Six years ago I began to attend virtual meetings by telephone for the first time. At first it felt strange and I wondered if I could really make personal connections to people I couldn't "see." I was soon taken by how intimate a group of people could become by telephone, sharing our personal experiences, laughing, and caring about each other. I still continue close friendships with several of the people I met in that first group six years ago. I have continued to participate in telephone groups and now even lead them as well as teach others how to lead them. This is an extremely effective means of communication and should be taken advantage of especially by people who are otherwise isolated.
―Carmen R. Bolanos, Ph.D., PCC
My personal experience with virtual group and distance learning has been very positive. I admit to being skeptical about whether it would work in the beginning. After almost two years of training via the virtual classroom and support groups I have found the following to be true:
Learning is significant.
I have learned to listen differently and more effectively.
I have probably met 75 fellow students. I have developed relationships with 6 of them whom I trust and enjoy. To date I have only met one of them in person.
I trust these people with my vulnerable side.
They trust me.
I get support easily by picking the phone and calling whether I am at home or when I am in another state.
We also email congratulations and encouragement back and forth.
Others that I am not as close to also are helpful to me in my quest for knowledge and they say the same is true of me for them.
I enjoy being able to learn sitting in my office at home or in my professional office. Sometimes I sip tea or coffee dressed in my workout clothes at our dining room table or on our deck.
I believe it is the future of much of adult learning.
Distance learning and virtual groups as well as individual conversations have been and continue to be a positive experience for me.
―Gary F. Campbell, MS, LMHC
All I can say is that I have made some amazing friends over the past 2 years over virtual calls and in virtual groups. They are lifelong dear friends. I love the fact that I can learn and get great stuff without ever leaving my house, dealing with transportation, weather or getting out of my pajamas!
―Michelle Friedman, MSW
I participated in a virtual group learning experience four years ago that has had a profound effect on my life. The course was a six week class in dreaming big dreams and then planning for the future to achieve those dreams. There were about 15 people in the class from all over the country. I was amazed at how well I could get to know people who I couldn't see in such a short time. The class was so wonderful that at the end of the last class we were all wanting to continue encouraging each other in the fulfillment of our dreams.
The instructor suggested that perhaps someone would be willing to arrange a periodic virtual meeting and one of my classmates stepped forward. We have been meeting virtually once each quarter for three and a half years. During this time, two people have written books, three have bought their "dream homes", three have left jobs that were not rewarding and found others that were, and all are amazed at the progress they have made. All of us attribute our significant successes to this group.
―Kevyn Malloy, PhD
© 2009 Strategic Design & Research, Inc.