Bucking the trend: Face-to-face learning strikes back

by John Hilton23 Nov 2015
In a world where business trends are veering towards online technology, Crown College - the centre of learning at Crown Melbourne - are part of what is essentially a face-to-face service business.

Moreover, most of their employees work in a facility that covers two city blocks in Melbourne, which means they don’t face the communication and training challenges that result in many other organisations turning to technology.

“That said, we certainly do use virtual training environments and it’s about making sure the programs are engaging and really fast paced,” said Alicia Gleeson, General Manager HR at Crown.

Gleeson told L&D Professional that she thinks L&D will see an improvement in the quality of online learning over the next few years, but not necessarily an increase in quantity.

“Particularly with young tech-savvy people coming into the workplace I think we will see not necessarily more online learning, but a much greater standard with respect to any of the online or virtual reality type learning methods,” she said.

“We don’t see them replacing the traditional delivery. In fact, we are seeing swings in some cases back to traditional face-to-face delivery.”

In particular, Crown College have found that a lot of their people enjoy learning with the capability to interact, explained Gleeson.

“Now obviously that can also be done in a virtual environment and I think that’s another element that needs to be incorporated well,” she said.

Gleeson added that a blended approach is crucial for effective L&D.  

“So it’s not: here’s an online package, or here’s face-to-face, or here, take this away and do something,” she said.

Gleeson told L&D Professional a really effective method is to promote opportunities involving on the floor learning in real time, as opposed to relying only on simulated environments.

“An important thing is integrating training back into the workplace really effectively and ensuring a lot more coaching occurs on the job - people learn by doing.”

Additionally, Gleeson is an advocate for gamification with regards to material that would otherwise be quite dry.

“We’re certainly using some tools that add elements of games into the learning,” she said.

“One of the issues in some of the more online or virtual type training pieces has been that they sometimes really drag for people so we make sure that they are fast paced and that they have a clear application to the business.”