Virtual conferences. Virtual meetings. Virtual happy hours. It seems like everything is done virtually these days. But even as the effects of the pandemic still linger, full-on “virtual” isn’t the only way to get in front of advisors anymore. A few of the firms we work with are finding a balance between virtual and in-person continuing education (CE) delivery methods. These types of meetings are often referred to as hybrid events.

Hybrid CE events, or events that offer in-person and virtual options simultaneously, are gaining popularity as businesses work to bring back face-to-face interactions in a safe and healthy way. For example, some firms are welcoming small groups of advisors to attend an in-person CE event while casting the presentation live to additional advisors who prefer to tune in virtually. In this article, we talk about how you can utilize a hybrid solution for your future CE events and share some of the platforms that are leading the way for this type of CE delivery.

Scheduling a Hybrid Event with State DOIs

We’ve already established what a hybrid event is, but how do you plan for hybrid CE delivery and what other things do you need to consider when hosting these events? As far as scheduling a hybrid event goes, firms that wish to use this delivery method will need to set-up both a classroom CE AND a Webinar CE event. Since states and designation boards are as new to hybrid events as the rest of us, they don’t currently have an option for firms to set up one meeting that includes both an in-person and virtual component. However, this is something to keep an eye on in the future as hybrid events continue to gain popularity.

Complying with Both Classroom & Webinar CE Requirements

Other things to consider when prepping for a hybrid CE event is how the content will be delivered and how virtual and in-person engagement will be monitored and recorded (if needed per state-specific requirements). When it comes to the presentation, an instructor needs to keep in mind that the people that showed up onsite, aren’t the only ones tuning into the presentation. Therefore, using a digital, visual presentation platform that can issue polling questions and allow virtual members to communicate through a chat function is a great way to keep both audience types engaged. Additionally, these types of platforms typically have technology that can track engagement and time spent in the meeting, which may be required to earn CE credit in certain states. We’ll touch on these virtual platforms a little later.

Answering the Question: Is Hybrid Right for Me?

If you’re thinking, “Hey, this sounds pretty cool, I want to give it a try!” That’s great! But before you dive in, it’s important to think about your upcoming CE event and decide whether hybrid delivery fits your agenda. Will you be inviting advisors from out of town who may prefer to tune in virtually? Will you be hosting the in-person portion in a town or at venue that has limited capacity and social distancing requirements? Answering ‘yes’ to questions like this may put you in a good position to offer a hybrid CE option.

Key Players in Hybrid Delivery

If you’ve been delivering Webinar CE events over the past year, you’re likely familiar with the various hosting platforms out there. However, some platforms are more specialized in hybrid delivery. The major difference between a standard webinar platform, and one that is equipped for hybrid delivery is that a hybrid platform has the ability to showcase the live presenter and the course presentation, such as a PowerPoint slide deck, all at once to the virtual attendees.

Two companies we’ve heard being used for this delivery type are Bizzabo and Slido. Each of these platforms specialize in delivering high-quality, user-friendly, and well-tracked hybrid events. With applications that make it easy to issue living polling questions, host audience Q&As, and deliver real-time quizzes, these hybrid platforms have bridged the gap between virtual and in-person events. To learn more on how Bizzabo can help boost attendance with hybrid CE, click here. To learn how Slido can help you deliver engaging hybrid CE events, click here.

Still have more questions about how hybrid CE events could work for your company? At Quest CE, we’re here to answer any questions you may have and help make informed decisions when it comes to your CE sales strategy. If you’re interested in learning more, please reach out to our dedicated sales team, here. If you would like to explore some of the value-add CE services we offer, click here.