Why the days of face-to-face training might be over

by Brett Henebery06 Apr 2017
As the technological changes influencing modern workplace prompt L&D professionals to re-evaluate how they train learners, some are accepting that traditional methods of training are a thing of the past.

As for what kind of training will emerge, L&D Professional spoke with Andres Jonmundsson – head of learning and development at Fuji Xerox Australia, who spoke at the Learning & Development Masterclass held in Sydney on 30 November.

Jonmundsson says the biggest disruptions are driven from within business to be more agile, cost efficient and effective.

“The days of rolling out lots of face to face training are behind us,” he told L&D Professional.
“Businesses and learners expect training to be practical and relatable to every day experiences. Learning budgets are under increasing pressure forcing learning practitioners to find solutions that are impactful and scalable.”

Jonmundsson said this necessitates partnerships with technologies that offer macro and micro learning in fun and accessible ways where learners are able to relate the education in real time.

“We will see the LMS becoming less significant, education will become increasingly mobile and training will become part of an employee’s daily rhythm rather than an isolated event that pops up periodically in their calendar,” he envisioned.

One practice gaining increasing traction in modern workplaces is social learning, Jonmundsson pointed out.

Bandura’s Social Learning Theory posits that people learn from one another, via observation, imitation, and modelling.

Jonmundsson said this year he expects to see more acceptance of social learning in L&D.

“People want to learn in a social way. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn all provide a flexible self-directed way of learning. Most L&D practitioners will agree on the link between motivation and learning transfer,” he explained.

“Sharing ideas, debating, disagreeing and having fun are powerful learning techniques but often difficult to do in traditional classrooms.”

He added that social learning platforms offer a safer alternative where people can build learning communities and engage in lots of micro learning.

“A practical and personal example I can share was the experience of meeting and talking with new people in a Virtual room using my VR headset,” he explained.

“Although I met others in an avatar form, the social conditions were similar to any other event where you might meet with strangers.”

 He added that within the VR room, he learnt more about the social norms and challenges from people all over the world.

“We are almost at the point where social learning platforms will be completely immersive,” he said.

The Learning & Development Masterclass series continues with the Melbourne event underway today. Click here for more information.

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  • by Mike Symonds 6/04/2017 2:53:48 PM

    I find this really hard to believe. Everyone is totally different and each of us require a multitude of environments for effective learning.

    Where he says “Sharing ideas, debating, disagreeing and having fun are powerful learning techniques but often difficult to do in traditional classrooms.” Any good trainer will actively create an environment which encourages and supports these elements. Working face to face allows us to not only share, debate and have fun, but also forces us to deal with 'uncomfortable' situations and social interactions face to face - holding us accountable for our actions.

    It provides us the opportunity to practice (not just discuss and intellectualize) a new skill in a safe environment before putting it to the test.

    My experience is we are so hung up on 'streamlining' training because of time and money constraints that we will lose sight of the real benefits of meeting together in person - to connect, form real relationships and feel a real sense of belonging. You can speak to someone over the phone everyday, but there'll always be an over driving urge to meet them face to face.

    Face to face training should always have a place, however the real value comes when use additional training methodologies to re-inforce the face to face content.

  • by Brian Allen 7/04/2017 9:23:09 AM

    I must agree with Mike on this. The idea that face to face learning will (must?) diasappear not only seems misguided but also essentially a sad reflection on changing perceptions of what really constitutes human interaction.

    I can't help but believe that the real debate must be around the appropriate balance of learning intervention design. Of course there is a vast panoroma of subject matter that can be serviced through the virtual world. But, to my mind, there are key areas of learning that absultely need direct face to face interaction under the guidance of talented and passionate facilitators. An obvious example would be leadership development. I would agree that qualititaive learning of this type could and should be supported through social learning and networking but, after 40 years of involvement I am convinced that the real 'electricity' of learning in these key areas occurs at the level of direct interaction and real relationship building.

    I would certainly agree that the days of the 'traditional classroom' are over - they were over a long time ago. Nevertheless, as a New Zealander, I find myself guided by the Maori tradition of 'kanohi ki te kanohi' i.e. if this is important you will come and talk with me face to face.

    As Mike point out, orgaisational learning delivery must be multi-dimensional and targeted according to significance and priority. Face to face will always be more expensive but when properly aligned will always provide a justifiable RO!.