classroom training to e-Learning

Ever think why e-Learning is shorter than in-person training, and which one is more effective?

Training that takes place within a room is roughly for an entire day. e-Learning on the same topic can take less than 3 hours.

Why is that? Is e-Learning less informative or does it lack in quality? Or, can you really reduce an 8 hour training session to less than 3 hours without losing the quality and purpose of training-to make users more knowledgeable?

To be honest, we do not like to compare full-time education to e-Learning. They have different techniques, formats and tasks; and in essence, depend on the an organization’s specific learning requirements or conditions.

Can we compare classroom training to e-Learning? Can a training session of 8 hours be completed within 2 to 3 hours? Lets try to answer this using a use-case of ACME CORP which has scheduled Compliance Training for its employees. The training will take place over 2 full-time working days.

The morning of the first day is spent on the welcome, presentation and general questions – at least 30 minutes. Yes, for people who will be working together for 2 days , an introduction is a very important part of the agenda.

  • We have incorporated a 15 minute coffee break, and a 60 minute lunch break per day. In reality, the coffee takes 20 minutes (until all gather). That is 1 hour 40 minutes over two days.
  • About an hour on both days is spent on discussion of incoherent topics or questions that are not, in anyway, related to the training. However, the questions have come up and the trainer or coach answers them out of politeness and in-order to encourage more questions.
  • 4 to 5 group assignments over two days and as long as people gather, sit down and start to really work – about 10 minutes are wasted on each group assignment. That is a total of 40-50 minutes.
  • Completion of these group tasks cannot be planned to the dot as there will always be a group that takes longer on a given task. Let us assume a wait time of 5 minutes per assignment= 20 to 25 minutes in total.

Therefore the total time that the training didn’t take place is:
30 minutes (The first morning) + 140 minutes of break over 2 days (2 coffee breaks and 2 Lunch breaks) + 60 minutes (Incoherent questions and discussions) + 75 minutes (Group assignments wait times) + 30 minutes (cushion wasted time over two days).

Therefore the total time that the training didn’t take place= ~340 minutes = 5.6 hours. So the training time we have left now is just over 10 hours.

  • Now as part of the training, me as a Trainer can be informative then needed as the topic or theme interests me or because finally someone from the group has asked an interesting question. That could be a total of 30 minutes over two days..
  • Switching slides, drawing on the board, getting things etc can be another 30 minutes.

Considering the above two points, we now have a little over 9 hours of training time left.

  • And now about perception: Long paragraphs instead of Sentences, and sentences instead of words- we always tend to talk and explain more than the text itself, which in most cases can be self-explanatory. Practical exercises are interactive workshops which are not relevant in most of the training that takes place.
    As we saw above, the actual training hours for in-person training are already reduced to half before we even begin training. Not to add the time taken to reach the venue, time taken away from actual work, the inability of a coach to get the point across etc.

Now by some miracle if we do manage to perfect the art of in-person training and thereby use all 16 hours allocated for training, how will we help students or learners retain this knowledge? I don’t mean to undermine the effectiveness of in-person training in anyway. All I am saying is, do we need in-person training in a fast moving, ever changing corporate environment?

Some might argue that group discussions and human interactions are the soul of learning and therefore very important for the learning process. This is absolutely true and I completely agree with this statement. But are group discussions needed when you already have the base skill and need to build on top of it? Are we studying use cases, discussing strategies, solving bottlenecks here? If so then we need much more than a 2 hour training session- probably a business degree of some sort and an LMS or short training sessions won’t help to achieve the desired goals.

As mentioned in the introduction, the type of training depends on the respective organization’s learning goals. The question for today is- wouldn’t you rather spend the time and resources spent on managing these in-person training sessions on selecting and implementing an efficient, easy to understand, relevant and yet powerful Learning management system in order to have an everlasting training process?
If the answer is yes then Contact us to know how we can help!