Company Training: Humans vs Machines

Training-_ppl_vs_machine_blog.jpgIn today’s electronic world, companies have moved from traditional Instructor Lead Training (ILT) to the more convenient and low-cost options of Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Web Based Training (WBT) courses. As a leader in training and documentation for almost twenty years, I still feel that a blended learning approach that utilizes all three options is the most successful in the end.

Benefits of Instructor Lead Training

A recent study of over 1,700 companies by the Aberdeen Group found that 72% of the leading sales companies consider traditional, ILT, live training to be the most effective ways to train their sales staff. That is 18% higher than the findings from the lowest performing companies. Why?

  • One-on-one interactions with an instructor and real-time discussions are more effective ways to learn for some. Having a subject matter expert (SME) answer questions instantly and verify the students understanding of the subject is one primary benefit of ILTs. Individualized approach cannot be duplicated in online training.
  • The instructor can adjust the training level based on students’ levels of understanding. With this, all levels of students can be effectively managed by an experienced instructor.
  • ILTs help in learning tangible skills – skills that need learning by doing. Imagine learning an interpersonal skill or handling a piece of machinery through simulations alone! ILTs provide the opportunity for students to make mistakes and learn from them in a safe environment.
  • Group interactions enhance learning, with students learning from one another as well as from the instructor. This doesn’t easily happen during eLearning.
  • Interest levels are likely to be higher, with less chance of outside distraction. Most adult students have superior retention rates in ILT classes.

Benefits of Training via Technology

While the data above supports the need for ILT, it does not mean that the emerging technology platforms in the LMS and WBT space are ineffective. In fact, 51% of the top performers also use WBT to support their ILT in a blended approach.

Advances in LMS and WBT technologies are continuously changing the training environment by:

  • Offering around the clock access to training resources
  • Tracking employee performance and skill development
  • Reducing the costs of training by relying on web-based tools and software to host and conduct training rather than an actual instructor.

In both types of training, it’s critical to keep your audience’s attention, while engaging them and challenging them mentally. Finding the tools and resources for your business may take some trial and error, but the important idea to remember is that training, of either sort, is essential to building a strong business and workforce.

Stay tuned for the next training blog, where I'll discuss some of the issues businesses have with LMS and WBT courses and how you can overcome them. 

About the author: Brian is a Training Director with 18+ years in training and documentation. Brian has taught over 3000 student days in more than 20 countries with telecom companies including Fonality, Samsung, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens, Huawei, Nortel, Aircom International and more. He has also worked in sales, marketing and logistics during his career. When not training, you can find him spending family time at his cabin bow hunting or at home playing WoW (he's got 8 level 100 characters).