In my last post, Three Reasons To Rethink Your Employee Training, I advocated giving distance learning (webinars, e-courses, videos, podcasts, etc.) a greater role in training your employees.
However, it’s important to understand that distance learning is not inherently better or even as good as classroom training in all situations. Classroom training is still the best option for teaching certain skills involving role-playing (sales training, media spokesperson training) or in software training where it’s important to have a trainer coach you through a complex procedure.
What I am really advocating is that distance learning assume a larger role in your overall training program. Adult educators call this “blended learning.”
Examples And Benefits of Blended Learning
We’ve been able to reduce basic training in our CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software from two days to one day. This reduces the number of hotel rooms needed and improved attendance since trainees are better able to fit a one-day session into their schedules. Their supervisors are happier as well since they’re not “out” as much.
We’ve done this by requiring staff to take a number of 20-minute e-courses as prerequisites before they come to the basic training.
Let’s say that you currently have a two-day course where employees learn sales and customer service training in a classroom setting. If you used distance learning to impart the “knowledge,” for example, the fundamentals of customer service, the basic elements of salesmanship, and the benefits of your products, you could use the classroom to engage in role playing, best practices sharing, and motivation. This could reduce the two days of classroom down to one day saving time and money (hotels and meals).
Because many of those who will become star performers for you will be interested in continuous learning, you should provide them with a list of books, blogs, podcasts, magazines, etc. that will enable them to continue to improve their knowledge and skills.
When you use e-courses, podcasts, books, etc., you’re allowing employees to learn at times that are convenient to them. This has a positive impact on employee engagement especially when it means that they’re not pulled away from their families or their offices for as long as they would be when using classroom training alone.
When was the last time you reviewed your training program? With more and more people becoming comfortable with distance learning and with a lower cost per trainee, isn’t it time you took another look?