Are Online Trainings for NGS Data Analysis as Effective as In-person Workshops?

Posted on November 06, 2020

Participating in a in-person workshop where everyone is in the same room and a trainer is present definitely has its advantages. Personal discussions and meetings are wonderful experiences. But especially now, during the Corona pandemic and the resulting restrictions, this is not always possible.

Now often the question arises 'Are online courses an alternative?'

The truth is that many of the participants are amazed at the value they get from our online courses.

Here are three powerful reasons to give it a try:

  1. Nothing is easier than attending an online course.
    What could be easier than taking an online course? You can be on a different continent and participate in one of our courses online for several days. All you need is Internet access and a headset.
  2. It is cost-effective.
    With an online course you save time and money. You don't have to plan your travel and you don't have to worry about the logistics of accommodation. Likewise, you will not have any lost days of arrival and departure.
  3. The quality is very high.
    Our experts have created online learning plans that are as extensive as workshops that are held in person and offer plenty of opportunity for interaction. Same quality - just a different format.

What is special about ecSeq's online workshops?

We have invested a lot of time and effort to keep the differences between the online courses and the classroom courses as small as possible.

The theoretical part

Besides the typical webinar style where the trainer talks and shows things with the mouse on a shared slide, we also use traditional teaching methods. Here the trainer is filmed in front of the screen with the slides and can therefore teach more freely. Sometimes you simply need both hands to explain difficult procedures. If something needs to be drawn for an explanation, the screen of an iPad is shared, on which the trainer can write and draw properly. As you can see, we use all modern possibilities to get the most out of the online course. You will be amazed how effective this works.


The hands-on part

The biggest differences between our online courses and classroom courses can probably be found in the practical part. Here our developers have come up with something very special to make the experience of the practical part perfect. We give each participant access to a cloud computer on which they can perform the exercises. Using a common web browser, you can log on to this cloud computer and perform the exercises in a browser-based Linux terminal. You do not need to install anything for this.

And now comes the best:
Our trainers can look at your terminal in real time and even help you interactively. This is really like classroom training, where the trainers also walk through the rows and offer their help.

Note: The assistent can only see your in-browser terminal window but nothing else and also do not have any access to your computer.


The social interaction

This is probably the part where you understandably have the most disadvantages compared to a classroom course. You can't ask your table neighbor for help, you can't have a chat during the breaks and there are no networking events, such as the common dinner.

Nevertheless, we try to make the best out of the situation. In addition to a joint introduction round, in which everyone introduces themselves briefly, we use all possible communication channels to make the course as interactive as possible. Participants can raise their hands, unlock their microphones if they have questions, or communicate with each other in the chat. Each time we are surprised how much interaction is possible. Even short discussions between several participants are not unusual.



Of course, learning in an online course is different from learning in class. Nevertheless, during our first online courses we have noticed that the quality remains consistently high and is in no way less than that of a classroom course. The limitations of social interaction can be minimized by the technical possibilities. The financial and time advantages are and remain without question. The participants of our previous courses have given us only positive feedback, which shows us that online courses are a good replacement for classroom courses.

Nevertheless, we hope that the pandemic will soon come to an end and that we will again be able to face the participants of our courses directly. Until then, we hope that you all stay healthy!

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