There is a big swing to online training over the past several years. Sure, it makes sense. People can take a class without being near to a school or in the same town as the business. Participants can work on their own time, and often at their own pace. Still, I teach in-person classes.
Am I hopelessly old school? Well, maybe not hopelessly. I’ve taken and taught online classes–quite a few. And yes, I
enjoy doing both. But there is nothing like the in-front-of-you, in-person, right-there training class.
Here’s why in-person classes have a lot of advantages for the participants:
1. You commit to the class. In an in-person class, you leave your desk, your distractions, your co-workers and you go to another room. Of course you are still available, but a little less available. Anything that enhances concentration and participation makes the learning easier and last longer.
2. You can ask questions when you have them. It’s probably the biggest advantage of in-person training. Have a question? You have the expert right in front of you. Ask. If the instructor doesn’t quite understand what you meant, you can immediately clarify. No exchange of emails. No waiting. Instant gratification. Instant answer, as detailed as you need it.
Have a follow-up question? Ask it. Get the in-depth answer. From an instructor who knows you well enough to keep the answer focused on your needs. Unless it is a weeks-long online class, your instructor probably doesn’t knows you. In several of the online classes I’ve taken, the instructor uploaded lessons and wasn’t really there, except to answer email questions.
3. The instructor can get a feel for the class and focus on what’s needed. I know, a lot of instructors bring in a Powerpoint and work relentlessly through it. I start each class with a Q+A session. Participants come to class hoping the instructor will answer that one question they have. So we start with those. I find out what’s needed and can emphasize those parts of class. When we get to the questions’ points later in the class, it’s not new information, it’s rediscovery. That makes it deeper and last longer.
4. Learning is about relationships. Adults learn best when they are relaxed and laughing. We laugh a lot in my classes. Real-life stories show how communication works–or doesn’t. Participants can discuss what went wrong, or right. Participants can apply their learning to their projects and ask questions as they think of them. The back-and-forth information and question answering builds a relationship between the participants, their projects, and the instructor. It’s one that lasts–I often hear from my participants months, even years after class.
5. The workbook is a reference. Yes, I use a Powerpoint, but I don’t depend on it. The workbooks for the participants become reference books. Each participants adds notes that make the book a personal reference.
In-person instruction is more expensive than online learning, but you also get a lot more–the personal attention of another human being. One who can help and answer specific questions. And that’s a big plus.