Five Differences: Face-To-Face Vs Online Training
This blog post by Mark Berthelemy, an expert in solving digital problems, supports the first session in our series of free 'How To' Webinars. These were developed to support trainers who need to rapidly move their learning provision to wholly online. You can watch the recording on GoTo Webinar: How To Move Training Online - A Trainer's Quick Start Guide.
We're in a time of extremely rapid change, with many training businesses feeling their way into a completely new environment, and it's a very different place to teaching face-to-face.
I'd like to explore five of the main differences that you'll find when working with online learners...
1. Not Limited By Location
Face-to-face training generally relies on everyone in a room together. That requires attendees to travel, often considerable distances, maybe needing an overnight stay.
All that travelling is expensive, both in terms of time and cash, but also with regard to the environment.
Working and learning online gets rid of that cost immediately, and also means you have a much wider potential market.
2. Not Limited By Time
Attendees at training events have to fit around the training organisation's schedule. Everyone has to be in the same place at the same time.
With online learning, you can work much more asynchronously - ie. not at the same time. It takes a different mindset to plan and support the activities, but can be more effective than synchronous activities - especially if people need time to reflect or create.
Your trainees will thank you for it, as they can then fit their learning activities around their personal circumstances.
3. Not Limited By Numbers
Look at the number of training videos on Youtube with massive numbers of views. Reaching that scale would be impossible with face-to-face training.
Whether you use video, articles, or more complex elearning techniques is up to you. By putting those materials online you have the capability to impact far more people than you can face-to-face.
Of course, providing personalised support for those people then becomes the limiting factor. So the more you can keep things generic and self-service the better - if you want to scale that is.
4. Things Take Longer
One of the advantages of face-to-face training is that you are able to react much more quickly to individual needs and make changes on the fly.
When working online then there are two areas where things are likely to take longer than you expect:
Creating materials - these usually need to be self-explanatory and take the place of the teacher. So you'll need to put in a lot of work.
Supporting online learners - don't expect people to immediately start sharing their problems and solutions. It takes a long time, and careful planning, for individuals and groups to open up online. Gilly Salmon's Five Stage Model is particularly helpful in this respect.
5. Learners Have A Choice
In a classroom, whilst it's relatively easy to daydream, it's rare to find adults walking out, openly dealing with their emails, or watching videos.
When you're working at a distance, whether it's by post or online, the learner is in control. They can choose whether or not to listen to you or read your stuff.
As a teacher you will need to have a much stronger grasp of what is motivating them. Do they need the certificate you provide? Is the training meeting an immediate need in their lives? Or are you trying to teach them something they might not want to learn?
The stronger the motivation, the easier your job as a teacher. That's always the case, but online learners will often just disappear or do the bare minimum if they are weakly motivated and your teaching is not engaging enough.
Note from Stephen Hinde, Community Manager for Ufi VocTech Trust
The 'How To' webinar series from Ufi is an evergrowing catalogue of knowledge which was introduced to support and ensure teaching and learning still happens during the restrictions arising from Covid-19. While the sessions were built to support immediately during the outbreak, a lot of the information and learnings can still be transferred into the future to supoprt the way learning happens.
View Mark's next blog which will explores at five things to consider when moving training online.