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Online training – you can blend it!

I have spent time over the past week recording online workshops for people who are training online due to distance, convenience or for some other reason.  I often ask people why they are wanting to do online and one recent response struck me as interesting.  It was they hate the “chitter chatter” and just want to get to the meat of the course.   Online courses are fantastic for some but not so much for others.

Interestingly, I often find great value in the “chitter chatter”.  Yes, it needs to be managed and directed but as a user of experiential learning concepts, I find great value from individual’s experiences, perspectives and I learn from others.

Some searches show that completion rates for online courses become a major concern when 40-80% online learners just give up the courses with unsatisfied e-learning experiences.  It is also frustrating at a service provider that sometimes participants can blame everyone and everything but themselves for poor motivation.

We have two products for online training delivery – those who just want the content and to be left alone.  On another, we use blended online training, learning and training is done online and is self-directed, online live webinars with other participants and group interaction on social media, together with follow-up one-on-one.

Part of the screening process when people call and perhaps cannot get into a course due to timing or logistics, is we ask them how they best learn.  Online courses can have a very low completion rate despite the prompts and follow-up by staff, compared to face to face training.  It is my view that online learning is not for everyone or at very least, people need it spelt out to them that they need to be self-motivated.

Three things have been identified as potential issues.  Technical issues – and this can be real or it can be the skill level of the user and I have had to explain how to turn the volume up on more that one occasion.    Instructor support – participants should be supported in their learning but if a participant thinks that the instructor is going to be online with them every step of the way

Blended delivery I feel is the better of the options.  It could just be my style, but engagement and interaction are something that adds to the learning experience.

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