Participants' feedback on digital training format

The e-conference on the new EU regulations 2019/1020 and 2019/515 on market surveillance was a mixed experience for (South) East European and German experts.

On the positive side it has to be mentioned that more than 50 computers logged into the online e-conference. Behind some of the computers, several market surveillance experts gathered to follow the training. Some had organised interpretation among themselves, in addition to the conference material translated into three different languages by the PTB projects. In addition to market surveillance experts, representatives from the civil society as well as from CEFTA and other cooperation projects were invited. Thus, the reach of this online event was much broader than the originally planned physical conference, which would have involved about 30 participants. The quality of the training submission was surprisingly good. Despite the physical distance, a lot of the participants engaged actively by sending questions via the conference streaming chat, the project coordinators' circle and via Viber. A considerable number also participated in the online learning surveys and feedback form.

On the other hand, the internet connection was not reliable in all of the partner countries. It was even more complicated to have sound, microphone, camera and even shared screens available, when the e-conference gathered the experts in interactive workshops. The speed and level of detail of the input, but also the process of navigating through various access links was more challenging for participants than anticipated. The main lesson learned: Less can be more.

In the online feedback form, 14 of the participants rated their acquaintance with the new EU regulations from average 3,13 (out of 5 marks, 1 being the best mark) before the e-conference to 2,09. They stated that they could easily access the documents on the website (1,23), that they were able to ask questions and get clarifications (1,71) and that the trainers did a good job (2,07). Nevertheless only approximately half of the participants stated that the conference met their expectation with the mark 1 "very good" or 2 "good", whereas for the others the experience was only "okay" (3) and for one person even "not so good" (4). One of the open comments might summarize the experience made this time:  "I support online training during Covid 19 but physical attendance at the training is much better and more productive."