I’d like to ask you a few questions…..
Which is generally more successful in achieving learning outcomes?
Most people will probably pick the first option… While I’m sure they have been scarred by poor e-learning content in the past, let's stick with the premise that instructor-led training is generally more successful in achieving learning outcomes.
This chart represents knowledge over time…
You can see that initially the user has zero knowledge in the new topic; then they attend a classroom-based training course where they become knowledgeable on the said topic; and after the event knowledge will slowly fade away. That's how the human brain works. You know what they say, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
So far, instructor-led training is more successful in achieving learning outcomes.
But let’s ask that question with an additional tick box. Which is generally more successful in achieving learning outcomes?
Now if we complement the instructor-led training with online content we have a far more powerful solution:
For example, there could be some small online content to digest prior to training. Let’s be honest, it needs to be small and digestible, as most people won’t look at it until they’re on the train going to the instructor-led training. Nevertheless, making some initial content available immediately starts increasing the knowledge level.
Now let's look at the instructor-led training... I’ve had some awesome trainers… But I've also had some I’d never like to see again. (And I’m sure the feeling is mutual, as I am the student who insists on asking questions until I understand concepts :D). Training instructors need more than one type of content if they want their courses to be efficient. The best courses that I attended had a combination of slide decks, videos, games, quizzes, reference guides, and other interactive features.
After the training event, it's important to have that constant drip feed of refresher content. I always chuckle when I look around corporate offices and they have printed Training Manuals on bookshelves, which clearly have never been opened since they were initially put there immediately after a training event. People need constant reminders of the things they are supposed to know.
So the important component to all of this is how you manage your training content, as you need a learning platform that has the ability to provide blended content and, more importantly, automate the release of information in what we call "drip content". When the learning curriculum is designed, if you already have the blended design in mind, you can create your instructor-led training course with learning objects that can easily be manipulated into this supportive content, thus reducing overall development costs and maximizing learning outcomes.