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Online workshop report: Online learning versus classroom training


Report from the Online Workshop on the subject of Classroom Training versus Online Learning, held on TrainingZONE and HR Zone on 13 February 2001.

Tim Pickles: OK - my clock says 13:00. I have several ideas to float and discuss today - as indicated in the workshop alert - but it would be helpful if everyone could briefly introduce themselves e.g. current role and/or experience of classroom and online training.

Tim Pickles: A brief sentence from everyone would be useful ...

Paul Duxbury: Afternoon all

Tim Pickles: Hi Paul - I'm facilitating discussion today and just asking everyone to give brief personal intro

Kaye O'Neill: Kaye O'Neill - Professional Development Mgr at the Centre for Prof. Development, currently not using e-learning at all for clients.

Tim Pickles: Thanks Kaye

Paul Duxbury: Hi I am Paul Duxbury work for Academee background in Management and Training using elearning

Andy Waterworth: Hi i'm Andy Waterworth I currently work as an Ecoach for an online learning company and have worked as a "stand up" trainer for the past 10years

Tim Pickles: Thanks Paul and Andy

Shelley O'Neill: Hi, I'm Shelley, been freelance for 5 years, in a partnership for past 2 years. Train staff in health & social services. Looking to develop online courses/support for students on our long-term training programmes which lead to qualifications

David Potter: I put together Sussex Virtual College - all 16 FE & 6th form Colleges in Sussex on a broadband network of 25 'learning rooms' connected together to enable live 'assisted' teaching in all the other rooms

Tim Pickles: OK - that background is helpful. There is a range of experience in the room today. Most people will be familiar with classroom delivery, so I wanted to begin by looking at what the merits might be, if any, of online delivery

Tim Pickles: This will be most useful for newcomers to online - can we share some ideas about how/when online works best - then we can look at different online methods

Andy Waterworth: I guess one of the benefits of online learning is the ability to bring remote working teams together

Tim Pickles: Online can certainly bridge the physical distance gap, but only if users have confidence in it and appropriate support - areas where classroom has traditionally scored highly.

Paul Duxbury: So what do others think might be benefits I am very aware of being in an online environment so would be interested in others views

Andy Waterworth: What would you consider to be appropriate support Tim?

Tim Pickles: A potential benefit of online is the 'immediacy' of the learning - just-in-time concepts; however, too many of the products currently available do not yet offer this functionality.

Shelley O'Neill: In our field it would enable staff to study at different times of day without leaving the workplace - the cost of cover for staff to attend training outside of the workplace in care can exclude a lot of people from learning opportunities. It's also got to be better than going out in the english weather, using our wonderful transport systems!

Tim Pickles: Andy, by 'support for online learning' I mean how the tutor/coach identifies and encourages the learner who is falling out - the confident learner knows to ask for support, but its the unconfident ones who really need pro-active contact e.g. "We've not heard from you; how's it going?" type support.

Jacqui Bradney: After some research with Professionals there appears to be a potential problem with dedicated time in the workplace

Paul Duxbury: I think we firstly need to define what we are looking to achieve, what the needs of the learner and organisation are and then look at the appropriate medium for delivery

Tim Pickles: Good point Jacqui - classroom training (especially at a non-office location) focuses the learner and protects the time; online training is much less protected of both time and attention.

Andy Waterworth: Jacqui does the problem with time in the workplace also apply to classroom training? How many people have had delegates cancel due to work commitments

Tim Pickles: Both forms of learning require 'buy-in' from the learner; it seems to me though that's it much easier to drop out of online learning - unless the support mechanisms are strong and proactive.

Shelley O'Neill: We often have last minute cancelleations due to "unexpected" work commitments, also transport difficulties. Last week tube strike on monday produced a group of only 2 participants out of a possible 20. This surely wouldn't happen with online training

Paul Duxbury: Isnt it about having a motivation to learn - how mant "learners" sit in the classroom and walk out having acquired knowledge but not having understood or learn anything?

Tim Pickles: We are seeing the emergence of two very different types of online learning now ..........

Tim Pickles: Firstly, there are 'pre-packaged' or 'boxed' learning e.g. the pre-assembled course on e.g. leadership skills which you buy from a provider in 'off-the-shelf' mode ...

Tim Pickles: Secondly, there is a fast emergence of 'collaborative' online learning - groups (not individuals) meeting together online, using real-time voice communication, sharing powerpoint slides, and re-creating many of the characteristics of live debate in the classroom ...

Jacqui Bradney: I seem to have lost connection - Training can be perceived as a potential problem, either classroom, CBT or CET, the trainer has to be sympathetic to the needs of the employer when internally scheduled training takes place ..Which is why e-learning is useful to professionals

Shelley O'Neill: sorry, not au fait with the jargon - what does CBT or CET mean?

Tim Pickles: Our view at present is that the online collaborative tools will prove to be more relevant in the future

Michiel Erasmus: Tim, any specific tools ?

Tim Pickles: CBT = computer based training (studying a learning programme on the internet or CD-rom)

Paul Duxbury: TimI think the leading edge issue in eLearning is about building Communities of Learners into Communities of Application or Practice geneerating their own learning needs, defining their own content and exploring together

Jacqui Bradney: Shelley - CBT is Computer based and CET is Computer Enhanced Training.

Tim Pickles: I agree Paul - a useful analogy is to consider 'action learning sets' translated into an online environment

Tim Pickles: Michiel, there are some group online learning tools coming to the market e.g ...

Paul Duxbury: Tim agree with you there. I think we need to stop refering to the shovelware that CBT is as online learning

Tim Pickles: Centra, Webex, Evoke, Claripoint, - some allow groups of people to actually talk together in real time (unlike this cumbersome text chat we're presently engaged in) and most of these tools allow a presenter to put up slides or a whiteboard which everyone can see simulateously in real time.

David Potter: To me the two types on online learning are 'self-paced' and 'assisted' - with assisted being what happens in classrooms. The networks that I have put together focus on delivering assisted learning across distance - they rely on interactive video broadcasting and in the case of Gloucester we have equipped learning rooms at industry premises so that employees come straight into the room and particpate in the live training as they need it - the network also records all the provision delivery for later review

Tim Pickles: Good point, David, about the ability of new technology to actually record live learning events - enabling those who were not present to 'see' it later

Paul Duxbury: Tim I think some of the online synchronous tools that are coming to Market will make the leap forward for us that will bring about much greater acceptance of online learning

Shelley O'Neill: Tim, where could I find out more about those tools, that sounds like what we're looking for

Jacqui Bradney: How adaptable though are the programs within online learning to a classroom trainer (who can think on there feet)

Michiel Erasmus: Anybody know of 'soft issue' training (i.e. client care) delivered successfully on-line ?

Paul Duxbury: Jacqui and Michiel ermmmm Yes LOL

Tim Pickles: Over the past couple of months, we've been evaluating seven of these collaborative tools - and I'm in the middle of writing an Advice Guide to them (to be published shortly on the site) - we're also in the final stages of negotiationg to put one or more such tools across the site so that any trainer can use them.

Christine Stavrinadi: does anybody know where i can get information on the

Christine Stavrinadi: on e-learning in Greece or Italy?

Andy Waterworth: We seem to have focused on the methods of delivery rather than the value of the two styles. We must not forget that for any of these approaches to work there must be a commitment within the organisation that learning is important.

Tim Pickles: Michiel - the best examples I know of concern 'management skills' but again using collaborative group learning, rather than a pre-packaged programme

Tim Pickles: For those people who have made the transition, what advice do you have to offer to assist classroom trainers develop online training skills?

Angela Wilde: I'm interested to hear how people have combined online training with classroom delivery. How easy was it to achieve? Do you have any tips?

Jacqui Bradney: I agree Andy, after some research over the last few days there seems to be a lack of commitment from employers to allow staff the time, dedicated area or to receive recognition.Classroom seems to still be more recognised

Paul Duxbury: Tim I think that some trainers can and want to make the transition others don't. But if we are talking about a transition to Online Coaching as opposed to Tutoring it can be a difficult transition for people to make.

Jacqui Bradney: As a classroom trainer, I would say that combining the two inside the classroom could be difficult. How often when training applications do you use the html help of products?

Tim Pickles: For employers, classroom training is still familiar, quantifiable, easy to organise. For the learner too, it is familiar - with all the networking and social benefits of 'time away from my office'. Whilst online can reduce costs, it needs to sell solutions to these perceptions also.

David Potter: online training with classroom delivery is perfectly feasible but the delivery and reciever points must be properly designed and integrated into a teaching ethos - lots of educational instituions have video conferencing installations which are not fit for normal edicational purpose

Carrol Rowe: Some employers see classroom as a quick answer to their training need in comparison with online

Paul Duxbury: We do seem to be focussed on teaching/training - what about Learning?

Andy Waterworth: It is very easy to get carried away by e-learning what we must remember is that it is just another method in our toolkit. Much as you would use pre-work or pre-reading you may use E-learning pre course. post course you may use it as a toll for further learning. the term being widely used at present is "the blended Solution".

Jon: I have just finished a weeks classroom based training and am working towards taking the exam. e-learning seems to be a good way to get that extra practice in

Jacqui Bradney: How many people here have tried e-learning? I have and found it useful, thought provoking but lacking theory, which hampers in my case the learning process. I am yet to try interactive e-learning, where I want to ask Why,How,What

Tim Pickles: There are some interesting examples of classroom programmes being supported post-course by online coaching and discussion - another example of blending

Paul Duxbury: Jacqui and that is what collaborative Learning offers - the opportunity to explore and learn alongside and with others in an aysnchronous and synchronous manner

Michiel Erasmus: Anybody, would the investment in the new technology and delivery plaform(s) provide a greater return on investment (knowledge gained, skills acquired,greater productivity) than if invested in 'traditional' methods ?

Jacqui Bradney: Paul Thank-you, please advise where I can check out these packages online?

Paul Duxbury: Jacqui I cant advertise on here byt my email address gives you a good clue where to look LOL

Paul Duxbury: but*

Tim Pickles: Jacqui - contact me by email afterwards, and I can supply the web addresses of some suppliers

Jon: I am currently writing a dissertation looking at online within business. The trend is up and it seems that it is a market place that will see a large growth in the next few years.

Tim Pickles: Michiel - for many employers I don't recommend installing the technology themselves - the costs can be high - but the platforms can be 'rented' or used in their public web pages - this is a lower risk solution when the technology is changing so fast

Jon: Would anyone have any information around online learning within business? I am trying to assess the impact of online learning within business

Michiel Erasmus: Tim, true as regards to outsourcing etc. but would still need to convince management as to the 'cost' of the investment as they would pose the standard questions; what is the ROI, increase in productivity, any benefits to the organisation and so on

Tim Pickles: We're coming to the end of today's scheduled session - are there final questions or comments people want to ask - we publish this transcript later today if you want to review it

Michiel Erasmus: Thanks Tim, looking forward to the review on the tools.

Andy Waterworth: If anyone would like to contact myself or Paul Duxbury we would happy to share our view of online learning from a providers point of view.

Jacqui Bradney: Thanks Tim

Paul Duxbury: Thanks Tim

Carrol Rowe: Bye

Tim Pickles: OK folks - we seem to have dried up - feel free to contact me by email afterwards if you wish (click my name once to see me email address); the transcript goes up this afternoon when I get round to it!


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