Conferences and Classes- How Do You Learn?

In this information age every thing is becoming easier to do things virtually, I wanted to make Massaman Curry Chicken. I searched for recipes on line and even found a you tube of someone cooking and giving instructions. This was great! It would have been better if I could have gone to a quick cooking class- but even better if I could have gone to a Thai cooking class that was six weeks long, I could have learned how to make many more dishes that I am sure to love!

This week I received several invitations to go online to a few video conferences to hear about subjects related to my work. I did not choose to be a part of the virtual conference on breastfeeding, but instead I am attending a conference next year in NC on breastfeeding. These things are great if you can not get out of your home to attend a conference or live so far away from any where they may be offered. But are they a replacement for a real hands on experience?  If you live a long way away from a city offering conferences and can not attend, it certainly may be the next best thing option.

For childbirth classes, we have been asked to teach a one day class and have declined doing so. We personally do not feel that if you are seeking a class for preparation, one day preparation may not be going to fully equip you for as daunting as labor and birth could be. There is so much you want to know and learn to be able to make great decisions along the way. We have a two weekend immersion class that is for those who are really too busy to take the full series. We struggled with how to make it jam packed and effective. But we feel we did so, although we are in agreement that it is not a full replacement for the six week series for most who need time to absorb and assimilate information in smaller increments.

I plan to attend two conferences this year because I understand that attending a training or conference is much more than just assimilating information from a speaker. It is about the interaction with others while doing so. It is about the questions that are provoked and the additional answers you get to hear from other’s experiences. I  know teleconferences may be able to impart some information that may be valuable. I understand that even watching  videos to learn something can be useful. We recently had a doula client whose education and preparation for childbirth consisted of watching You Tube videos. That seemed to work for her. But for most folks it would not work for them. She did not have the birth she planned, but she is happy with it none the less.

I was happy with my Massaman Curry Chicken, but it did not taste like the same named dish at my favorite Thai restaurant. I do think I would like to take a Thai cooking class. I bet with the expertise of a fun and talented instructor, the hands on approach, the careful critique of my skills and being around others who are learning and making mistakes too will help my cooking finesse!

We teach a six week series for childbirth class- eighteen hours of instruction. And although this sounds like a long class- it goes by quickly and I still feel we do not cover it all! We teach a three hour breastfeeding couples class and this past month I was told I should have included a bit more for the moms who are returning to work. We can not cover everything in a class, thus the reason we suggest some great books to also read. Although we teach private classes, it is a consensus with our teachers that a group class is the best received by our students.

So, in this age of everything being done on your computer or on your television, please realize that there are a multiplicity of ways to learn but hands on- interactive with others- the ability to ask questions and reflect on others’ answers is probably best for most folks. We still offer classes that you come to, sit and chat with others in like situations, laugh and interact, watch videos with added discussions, have fun and actually learn too!

You can certainly decide what works for you. But don’t decide to cut your training short because you are too busy to invest in learning about something that impacts your business or life.  If I had a dime for every time a new mom or dad told me, “I wish I had known…. ” in regards to their labor and birth of their child, I would be able to sponsor many a 3day walker! You know how you can best learn.  Information helps you to feel good about your choices because you know you did make good decisions based on the information acquired.