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Are In-Person Trainings Obsolete?

With Online Meetings, Add Relevancy and Save Time.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic I have personally begun to think of the in-person training or teaching as inferior to online meetings that are synchronous. Is it possible that face-to-face training should be replaced with well-designed Zoom meetings, BigBlueButton events or Google Meet?  I believe it is not only a good idea, but is potentially far more effective.

Pure asynchronous online learning (e-learning) can guarantee the same information is presented to every learner. On the downside it may lack the social engagement of in-person learning, and can be repetitive. It has to assume there is a “tabula raza” in many cases, which is never true.  Everyone comes to a class or training experience with personal stories and background experiences. Nobody is truly a “blank slate”.

The advantage of in-person training is that it can be very social (motivating for most people) and learners can ask questions as they arise.  But in-person experiences are usually designed for a large group, so the material being taught will be too easy for some, too difficult for others.  Interested people will sit up front and generally people will sit with people of a similar mindset if they have the choice.

I believe you can better address this issue of differences or similarities in your learner group by using synchronous, online engagement.  You can break learners into smaller groups based on the similarities or personal goals you choose.  Then use a synchronous meeting tool and have shorter, more targeted experiences for the learners.  You can also have more accountability (there are no back tables in online meetings!).

Here’s an example.  Let’s say you have a new company-wide initiative that you need to train all employees in.  Do a kick-off meeting with everyone and a fun-oriented (or even gamified) presentation.  Next, break up employees by generation, and use generational memes and ways of thinking to match the groups.  You have the same outcomes, but the structure and content is clearly targeted for the generational common knowledge present.  People may or may not recognize that you are doing that, but they will definitely be more social knowing others in the class have many common frames of reference.

Next time you consider an in-person training or meeting, think again.  You may be able to do more with targeted synchronous, online experiences.

Don Brown
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Don Brown

Education Technologist, Researcher, and Trainer.

One thought on “Are In-Person Trainings Obsolete?

  • Great post Don !
    For many of us our work and personal lives have changed, and online meetings will be a part of the new standard pattern I believe.


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