Story von Daniele Samparisi

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Zielland Österreich
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Soziale Netzwerke

Daniele Samparisi, am 18.10.2021 um 12:50

Pros & contras of online trainings - from an ex-sceptic

After the entirely virtual training "Promoting Gender Equality by Volunteer Work" I look back at the positive and negative aspects of the online format

I’ve been a volunteer and a participants at various Erasmus+ projects and trainings in the last years, all of them in presence. The positive aspects of all those physical meetings kept me hungering for more… Until 2020, when it all abruptly stopped, leaving the floor to the digital realm. That was also the case with the training “Promoting Gender Equality by Volunteer Work” by Grenzenlos, which originally wanted to host us for a week in Vienna. It was first postponed a few months and then transposed online. Honestly, I was rather sceptical, doubting whether any good could actually result from it at that point. I had no experience with digital events, but I wanted to be open to new experiences. For all involved it meant significant changes had to be made and, as in every training, the success depended on everybody. We needed the appropriate technical equipment, a quiet location and a lot of motivation. The training was shortened, as it was not conceivable to spend a full week online. That meant some content had to be cut and alternatives be found, like individual research to be done before as homework. Despite

the good time-management, the most challenging aspect was indeed spending many hours in front of a screen,

which is definitely more tiring for the body. Despite some great online-tools, teamwork and group discussions

were difficult. And despite creative virtual energizers, the movement and physical contact were missing; there

simply was no group dance, no smell of coffee, no city-tour, no late-night talks, no cooking together, no sauna,

swimming, hiking or playing together, which ultimately is how I’ve developed deep friendships all over the world.

But naturally there are positive sides also in the digital reality, some of which to be honest, I don’t think I would

have ever considered if it weren’t for this difficult situation. That training has been my introduction in the world of

virtual events; it may sound trivial, but I learned to use online tools and methods which I didn’t know before and

turned out to be very useful in my job just a few weeks later. I discovered how these can actually transform

trainings to become more inclusive, allowing people to participate, who couldn’t otherwise have travelled so

easily – be it because of a disability or health problems, because of children or relatives to look after, because of

money, visa, time or other issues. Furthermore, the training has nonetheless been ground of learning and of

cultural exchange, with the advantage of sitting comfortably at home on our sofas, and less expenses on the

organisational side. Having experienced first-hand the ups and downs of online seminars I am now doubtlessly

more open towards them and motivated to participate and organise such events in the future – especially trying to

integrate it with the physical presence. I can imagine for example an offline training in which digital tools are used

to work, collaborate and play together, or that some participants or a guest speaker connect through zoom for a

few hours.