Is Classroom Training Dead?


As we come to the end of 2017 and prepare to face 2018 the old question of eLearning replacing classroom training is raised at budget time.  In 2018 companies will continue to look for ways of doing more with less and so the pressure to have better trained people becomes more intense.

Further challenges will be faced as companies need to train more geographically dispersed people.  Transportation presents a large part of the training department’s budget.

Recent studies have shown that e-learning typically requires 40 percent to 60 percent less employee time and increased retention rates 25% to 60%.  This is why training departments are leaning towards online e-learning to deliver development programmes that are more efficient in terms of both cost of the training and the cost of the employees’ time to take the training.

Also, there is a strong demand from the workforce for training by tools they have.  Training should be done in the way the workforce is used to using the technology, taking in short, sharp inputs of information in a ‘just-in-time’ manner.  Online solutions have become very popular for organisations doing technical training.  Online is ideal for learning scenarios that are either right or wrong such as compliance training.


The Solution

However, although e-learning can support a lot of training, the purists are saying, “you can’t beat face-to-face for teaching soft skills.”  The collegial effect of learning in a group can be very helpful in certain circumstances.

Soft skills such as communication, teamwork, positivity, confidence and behavioural training need the interaction that takes place in more traditional classrooms.  When it comes to teaching behavioural change or the development of soft skills, training content needs to be more job, business and Customer specific.  For this reason, “one-size-fits-all” training cannot provide the right depth of knowledge or the skills that organisations need to arrive at a really competitive advantage.

Classroom workshops provide the ideal environment to allow people to network, fully engage and focus on a particular topic as well as have the opportunity to discuss their own experiences and problems.

By blending workshops with online training, we are starting to see virtual sessions, peer coaching, business simulations, one-on-one and group sessions.  As well as being better for the learner, this approach enables organisations to adapt their training quickly and easily to reflect technological advancement and changing market needs.

A study conducted by the US Centre for Digital Education found that 73 percent of educators who use a blended learning model found an increase in learner engagement.  It is clear that e-learning is earning a high importance in professional training for new behaviours and skillsets, but it produces the most successful results as part of a blended approach when it is used in conjunction with classroom activities.

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