Workshops Vs Structured Courses: Analyzing the Relative Effectiveness

Workshops Vs Structured Courses: Analyzing the Relative Effectiveness

By Dr. Kisholoy Roy

In contemporary times, if you flip through the pages of newspaper or make education related queries on the Internet, chances are that you will comes across a number of advertisements and intimations related to either workshops or structured courses related to a particular domain of study. For example, let's say someone is interested in advertising management, then there are chances of a workshop in advertising being conducted by someone from the industry getting seen and also structured courses on the subject being offered by institutes like Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad and Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi.


Whether one should opt for a workshop or for a structured course depends totally upon an individual's requirement and the budget one can afford. To start with, workshops on subjects like advertising, retailing, sales etc are of shorter time frame that offers flexibility to participants. There is also a significant element of learning ease in case of workshops as things are mostly not rigid. Because of shorter time frame, workshops are comparatively cheaper. But then the onus of learning a subject and its effective application rests with the participants. A workshop trainer or mentor conducts the workshop with certain pre set objectives and mostly people conducting these workshops are seasoned professionals who are into bigger things than teaching or training and conducting workshops for them is a way to unwind, interact in a different setting and offers them a chance to unlearn and relearn things. It is largely felt that workshops are apt for two segments of learners. First for those who want to have superficial knowledge about a subject so that they are able to communicate on the issue when they are with their peers and can share with them certain relevant inputs. In this context, I will like to quote the subject of Digital Marketing which is now- a- days being taken up as a theme of many a workshop. The second segment of learners are people from that very industry who can attend such workshops to gain deeper and more concise knowledge of a particular area of their work that can catapult them to better positions and better paid jobs in the industry.

However for learners who need to understand a subject well from the grassroots level till the professional level in a way that they are employable in an industry in future as new entrants, structured courses are the order of the day. Yes, they will be costly and time consuming and can have many elements of rigidity and discipline in them but then structured courses are designed to groom a novice into a well read and well armed professional who has the power to apply theory to practice. The curriculum, pedagogy etc will all be designed to meet this requirement.

It is a well known fact that shortcuts cannot pave way for success and hence for the later category of learners, structured courses and not workshops are absolutely recommended.