Love or hate online learning (E-learning) it has been here longer than you think. It will certainly never completely replace the social interaction of face-to-face learning, yet it does have numerous advantages. Many organizations and individuals get consumed with the idea that online learning is the only way to learn. The fact of the matter is face-to-face learning is here to stay and many consider it a far more effective medium of learning (this indeed can be endlessly debated).
I have been associated with the online learning world since 1997 and there are some core advantages of online training I usually define as BEACEE:
• Blending learning for self development.
• Engage with courses at your leisure.
• Avoid unnecessary commuting to training venues.
• Cost effective for individuals and organizations.
• Eliminate expenses such as travel and hotel stay.
• Expand learning options.
Humans are essentially social animals. Without social interaction we feel and believe to be ‘all alone’. Therefore, online learning is truly effective when approached in a blended manner. An extremely powerful example of blended learning is Emirates NBD. Since 2011, I have been working with them on their numerous certified programs. These certification are aimed at different levels, some of them being:
• CAP – Certified Associate Program
• TLP – Team Leadership Program
• CMP – Certified Associate Program
These programs consists of:
• Online learning through SkillSoft.
• Face to face workshops – instructor led classes.
• Pre and post assignments, to assess the delegates understanding.
Even though online learning is an essential part of the process, the interaction through workshops, assignments and presentations play a major role in the delegates attaining their certification.
The online learning provides the delegates with the foundation of the face-to-face workshop. Workshops themselves explore real life scenarios and they are great for knowledge sharing due to the diverse range of delegates being in the session. Assignments and presentations work on the premise of what the delegates have implemented into their personal/work life.
The combination of both online learning and face-to-face workshops has been a great success for Emirates NBD. In fact, over the years they have won a number of accolades and awards for these blended learning programs. With such a great strategy in place, Emirates NBD have created LIME success for themselves through online and face-to-face trainings. This simply allows blended learning:
• Linking to employee KPIs.
• Increase value for the company and individual.
• Motivate employees’ in a creative manner.
• Engage and retain employees.
Remember, it is not about online or face-to-face, it is about wherever possible blending the learning to get the best results.