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  • Writer's pictureInsightworks

Online vs Classroom Learning

More and more we hear about the shift taking place from classroom to online courses. This change is driven by the need for a more agile training and development process and the opportunity to leverage technology. As we observe organizations moving to a more “self-service” style of training and development, there are a number of considerations to be made before completely discarding classroom learning.  

Here are a few things to think about when creating your plan:  

1. Align the learning and development strategy with the business strategy.

There is sometimes a gap or lack of alignment between business objectives and the organization's training and development goals. This gap raises questions about the purpose, effectiveness and viability of training and development. When the two are aligned, there is a natural fit and relevance that is recognized by the organization's leaders who become more supportive of the initiatives.  

2. Carefully diagnose the learning need.

Is it knowledge, skills or behaviour that needs to be addressed? If it is an issue of increasing the individual’s knowledge then self–directed learning can be a very effective approach to address the learning need. If it’s a question of skills or behaviour, consider a different approach.  

3. Skills or behaviour gap – something beyond learning needs to happen.

For example, watching a video is not enough on its own to improve an individual’s leadership skills. A more robust process, providing a variety of options, including regular feedback and reinforcement allows the individual to practice and develop new skills. This may take the form of one-on-one coaching, the action learning approach, online reinforcement tools, and even a classroom workshop. The key point is that learning needs to be followed up, observed, discussed, and measured.  

4. Training and development is the accountability of the entire organization.

Classroom events can be extremely effective in encouraging the sharing of ideas, diversity of thought and perspective and a safe place to try out new skills/behaviours. However, if these types of events are unsupported by the business, particularly the managers of those attending, the power of the learning is lost. Managers who actively engage with their people’s learning objectives in the short, medium and long term see the best results.  

5. You don’t have a lot of money to engage people in learning.

Matching a plan to your budget works well if you consider a more blended approach, such as online programs, bite-size training, one-on-one coaching etc. At Insightworks we utilize a combination of online learning, tools, some classroom training when appropriate and group insights for sharing learning and creating collaborative problem-solving. We work with you to create the formula that meets your needs and budget.


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