“Still, we should wait before writing any eulogies. Most learning professionals doubt traditional classroom learning will ever go extinct. After all, it makes up more training hours available than any other delivery method. Instead, they envision it incorporating technology to achieve a blended format that takes advantage of both tools’ strengths. According to ATD’s research report Instructional Design Now, 70 percent of talent development professionals think a blended approach will characterize learning by 2020. “
Here’s the reality that many in the training industry, especially those who work with the companies who sell online and on-demand training tools won’t tell you.
Students don’t learn as much as they do in classrooms.
That’s not to say that online training, or recorded on-demand training, doesn’t have some value, and that you can’t learn a lot that way, but having spent the last 4 years fulltime doing training live in person, live online and through recordings, I feel pretty strongly that online and recorded content only goes so far. The level of distraction in a classroom is nowhere near as bad as it is for the other options when no one can really see whether you’re paying attention or not.
Let’s be honest, if you have 3-4 days of training, how many of you could sit in front of your own computer, in your own office, and take part in that without interruption? How many of you would get through that much recorded material? Exactly.
Now, do short recordings augment the classroom training, helping you grab some small piece that you need a reminder of after the classroom? Absolutely. But people starting out watching the recordings, or interacting through a web conference, are behind their counterparts who dedicated the time and effort to attend classroom training. That’s just the reality. They may eventually learn just as much, but it will be a slower process. (Albeit probably a cheaper one if the classroom involves travel.)
At least that has been what I’ve seen. What has your experience been?