Technology has transformed the training industry, courtesy of advances in machine learning, virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence. Corporate training practices are embracing the power of technology now more than ever before, following the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this article, we will highlight the perks of both online and face-to-face training—along with the best way to make the most of both practices.
Online Training is Important
As the name suggests, online training involves the transfer of knowledge through the internet to target audiences anywhere in the globe. Experts in a particular field or subject train workers with the help of digital resources—including video tutorials, Word documents, virtual assessments, and PDFs.
In an organisation, online training may be an ongoing process whereby employees get to continually brush up on new workplace technologies and concepts. In such cases, online training may offer some advantages over face-to-face training:
- Greater Convenience: Users can train from anywhere in the world as long as they have a reliable internet connection. Information (e.g., training videos, notes, and support) is readily accessible facilitating a faster learning experience.
- Cost-Effective: Sure, online training may demand a high initial investment—owing to the purchase of laptops, internet subscriptions, and enrolment. But in the long-run, it’s a cheaper option than face-to-face training.
- Game Elements: Gamification has been shown to improve knowledge retention and user engagement. With online training, you can seamlessly incorporate game elements.
Face-to-Face Training is Still Relevant
The advantages of online training and the importance of technology cannot be denied! However, there is one factor that is more fundamental…humans as inherently social beings. We constantly crave human interaction and connections—even in a world characterised by telecommunication. Personal interactions help develop meaningful relationships—making it the best way to communicate and learn.
When it comes to training, face-to-face training offers a crucial learning experience that cannot be achieved through online training. Here are some of the benefits of physical human interaction:
- Dynamic Personal Relationship: Not all workplace skills can be taught online. Some demand a hands-on experience in a real-world setting. In certain scenarios, interacting directly with the tutor can prove to be more fulfilling than online training.
- Clear and Elaborate: In virtual training, there’s always the risk of misinterpretation and miscommunication. Sometimes it’s hard to properly convey emotions through email or chat. Physical human interaction allows both the instructor and the trainee to better read tones, mannerisms, and body language.
- Networking Opportunities: Face-to-face interactions facilitate richer networking relationships—and the building of stronger interpersonal bonds.
- Memorable Experiences: Trainees can retain information and learn skills more effectively in a face-to-face setting. It’s easier to maintain attention—and the instructor can easily spot trainees who are drifting off or struggling.
- Engagement and Feedback : Online training doesn’t lend itself nearly as well to training/discussions which rely on delegate engagement and feedback. Ideas may be stifled as delegates seem less willing to speak up and participate in online meetings.
Leveraging the Best of Both Worlds – Blended Training
Online training is convenient, but it’s not a substitute for face-to-face human interaction. For this reason, organisations can improve the quality and effectiveness of their training methods by retaining face-to-face meeting and embracing online training.
Blended training is a method of learning whereby instructor-led training is seamlessly combined with web-based technology—hence improving the outcome. Rather than stress over replacing one method with the other, blended training leverages the best of both worlds.
At Cotton Court, we added a tracking camera to our training suites so that trainers can present naturally to both a face-to-face group, and also stream the training to an online audience.