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Don’t Fear Online Training

Fifteen years ago, I entered the world of software training. Freshly armed with a laptop, copious handouts, and a projector the size of a microwave; I crammed my kit into a suitcase and proceeded to travel the length and breadth of the country. I kept Flybe in business and racked up enough BP points to treat myself to free Ginster’s and Ribena once a month. Why? Because it delivered value, customer engagement, and customer understanding.

Does face to face training really reign supreme?

Even with giant leaps in training technology, the general perception is that face to face reigns. Online training is seen as a cost-cutting method to train staff. Many times, I’ve interviewed prospective recruits for training jobs and they enthuse about how they like to see the whites of their trainee’s eyes, showing a lack of engagement with training technologies.

‘It’s the way training is delivered, not the medium used.’

Is it really the case that online training is inferior? I’m not usually one for stats, but I read that within one hour people have forgotten 50% of what’s been presented to them, then 70% with 24 hours. So, have I really delivered added value by delivering training in person? It’s the way training is delivered, not the medium used.

Learning in the age of the pandemic

At everyLIFE Technologies, as a tech company, we absolutely must engage with online learning. We’ve used a blended approach to training, mixing the benefits of online training tools with onsite face to face workshops to follow. The social distancing environment we now find ourselves in means online training has had to become the go-to method for learning.

‘Death by PowerPoint face to face, or death by PowerPoint online’

We shouldn’t be scared of this. Why? Good training is all about the skills and strengths of your Facilitator (and notice I didn’t use the word Trainer, we should be facilitating your learning process), irrespective of how it is delivered. Death by PowerPoint face to face, or death by PowerPoint online, I still haven’t received value, even if it were a free of charge webinar.

What to expect from online training?

In the world of Zoom, Teams, GoToMeeting (the list is endless), as a learner you should be expecting three bare minimum items from your Facilitator:

  • Attention – I want to make sure that the Facilitator is engaged in me as a customer and learner. Simple use of webcams tells me they’re committed to my learning and they have pride in themselves and their delivery. Plus, you get to see their lockdown hair and feel better about your own.
  • Brevity – I personally have the tolerance to sit down and look at a screen for about an hour. I would hope my facilitator can capture and teach me something in a clear, concise fashion and not hit me with details for 3 hours.
  • Application – It’s essential during any training session you as a learner, have been an active participant. You’ve had the opportunity to ask questions, clicked on a mouse and keyboard, done something positive. How did you learn how to ride that bike? By presentation? We learn by doing.

Let’s embrace change

We shouldn’t shy away from these new methods but grasp them. Just expect the same level of engagement and quality from your teacher now as you would have previously. Don’t allow them to be lazy and hide behind that screen but break the barrier of that screen.

John Cummins, everyLIFE

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