Why Would You Want to Attend a Classroom Workshop?

One of my regular subscribers wondered whether it makes sense to attend a live workshop instead of listening to my webinars:

I am following your blog posts quite regularly, I’ve been a yearly subscriber for more than 3 years now and I’m even trying to attend as many webinars as I can in real time. Is there a real benefit to participate in this classroom event if we are almost aware of all your slide decks and videos?

Absolutely. Here’s what one of the attendees of a recent SDN workshop wrote when asking me whether I would be willing to do an on-site event for his company:

The format shall be a classroom workshop, to promote the debate and questions among all stake holders in the same room, so everybody is on the same page and can clarify thoughts/needs/doubts.

The answer I gave my subscriber was also pretty straightforward: you won't get any content that is not (or won't be) in the webinar slide deck(s) and recordings, but then that’s not why you’d want to attend a classroom event. Even more, we can't cover all content I created in the SDN space in 2 days, but then you’ll get access to all the extra content and can view it at home.

However, you will meet other people interested in doing the same thing(s), chat with them about your problems, maybe figure out how they solved theirs (or not), and get the chance to get the whole room involved in solving your challenges. As most of us will be stuck in the same hotel for three days, I expect these chats to extend well into the evening.

It’s also incredible how diverse the audience is in these workshops (from high-end enterprises and government institutions to academics and service providers), and how much practical experience they bring with them.

Just to give you an example: in every SDN workshop I explain that you MUST put networking engineers and software developers into a single team if you ever want to get usable results from in-house SDN development… and during one of the recent workshops someone said “yes, that works really well until you get acquired and someone splits the team just because… it happened to us.”

Finally, some people have the amazing ability to drop whatever they're doing, take some time off and learn. Many others don't, so they never take a few days off to study emerging technologies, or figure out how they all fit together, and what they might mean for their career and their business. Attending a classroom event gives you the much-needed time off and allows you to focus (assuming you manage to forget your smartphone in your hotel room ;).


  1. Amen, in general. In fact, I have almost never been able to attend a full live webinar held during the work day. You need to plan to be able to get away.

    However, if a significant part of the benefit was for people to "be stuck in the same hotel for three days" so that discussions "extend well into the evening", then there are a lot of better places than Miami to hold it. Right outside of Newark airport, for example...
  2. Let me say that, even if I follow regularly the blog and the online courses, a live workshop will provide to you the occasion to understand things deeper and fix the concepts much clearer.
    Ivan, do I deserve something? ;-)
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