Significant demand for NBAA's On-Demand Education program recently led to the creation of the Association’s Virtual International Operators Conference Regional Review Webinar Series, an expanded interactive program focused on issues specific to companies with an international mission profile.
The week-long sessions feature a virtual study group, allowing operators to discuss topics in greater depth, and exchange their ideas and experiences with others in a collaborative online environment.
“We've held live, online webinars for three years now,” explained Jo Damato, NBAA Director, Operations & Educational Development. “[However,] a 90-minute ‘blip’ in your life on a tightly-focused subject doesn't leave very much time for Q&A afterwards. The virtual study group takes that 90-minute experience, and extends it into a weeklong event, giving participants the valuable opportunity to drill down on a topic.”
The first expanded webinar and virtual study group began September 26, with the initial run of programs scheduled to run through November 18. Upcoming programs will spotlight operations in the North Atlantic and North America region (October 31-November 4); Europe (November 7-11); and the Caribbean and South America (November 14-18).
Each week-long series begins with an expanded webinar, moderated by experts on the subject. That presentation is followed by questions, and suggested topics for the group to discuss. The virtual study group gives attendees and presenters the opportunity to review the presentation as their schedules allow, as well as to compare their responses to the topics posed.
“Participants have the benefit of a private discussion thread, not unlike NBAA's Airmail listserve, to ask questions and attempt to get an interchange going,” Damato noted. “Everyone has access to a kind of ‘private classroom’ and the opportunity to connect with fellow students, without the pressure of a time limit. Additionally, the online environment gives people not able to attend the annual Schedulers and Dispatchers conference, or the International Operators Conference, the chance to get up close to these issues.
“The greatest thing about this program,” she added, “is that each of the participants bring their own experiences to the discussion.”
An expanded question-and-answer session follows later in the week, with a close-down session and brief introduction to next week’s topic on Friday. Feedback to the program has been very positive, Damato noted.
“One member stated the online sessions are already the ‘main event’ on Tuesdays,” she said. “Their conference room is packed to view the webinar, and everyone hangs around afterwards to discuss the topic presented. We've also heard a lot of member companies rotate their flight department schedules so that members may attend the different events.”
Despite the many apparent advantages to web-based discussions and presentations, Damato stressed the online program won't replace existing live conferences, such as NBAA’s upcoming 39th Annual International Operators Conference, scheduled for March 12 to 15 in San Diego, CA.
“We do a great job at our live events,” she said. “An online session cannot replace the experience of meeting face-to-face to share your experience, and some may not feel as comfortable sharing in the online environment as they would one-on-one.”