Don’t get me wrong, I like “new school.” I enjoy technology in training: iPads in the classroom, mobile learning, virtual classroom, social media and the like. The impact of technology in training over the past few years has been dramatic! It is becoming a popular practice that when new training is required, organizations first think of e-learning as the default solution. I understand the appeal of all the benefits of e-learning, but let’s not forget what got us this far. New school is great, but let’s keep old school!
Here are three reasons to keep “old school” techniques:
Not all training belongs online.
Many types of content are effectively presented and practiced online. Conceptual content, for example, can be delivered via an online lecture and then applied through an interactive and robust case study, followed by meaningful feedback. Teaching about software online, using creative demonstrations and interactive simulations, also works very well. However, when it comes to interpersonal skills training, the limitations of e-learning can be exposed. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but I still believe critical people skills are best practiced in a face-to-face environment.
Keep doing what you are good at.
If your traditional instructor-led training (ILT) is successful, meaning it produces on-the-job results and is financially viable, think long and hard about converting it to e-learning. A comfortable, safe classroom with a talented instructor, relevant content, and lots of hands-on practice, is hard to beat. Resist the temptation to sacrifice quality and results just to say you have courses online (unless you are mandated to do so).
Use technology for the right reasons.
ILT will continue to be an integral part of performance-based blended learning solutions for years to come. I have no problem continuing to embrace technology and leveraging it in training, however decisions around the use of technology in training should be made for the right reasons and not just because we can.
We can do our banking online and yet we still have bank branches. We have internet TV but we still have cable. We have cell phones but we still have land lines. We have web-based tutorials, self-directed e-learning, and virtual classrooms but there is still an important role for traditional instructor-led training. New school is great but let’s keep old school.