By Jacqueline Sirota
In a 2009 Harvard Business Review survey, over 50% of its subscribers identified training as the most important priority in growing their business. In 2007, corporations invested $60 million in training, and until the economic downturn they spent more than $1,000 per year to train each employee. In addition to training employees, companies have also found training customers and business partners is an investment in increasing sales and reducing support calls.
Although many managers understand the value of training, they often don’t realize the variety of ways in which they can provide learning opportunities. Here are a few ideas.
- Instructor-led face-to-face learning is the traditional way to teach others. Instructor-led training requires having an effective, experienced instructor who’s an expert in the content and learning process. If the instructor is not a trained professional in adult learning and knowledgeable about the content, the class may not be effective.
- Virtual instructor-led synchronous learning is especially effective for organizations with a distributed workforce. Classes are given in "real time" and learners use computers to attend "live" training sessions. Savings on training and travel costs can be realized using this learning platform, but learning is still dependent on the instructor’s expertise. Since learners easily become distracted in an online learning environment, compelling content and engaging, interactive activities must be incorporated every 3-5 minutes.
- Instructor-led asynchronous learning is effective for learners with busy schedules who are in remote locations. In this platform, instructors post their syllabus, lectures, discussion questions and assignments. Learners log in when convenient, respond to discussion questions, and make postings to other students’ comments. Flexibility, convenience, and access to a "live" instructor are important to these learners, but self-discipline, self-motivation, and commitment are required. Too often, students misjudge the ease of this type of learning.
- E-learning is an on-demand, self-paced learning platform that allows learners to learn at their convenience and own pace. With e-learning, there are no travel costs, and courses are available 24/7. Students can study at home, work, or on the road. E-learning has become a widespread means for teaching others in business and academia. Good courses for e-learning include compliance and safety training, new-hire orientations, and refresher training.
- Blended learning includes a combination of one or more of the above. For example, an e-learning course can be assigned before learners attend an instructor-led class. The e-learning course teaches the basic lecture course topics and the face-to-face classroom time is focused on building much-needed skills. Blended learning offers the best of face-to-face learning and on-demand, self-paced learning platforms.
As you can see, there are many educational opportunities available to train your customers, employees, and business partners. Here’s to the continuing success of your business!
Jacqueline Sirota, President/CEO of Jacqueline Sirota Learning x Technology Solutions, Inc., is a learning consultant who can provide solutions for your company’s learning initiatives. She offers relevant, content-rich learning solutions to help your customers, employees, and business partners "get up to speed" quickly with your products or services. Learn more at www.jacquelinesirota.com.