Online Workshops Provide New Opportunities for Conflict Management Training

Friday, April 24, 2020

particpants around tables during workshop

For the first time in its history, the Conflict Management Certificate Program (CMCP) is being offered online. The program is based out of Conrad Grebel University College’s Peace and Conflict Studies department, and offers workshops in a variety of conflict management and mediation practices. Participants are invited to attend individual workshops for professional development or personal interest, or to work toward a certificate in Conflict Management and Mediation or Conflict Management and Congregational Leadership. Spring workshops have transitioned to an online format to facilitate learning from home in accordance with COVID-19 physical-distancing policies. Sue Baker, who manages the CMCP, noted that the pandemic was the impetus to bring the program’s interactive workshops online. “Engaging in the inaugural Conflict Coaching workshop opened my eyes to the potential of online learning.”

The first online training session took place in early April. One of its participants reflected, “I wasn’t sure the online format would be effective for me, but I was pleasantly surprised. At no time did I feel that this format was ‘less than’ the classroom workshop version. In fact, I found it suited my learning style preferences even better.” Features like virtual breakout sessions rooms aided the interaction. Another participant found the course to be “engaging and enriching” and “will definitely be interested in more online delivery options to balance professional, personal, and geographic restrictions.”

“Several people commented on the benefit of avoiding the Highway 401 commute, while others have added a second workshop as they no longer have to budget for hotels and airfare,” said Baker. The online option saved one person a four-hour daily commute!

The workshops are drawing attention across Canada, leading a participant from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, to share that the opportunity “was fantastic. I hope these will continue.” The quickly-filling workshops have also drawn international participation from the United Kingdom and the USA, and elicited interest as far as Japan!

Some of the sessions have already filled up, as people who would not normally have the opportunity to travel to Grebel are taking advantage of this interactive online learning. The CMCP has added another section of Understanding Conflict Foundations in June (mornings of June 9, 10, 16 and 17) because the May dates reached capacity. Future workshop topics include Informal Mediational Skills for Pastors and Lay Leaders on the mornings of June 3, 4, 11 and 12, and the May 13-14 Mental Health and Conflict sessions which ask: “How does mental health impact how we approach conflict?”

Baker shared that they have been so pleased with the impact of the first workshops, and the opportunities this creates for international participation, that the CMCP looks forward to continuing virtual options once physical distancing measures are over. Sue also recognizes the collaboration with Credence and Co, who are instrumental in making this online model of content delivery possible.

To view a full list of the workshops offered online this spring, and to register today, visit the CMCP website.  

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