Technology has changed vastly in the past few years. We can’t even remember how we survived without all our technology conveniences in our lives… writing letters, waiting days to contact each other, storing lots of files and paper work etc…. We are all part of social media today; even my 70-year-old father uses social media.
According to Digital insights 2014 numbers there are:
- 1.28 billion monthly users at Facebook
- 1 billion at twitter
- 200 million at Instagram (20 billion photos have been shared so far!)
- 187 million at Linked In
We can always discuss the advantages and disadvantages of having technology so much in our daily lives. Most would agree it used to be much more valuable to have a conversation face to face than just looking at screens… `Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master’ says Christian Lous Lange. But technology is so integrated into our lives that we can’t ignore it – not even at work.
So, why do we not use technology in training?
There are lots of ways to use technology in training. Simulations, video calls, online programs, new version of presentations, social media for research, the cloud for sharing documentation, ideas, feedback etc… Most companies have started to offer more e learning to their employees and have their own global e-learning platforms. Research tells us that over 50 million dollars is spent on e-learning today and this figure keeps growing. Over 41.7% percent of global Fortune 500 companies now use e-learning training.
When your managers and employees attend training their first complaint is most likely to be about the timing. Everyone is so busy and there is not enough time or the right time for attending training. This is why e learning is so great, e learning can be taken anytime in any location, that gives flexibility to this concern.
But does e learning have the same impact as classroom training or is it just a training tick in the box?
Let’s look at the benefits first:
– Flexibility in timing and it is mobile; you can even attend at home wearing your PJ’s!
– Cost effective. No travel or additional costs, it is also cheaper than classroom trainings.
– It is fun to use technology to learn, especially for the new generation.
– It is easier to re-cap sessions if you need to remember a topic or look at info that was part of training.
– It is user friendly for manuals or system guides; it is much better than reading papers.
– If you want to run global training, it is easier to keep the standard consistent.
What about the disadvantages;
– If you need to customize your own training, HR/training departments have to do a lot of work to customize it.
– Technical issues will always happen and additional time is needed to fix them.
– Delegates don’t have as much motivational impact compared to classroom trainings.
– Limited opportunities to network (blogs, Q&A, online chats may help a little).
– Not much opportunity to learn from each other.
– A good trainer will be able to flex the content based on the attendee’s expectations but e learning does not give you this option.
As a summary, e learning can be very effective or just a loss of time! Each company should be able to evaluate the need and decide if the right solution should be e learning, classroom training or a mixture of both. If your goal is to share information such as on boarding, compliance/integrity, company policies, internal processes and system manuals then e-learning will be the best solution for your need. But, if your target is to change a behavior, improve a skill or competency, motivate your people or build a team sprit, e learning may only be a tick in the box for your organization.
Depending on the topic you may decide to combine classroom training with an online program that would enable you to have both advantages. At the end it’s always about finding the right recipe.