10 tips for more engaging online tax and accounting CPE
When COVID-19 took over the world in March, we had to adjust the way business is conducted. Conferences were canceled and professionals worked from home.
While the manner of communications changed, the need to stay informed and current remained the same. Professionals needed to retain their licenses and certifications, while continuing to interact with clients. Online delivery will be with us for some time. So, we all turned to Zoom or another online live delivery platform to fill the gap.
Despite the need to transition to online, we quickly discovered that an engaging presentation in the online world is quite different than in live events. A 2017 article from Inside Higher Ed noted that in-person teaching allows for a bit of improvisation. In a live event, you can read your audience and adjust your speed and style. In a virtual event, you cannot see your audience and thus, cannot adjust on the fly. Teaching online suddenly required an almost artistic eye toward designing course materials and possessing a captivating personality. Accountants are not always known for their artistic style or charm. Online continuing professional education presenters are now faced with a problem that teachers were encountering in the early days of the pandemic. We have had to adjust to a two-dimensional CPE presentation environment.
The challenges of a two-dimensional platform are instantly apparent. The audience sees us, but in most cases, we do not see them. We receive no feedback, and sometimes have less time to prepare because the time to adjust has been so rapid. Simply getting something available online is the goal. Substitution for conferences had to be addressed in a rapid manner, and quality was not as important as prompt delivery of product. However, now that we have had a full season of online CPE delivery, it’s time to address what makes a quality online experience for attendees of online CPE presentations.
Who am I to tell you what makes a good CPE course? During the pandemic, I have designed and taught numerous tax and accounting courses which have received favorability ratings between 90 to 100 percent. It is from that perspective that I offer the top 10 tips I have learned to create engaging presentations if you are asked to present a tax or accounting seminar online: