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Jan 05 2021
I’ve attended hundreds of conferences and hundreds of workshops over my career. People often ask: Should I attend a conference or a training course if I want to build my skills?
The answer (of course) is that it depends. It depends on your personal learning goals and what you want to get out of the experience.
Both are incredibly valuable.
A workshop is a comprehensive training on a specific topic. If you want to learn something from A to Z and make sure that you know everything that matters and how to implement it, then a training is right for you.
Training programs are well thought out knowledge and skill transfers. Their objective is to empower the learners to gain the skills.
A good training program will include materials, templates, activities and resources to help you implement what you are learning and really synthesize it. You get step-by-step instructions that you can implement. You learn exactly how to do it.
For this reason, training courses are usually good to develop knowledge or mastery of a specific topic.
I think of a training as being like eating a balanced meal.
Conferences are great if you want to get ideas, insights and inspiration. At a conference you typically attend short sessions (30 minutes to an hour) where presenters are sharing a handful of ideas, tips or tricks.
Presenters are usually vetted for their experience, knowledge and presentation style. They usually know a lot and share their experiences. They aren’t professional trainers helping you to implement.
Their goal is to share a few ideas that are helpful to the audience.
Conferences also provide great networking opportunities.
A conference is usually helpful if you already have an understanding of the topic at hand. For example, if you already have an intermediate or advanced knowledge level you’ll be able to get great ideas to build at a conference. You get pro tips and tricks. You learn from examples and case studies. You get the details on the latest trends.
If you are a beginner it may be more difficult to follow, as the short sessions aren’t designed to take you from beginner to end.
It really depends on what you already know and your goal from the training.
Attend a conference if:
Attend a training if:
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