One of the workshops held during the 2015 Annual Conference of the Pennsylvania Council of Mediators was titled "Online Mediation - A New Frontier". Planned to last two hours, it had been designed to be as informative and useful as possible.
As a result, during the first hour of the workshop Giuseppe Leone, founder of Virtual Mediation Lab, explained the basics of online mediation: what it means, how it works, its benefits, how to integrate face-to-face and online mediation, how to choose a good video collaboration software, and so on.
And during the second hour, participants could not only watch a 20-min video of a simulation run with 3 members of the Pennsylvania Council of Mediators who had never participated in an online mediation before. They could also ask those 3 mediators any questions about their experience - e.g. what they liked - or didn't like - about it.
According to Barbara Foxman, the 2015 Annual Conference organizer, that "don't just tell me about online mediation - show me" approach worked very well. She sent the following message to Giuseppe Leone and Ellen Morfei, an experienced mediator who had helped Giuseppe setting up the online mediation simulation, and participated in it, playing the role of one of the parties. .
On behalf of the of the Pennsylvania Council of Mediators, we want to thank you for the excellent workshop you presented at our conference. Your workshop had "exceeded expectations" as noted on the evaluations and also participants commented that "it had lots of practical information, great use of technology and examples of how to adapt to difficulties, very cutting edge, useful with good role play examples, and attendees were appreciative of your ability to address technical difficulties. It was suggested that you do "part 2" for next year's conference."