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Desktop Learning vs. Classroom Learning

The newest trend in the training business has been to move instruction to the desktop. There are a lot of compelling reasons to provide learning at the desktop aside from the convenience. The learning is self-paced so it can work with everyone and it doesn’t require complex scheduling.

I also think that there are a number of problems with desktop learning:

  1. Interruptions. Let’s face it, we can have so many interruptions when we’re sitting at our desk. The phone rings or you hear the "bling’ of a new e-mail arriving in your mailbox. Someone comes by your cubicle to chat. You hear a funny joke. It can be both difficult and frustrating for some people to learn while having all these interruptions.
  2. No interaction. Some training topics have more impact when you discuss them with your colleagues. How do you deliver the best service to your customers? What are the unique challenges that your company faces? What really does diversity mean in your organization. How can we do a better job to meet the unique needs of our customers? These tough topics can benefit from a group discussion.
  3. Perception of importance. I am not sure of this, but it seems to me that people may not perceive learning at the desktop to be as important as a training session that is in a classroom. I wonder if desktop learning may be considered something of an afterthought while classroom learning may be viewed as a priority.

So, what to do? I think the best solution is a combination. For high impact training, the classroom may prove to be superior. For ongoing training, "refresher sessions," skills improvement, and other quick updates, the desktop is probably better.

As you approach your organization’s training priorities, you should probably consider using a mix of these different methods.

Posted under Miscellaneous Thoughts by Stewart on Mar 10, 2008 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

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