Is face to face training finished?

As the Covid-19 Pandemic pulls and stretches the seams of the social fabric that binds us together as a society, as a nationality and as one humanity, H.G. Wells famous quote “Adapt or Perish” has never been as relevant.

And, like all industries, the training industry has made adaptations to try and stay alive.

Unless you have been living in a complete vacuum, as well as in isolation, you will have noticed the plethora of online courses, webinars, video posts and other training events that have been made available, many of them for a reduced cost or for free.  And, if you have signed up for any, you may also have noticed that there is a huge range in the quality and effectiveness of this training.

But, now that we have access to all of these remote training events, many people are asking whether there is still a need for face to face training at all.  Of course, most task training has remained mainly face to face out of necessity (task training is where you are showing a learner how to perform a physical task like changing a tyre).  But what about soft skills, business skills, team building and other types of training that don’t seem to require a hands on transfer of knowledge?

My opinion in that, in many cases, a part of this training will remain online.  Online training is great for learning theories and good online training can capture the learner’s attention with the use of scenarios and story telling, which lends itself very well to the “soft” skills topics.  But, we are human beings and, by nature, we do best in teams or groups.  And, while Zoom or Facebook live do allow some interactivity, most people will tell you that it is not a complete substitute for actually being in a room with others.

So, is face to face training finished?  No, I certainly don’t think so.  But I do think that we will see less of it and a much better use of blended learning which utilises some online and some face to face training.  And, that is a good thing.  Hopefully, this will be just one of the lessons that we can learn from this truly awful situation and our new normal will be better and brighter than the normal we had before.

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