Ubiquity. It’s all around us. Well, yes, in respect of the availability of online training and e-learning courses - covering everything from marmalade-making to aeronautical engineering - the web is indeed awash with opportunities for self-motivated learning.
And as a supplementary element of any face-to-face training, online courses unquestionably help to reinforce key learning messages at the learner’s convenience. But in the same way that those exercise-at-home videos never really committed us to fully exert ourselves on our sitting-room floors, e-learning may not fully cut the mustard as a stand-alone training activity.
Although online training has become more available and more convenient, in terms of self-learning, it may not generate the most efficient outcomes. Put it down to peer-group motivation if you will, but face-to-face training retains the all-important human interface, where interaction between trainer and trainee adds an in-depth, dynamic, fluid and experiential aspect to the learning process.
If we rewind briefly to 1996, Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger published the outcomes of surveys conducted with 200 business executives, which became known as the 70/20/10 Model of Learning. This expounded the fairly stable proposition that from what we learn, 70% we acquire by doing, 20% comes from others and 10% from courses and reading.
From that research, it stands to reason that even the greatest advocates of e-learning are standing on a platform represented by only 10% of the available argument, while the face-to-facers can lay claim to a 90% balance of the territory.
As such, face-to-face training remains a solid and valuable investment, despite the perhaps inevitable perception that it is ‘more expensive’. Maybe that fact alone is sufficient to push learners towards e-learning options – but the nagging thought still remains that none of us ever got any fitter or thinner by exercising on our own in front of the TV.