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Face to Face Training – A Thing of the Past?

Is face-to-face training, a thing of the past? Not necessarily, human beings naturally crave interaction. Most people tend to learn better in a more hands-on environment. Yet, in the modern digital age, it is all about getting things done in a virtual way. We use electronic accounts to send mail, phone calls are being made over the internet with video, and it is more popular than ever to work from home. Instant communication is an integral part of our lives.

There are many advantages to all the recent advances in telecommunications, this cannot be denied, it makes communicating with one another much cheaper, more immediate and a lot more convenient. However, before science and technology took over, people used to interact with each other. They knew how to make connections and learn from each other without the use of a computer screen.

The reality is, people are social by nature. Young and old alike are currently active on social media, demonstrating a need for human connections. The need for interaction is a fundamental and defining human characteristic that sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.

People communicate, learn and acquire memories most effectively through physical interactions. This is how all meaningful relationships develop and grow. The strongest connections evolve over time spent together. In recent years, everyday culture has put a lot of emphasis on how much time, and how many things we can get done in the cyber world. We no longer grasp how much we can learn directly from each other.

Physical Interaction and Education

When it comes to modern training and education, the virtual option has become a popular alternative to traditional classroom learning. With the rising demand, more colleges, universities, and businesses are offering more online training, open university courses and online programs. This is necessary to stay competitive and meet the needs of all prospective students.

There are so many advantages to providing a virtual learning environment, including minimizing or eliminating space issues and improving flexibility. Participants can typically follow the program at their own pace, on their own time, at a significantly reduced cost than traditional training. But, there are always concerns about the quality of education and the overall experience. Many researchers believe that online training is less effective than traditional face-to-face learning methods.

There is no doubt that virtual training provides an excellent opportunity for a wider audience to access education, butt this teaching style is not right for everyone. Like the experts have stated, some of the most successful global companies still prefer face-to-face training.

Advantages of Face-to-Face Training

Face-to-face training allows for a complete experience that comes from personal communication through body language, mannerisms, tone and volume, gestures, behavior, and more. It is based on what is seen, heard and felt.

Face-to-face training adds the human element to a workshop, unlike computer-based education. Personal connections, responses, and reactions have the chance to blossom and flow freely during in-person sessions.

Virtual education can negatively affect the quality of the training because there are limitations to attaining the same kind of teacher/student interaction that comes with traditional learning. This can make it impossible to achieve certain objectives.

Online learning creates an anonymous blanket that allows participants to join in disingenuously. There is a lack of physical stimulation because the only connections are through typing and viewing. Sometimes the only way viewers are actively involved is through reading a computer screen. There is virtually no value gained through the experience.

In addition, there are more problems with misinterpretation and miscommunication in digital training than there is during face-to-face sessions. It is hard to convey the right emotion through email or chat. The message may be received in the wrong way.

When it is a long presentation with a lot of information being presented, it is so much easier, more efficient and most effective to host a face-to-face, live instructor-led program.

 Misleading Benefits of Online Training

The cost benefits of online training programs are often overestimated. The money saved on the virtual course may not be worth the amount of actual learning lost and the experience that is not gained by the participants. When going over the checks and balances, and crunching the figures, you may end up paying twice as much to retain your staff, making the cost savings involved insignificant.

It has been shown that professionals who use video conferencing seminars are more likely to focus on such non-educational aspects as the appearance and likeability of the speaker, rather than the quality of the information, the presentation in its entirety, and the arguments, instead of those who participate in face-to-face training.

Since virtual training and education offers so much flexibility and convenience, it does work well for those with an overwhelming number of responsibilities and demanding schedules. It is also good for students who would not be able to attend classes without an online alternative. Nonetheless, there are still some clear disadvantages to the newfangled way of learning, like the lack of direct contact with teachers and colleagues, and the inability to immerse oneself totally in the program.

Nothing Comes Close to Hands-on Learning

Clearly, virtual learning has its benefits, it can be very valuable in the right situations. However, when it comes to training, it is more worthwhile to spend time face-to-face. By viewing and actively engaging with a speaker who is passionate about the presented topic, that excitement gets passed on, there are fewer distractions promoting better interest, boosting the likelihood of information retention.

Final Word

Physical, face-to-face training sessions not only promote better understanding, they help learners to recall the lessons and the program content more efficiently. The element of personal interaction fosters an important bond, it promotes camaraderie. There is value in being able to grasp new insights through others face-to-face and to develop social networks.

Ultimately, the greatest approach is a blended dynamic that delivers the hardest impact, a face-to-face learning environment with online support. This would include tools, sharing ad knowledge frameworks. Since both methods offer unique advantages, utilize the best of both worlds.

Lastly, let me know your thoughts and tips for Face to Face Training that has helped you. Leave a comment below and I look forward to hearing from you.


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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...

One comment

  1. Couldn’t agree more, with you conclusion. Most of us are still on the face to face level and moving towards a mixed approach; but we have to be careful not to let pendulum swing to far in the virtual direction.

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