During the pandemic face to face training has stopped as everyone who can, works from home.
Indeed, this new work paradigm may persist after the pandemic has passed, as companies take the opportunity to reduce office space and costs.
Equally importantly, many employees indicate that they prefer working from home – at least most of the time, since they reduce commuting and have a better work/home life balance.
On-line training also seems to have slowed down as employees who now work from home find it hard to juggle the hours in the day to cope with day to day work and home life.
Organisations are focusing on business survival and adapting to the new world – training appears to have been pushed out into the long grass.
Whilst understandable – this is dangerous since employees will need the skills and competencies training can provide, especially if those skills and competencies are those needed to be successful in the new world.
The on-line challenge
In our training activities we are focused on delivering Pyramid Thinking Plus training. This equips people with the skills to be able to craft compelling logics for their proposals, presentations, reports and even emails. This is an essential skill when communicating on-line with prospects, customers, stakeholders, and colleagues.
Let me share our experience of moving on-line with you – I hope it will help you choose the best training solution for your organisation.
We have traditionally trained people face to face in groups of 8-12 pulled together for a one, or one-and-a-half-day training course. That clearly could not now happen.
Luckily, we had taken our face-to-face course and turned it into self-learning modules on a professional learning platform at the back end of 2019 – so it was available when the pandemic struck.
Self-learning on a professional learning platform is often the in-house corporate training solution. It typically comprises self-learning videos and a set of quizzes to test learning. This form of training is very flexible for the delegate given they can choose when to do each module – which typically only take 20 minutes to an hour to complete. It is also automatically monitored and controlled so you can track learner activity and regulate progress through having hurdle pass rates to questions on the learning received.
However, what you lose is the richness of trainer/delegate interaction and group working, which in our experience has always been highly valued by participants.
As we were in the first lock-down we decided to offer the self-learning course to existing customers for free so they could train new entrants. We thought this a legitimate thank-you for having taken our face to face training in the past. However, there were no takers.
Individual and corporate bandwidth for training was simply too narrow.
There was also the question of whether the loss of facilitator interaction and the group work we conducted as part of the face to face offering made the training less attractive – even though we did have one to one on-line mentoring with a live trainer built into the programme.
We then discovered that the video-conferencing and electronic white boarding offered by combining Zoom and Mural enables group work in plenary and in syndicates, and Q&A interaction with a live trainer.
We then built the course for a group of 8-12 people on-line, complete with live facilitation group work and syndicate work.
So, when you are looking at your training needs should you choose the individual learning platform or the group e-learning option?
The answer is Neither! - – you should think about your audience and choose the right mix for them!
1. You don’t have to choose; you can mix and match. Whilst you could opt for either the self-learning option or the group learning option you can go for a mix of self-learning modules interspersed with group sessions.
2. You need to match the time schedule needed to the time schedule availability of your audience.
In the working from home world committing significant uninterrupted periods of time e.g. half a day can be quite onerous depending on family circumstances. In the case of our Pyramid Thinking Plus course, participants would need to set aside three half day sessions within a week to complete the course content as a group course on-line. The self-learning modules however take 20 minutes to an hour to complete and are much more flexible to schedule since participants can do them at different times – whereas group work has to be done at the same time.
However, sharing time together in a group is often a welcome human interaction in today’s world – if time can be allocated by everyone group activities can really add value. And with the new technologies available they work really well on-line.
The trick is to create a hybrid training model where you strike a balance between group work – where everyone has to commit to being together on line for a given period of time with self-learning modules to be completed at times to suit each individual in the interim.
3. You need to find the solution that delivers highest audience engagement
Luckily both forms of training, self-learning and group learning, have high engagement elements.
· Quizzes for individuals on a learning platform are highly engaging because the participant has to engage to progress and they are a form of game which people enjoy
· Facilitated group sessions on-line are also highly engaging due to the interaction between participants using whiteboards where people can move things around.
A hybrid solution can leverage the engaging elements of both worlds – and indeed by having a combination of elements ends up being more engaging than either self-learning or group learning on its own.
4. You want to achieve the right balance between cost and outcome
Individual learning is more cost-effective since you can use a trainer video and quiz rather than a live trainer facilitator. You need the trainer once to create the video but then you can use it hundreds or thousands of times at no additional cost.
However, group tuition is more learning-effective since people learn from each other and can Q&A the facilitator – who in our case is always an expert practitioner.
Mixing and matching can achieve the best balance – and, based on our own experience, adding in a bit of individual mentoring can optimise.
So, no need to go for either extreme – a mix of individual learning modules combined with facilitated on-line group work may well provide the best answer to your training needs
Whatever your training subject matter – you need to configure your solution to the needs of your audience. If you are interested in Pyramid Thinking Plus – please contact us and we will tailor the training to your needs.