Ascend: The Benefits of a Conference at a Fraction of the Cost

National, state, and regional conferences provide community interaction, networking, educational opportunities, and inspiration to the reporters, captioners, scopists, and students in our industry that attend them. Unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of our industry actively attend conferences because the cost, time, and travel required can be insurmountable obstacles. Fortunately, users of Stenograph products can enjoy most of the same benefits wherever they are, at their convenience, at a fraction of the cost, via Ascend Training by Stenograph.

Attending an in-person seminar is expensive. In addition to the time off of work, there’s the cost of traveling. You’re talking about a significant investment at today’s gas prices, whether you’re driving or flying and then taking local transportation. Now add one or more overnight stay, the cost of meals, drinks, and the event itself — and of course, that doesn’t account for other potential costs that may be necessary, such as bringing family along or making arrangements for animal care while you’re away. It adds up to hundreds or thousands of dollars. In comparison, Ascend‘s annual professional subscription (without including available discounts for students, scopists, or STAR members) with all of the benefits: 24/7 access to videos, weekly live Q&A sessions, weekly tips, quick access to expert answers, community interaction and engagement is half the cost of a one-day registration fee at a national conference.

We all need ongoing training to keep up with changes and improve productivity. However, not everyone can take off a full day, several days, or a whole week to attend seminars. Frequently, a reporter is only available to learn when a job unexpectedly cancels, while they’re commuting, or when they show up early for a job and have a little time while waiting for everyone else to arrive. That’s why classes don’t just happen on a single day and time at Ascend. Instead, all classes are recorded and made available on-demand so members can watch when they have time, interest, and desire to learn.

Or, they can watch only the portion that they need. Have you ever attended a class where you already knew five of the six things being taught, but that one new tip or skill made you feel it was worth it to sit through a review of the things you already knew? At Ascend, all of the video recordings are accompanied by a time-referenced content guide so that you can skip anything familiar and fast forward directly to the part(s) that interest you. Why spend an hour watching a webinar if you only needed ten minutes?

Also – in an in-person class, your ability to ask questions is limited; you’re not the only person in attendance, and of course, the speaker has limited time to address questions. At Ascend, you’re not limited to when or how many questions you can ask. You can ask all of your questions and get the benefit of the questions asked by your fellow members.

You have to show up at a particular place and time for in-person classes and share the facilities with many others. You can’t take a break when you want or need to – there’s no way to pause or go back to repeat something. Your instructor is there for the class length, and then they’re gone. In comparison, Ascend is always wherever you are. If you have a phone, tablet, or laptop with access to the internet, you have Ascend and all of its resources with you.

Conferences feature seminar content that they hope will be helpful and appeal to those attending. However, because there is only a limited amount of time, they have limited content. At Ascend, new content is generated daily, weekly, and monthly, and members have access to ALL of the content that has been generated. There’s always more, and you can help design the future curriculum by requesting the specific content you want!

There’s no denying that conferences are fun, and in-person events have benefits that no virtual experience can match: hugs, parties, dancing, laughter, conversations at the hotel bar, group dinners that become wonderful memories, etc. If you can take the time and if you can afford it, state and national conferences are an experience not to be missed. But suppose you’re among the 90-95% who can’t attend a conference. In that case, it’s essential to realize that you’re not entirely shut out of the benefits of community and learning typically afforded by conferences. Community and learning are not exclusively available at conferences.

Everyone benefits from community. We all need a professional, supportive environment where we are welcome and accepted for the critical things we have in common: our jobs, goals, and challenges. Access to other people who “get it” is key to producing innovative solutions. You don’t have to figure everything out all by yourself: at Ascend, each of us can be our unique selves and a member of a larger whole that benefits from each other’s real-world experiences. Come and join us and begin enjoying the benefits of convenient, on-demand community and training opportunities!

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