Cathy Lewis-Dobson, one of instructional designers is urging everybody to park the debate about the merits of digital versus face-to-face learning and instead focus on how to blend different methods to create the very best learning experience.
First let’s put a myth to bed. Comparing digital learning today to the once laborious and tedious, one-size-fits-all style of e-learning is, well … like comparing computers before and after Microsoft, for those of you who can remember back that far!
With all the whizz-bang technology now available and a wider breadth of insight on what works for different learners and what doesn’t, it’s no wonder demand for digital learning is increasing. As a medium, it looks set to dominate the training landscape for the foreseeable future.
If we are honest, the popularity of digital learning was initially driven by cost – compared to traditional training, it is much, much cheaper. But over recent years, rather than being seen as the budget option, it is now regarded as more effective particularly when it comes to getting learners to a required level of competency, for example on systems or processes.
So how does this work? Well, skilled instructional designers are able to gear digital learning to the needs of learners with different abilities, preferring different learning styles and help them prioritise specific training to match the needs of their role. Importantly, learners can often complete learning at a pace which suits them and their availability, and they can access refreshers on demand.
A few organisations have been so won over by the arguments for digital learning that they have decided to abandon face-to-face learning altogether. But what they are missing is that there is really no need to make an either-or decision and for many situations the perfect solution is to blend both learning methods.
I am a passionate advocate of digital learning – let’s face it, I play a key role in the development of digital learning for a living! But I also believe that there is a place for face-to-face training as it offers opportunities for teamwork and innovation which you just cannot replicate online.
In a classroom there is something hugely exciting when learners bounce ideas off each other to create one of those real lightbulb moments. It is so rewarding to witness different learners working together to find a solution to a problem, which they can apply practically in their own workplace, proving that the sum is greater than the parts. And the great thing about blended learning is that you can get to that point so much quicker when your learners are already familiar with a topic from their digital learning and are ready to apply it in the real world. For example, teaching people how to update records on a ‘system’ is easy to do online, but after that in the classroom, that’s when you have the opportunity to look at the exceptions and the variations that need a little more exploration.So, let’s not continue to debate digital versus traditional training and accept that there is place for both in many training strategies. Instead let’s focus on how to blend training methods together to create a truly engaging learning experience for each and every learner.
For advice about blended training services offered by Me Learning, contact us at 01273 499 100 or send an email to email@example.com.
This post was written in collaboration Cathy Lewis-Dobson, one of our Senior Instructional Designers.