As regular readers of this blog might know, I love training in all its forms. I am never happier than when teaching or training people in how to use Social Media to market their business or to use Microsoft Office to work more effectively. Should you choose online training or face to face training though?
Traditionally training is considered to be a ‘classroom activity’. Indeed, I run workshops here in Oxfordshire in which I gather 5 people together in a room and talk to them about Social Media best practice and actually get them to set up profiles, think about their audience and talk about what they are going to say. Similarly I will happily travel to a client site to deliver bespoke versions of the courses. Learners leave having used the tools, set up profiles and with a better understanding of best practice of the use of Social Media (or MS Office). I offer support via email or learners can sign up to a more detailed support package. Everybody is happy…….
I offer a similar service on a 1 – 1 basis over Skype. Learners share their screen with me and we talk through how and why a particular tool is used or what happens when buttons are clicked. Individual learning, without the travel. Again, everybody is happy……
Sometimes, though it is worth considering whether your time would be spent better using an on line course to learn. On line courses have changed significantly from the old days of ‘CBT’ – courses are now interactive, fun to complete and multi-media. You can dip in and out of a course in your own time, so do not have to be away for the office or pay travel expenses. An on line course will often contain more detail than can be covered in the face to face equivalent – and you can listen to audio or watch videos multiple times to make sure you understand it. On line courses should contain an element of doing – exercises in some form to check your learning. Many on line courses (including ours) will offer support in some form (forum, email, etc.) so you are not isolated from other learners but can still participate in discussions and learn from others. On line courses can often be a more cost effective option and you will learn just as much if not more.
Learners who have bought our on line courses have learnt in their own time – at their own pace (often at the weekend), set up their profiles and got going with Social Media without time out of the office or the cost of travel. They also have access to the course for 12 months – so they will be able to see how changes in the Social Media tools are going to effect their use without need for further time or cost commitment (courses are updated in June and December). An exclusive forum is available for questions and support requests. All this for about the same price as a workshop. Everybody is happy….
So next time you are looking for training, consider all your options and don’t just assume that a face to face workshop is the best.
What do you think of the advantages / disadvantages of each?