a single similar group of professionals who are looking to gain more knowledge of the latest developments in the industry. Also, not all the sessions at the conference may be of significance to every attendee.
However, ideally, the conferences are capable of providing many credits in one go and are still very much in demand among professionals. Moreover, due to the interactive nature of the sessions, it also gives opportunities to interact with the top keynotes and build your network.
Depending on the plan you created at the beginning of your reporting cycle, you can choose which mode is most suitable for your continuing education. However, myCPE is home to both, Live Webinars in 50+ different subject areas, and Virtual Conferences. All these are planned several weeks in advance so that it is convenient for you to attend with ease. Check them out.
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The Authors, Allen Smith is a Practicing Certified public accountant and senior vice president at myCPE – Continuing Education Platform for Professionals. He understands the current needs of the education domain and strategies for the presenters to adapt the new changes.