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Classroom IT Trainers V e-Learning


With the predicted growth of e-Learning stated as exceeding £6bn by 2002 and a report issued by Epic Group and the DfEE outlining that classroom training is to fall from 55% to about 30% in the next five years, is enough to encourage any IT Trainer to pack up their laptop and head off for sunnier climates - well before you do, an interesting article written by Clive Shepherd of IT Training News may encourage you not to be quite so hasty in packing your flip flops just yet.

As an experienced IT Trainer, I tend to agree with some of the points Clive mentioned in his article such as that e-Learning cannot replace the human element that computers just have not yet mastered, the fact the some people still find the concept of learning from computers, not from stand-up trainers, a difficult concept to come to terms with.

For those of us who have tried learning either on-line or via CD-ROM, the results may not prove as successful as having attended classroom training. My personal record for lasting on-line learning has been half an hour (this is a result of my attention span) and then thereafer, I quickly get a feel for which keys to press or pages to view, in order to obtain the appropriate information to take me through successfully the next stage without having to read all the information or perform all the given tasks.

This is not to say that this type of learning does not suit everyone, there are those who are genuinely afraid of attending a classroom situation whereby e-Learning is a more suitable solution. There are those that do not have the time to leave the organisation, or are best suited to learn whilst still at their place of work (cost factors, etc) and benefit from learning at a pace more suited to them.

The best way of learning about computers is by getting actively involved with hands-on experience, therefore what they need is a computer in front of them more so than a person. People more often nowadays have their own computer in the workplace, therefore it is much easier to access learning materials via this, rather than the one that is in the classroom based at the other end of the building or indeed another location altogether.

This leads to the point that an IT Trainer has to get used to fact that e-Learning is here to stay, their role is going to have to adapt to take this fact on board. To do this they have to consider that their value can be enhanced by becoming an on-line tutor, offering support either over the internet or face-to-face. Video-conferencing is another aspect that IT Trainers may have to consider getting to grips with (great fun trying to get the camera to home in on a part of you so that it follows your every movement) at some stage.

In-house IT Trainers are also the most appropriate person to fine-tune e-Learning material that is purchased off-the-shelf to suit the organisation's needs. Freelancers may benefit by providing some e-Learning solutions to co-incide with their classroom options, before their regular customers think of this as an alternative training solution and wave the freelancer goodbye.

I know that for many IT Trainers who have been involved with the classroom delivery of IT training, day in, day out, this opportunity will be seen as a welcome change and will greet the opportunity of expanding into e-Learning with open arms, as there are only so many ways that you can politely tell someone how to press the ENTER key.

As e-Learning has become the new 'buzz-word' in IT training, what are your thoughts and concerns? Will classroom training be replaced by on-line applications altogether? Have any IT Trainers already noticed a reduction in the amount of time spent in the classroom? Please add your comments below.


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