The world of learning and development has had to rapidly adapt to the changing global picture.
Before the pandemic, a majority of training was probably delivered face to face in hotels, offices and dedicated centres. But not anymore.
Lockdown measures and restrictions have forced trainers, speakers and coaches to change and adjust how they operate.
With so much online training now available, some people believe the quality or value of training has in some way been watered down.
I disagree. Strongly.
Here are 7 popular myths about online training and why you should NOT believe them.
Myth #1 – Online Classes are not as effective as face-to-face ones
Firstly, let me say that I love face-to-face training.
It’s how I got into training. And I was doing a lot of in-person training for 20 years, before moving my business online. There is certainly something special about being in a room with a group, the atmosphere and the different interactions.
But it’s not the only way to deliver effective learning. I have found my own online courses are just as strong at providing a successful outcome for participants as the face-to-face approach.
I know this because my students tell me that’s the case. Their feedback and testimonials are good evidence to back me up here.
Talking to other trainers, I know many are receiving the same kind of response. People who are willing to learn will learn online as well as they would in any room around the country.
Yes, it’s a little different but the results can be just as good. Online may even suit some participants better.
Myth #2 – Online classes are easier than in-person training
For in-person training, you obviously have to get there. Get to the venue, sort out travel arrangements, and possibly accommodation if it’s an early start or multi-day event.
You have to turn up and participate. You might be called upon by the trainer to do stuff.
With online training, you obviously don’t have to travel but you still have to ‘turn up’. Whilst that might not mean physically turn up, you are still going to be taking the class or course from your home or office.
You still have to put the effort in to learn properly and effectively. Otherwise, it could be a wasted opportunity. Just as with in-person events, you have to have the discipline to do the work you are asked to do. You will still need focus and your powers of concentration.
To get the most out of your online training, you still have to put some work and effort in. With potentially more distractions at home, it could be said to be harder for some people than if they were going to an in-person class or course.
Myth #3 – Online classes are not respected by employers
This myth is being totally blown to smithereens by what’s happening out there.
I’m writing this at a time when much of the world is slowly coming out of lockdown. Most training has gone online because restrictions make face-to-face training impossible.
Businesses need their people to be productive, skilled and up to date with whatever is required to do their job well.
Before the pandemic and lockdown, employers were booking in-person and online training. Now employers are booking online courses for their staff, who are working remotely.
Some specific sectors may find they are not getting the bookings of the past but there’s no clear-cut evidence of a let-up in general or popular training subjects.
I have not seen any dip in demand for my online courses. From what I am hearing in training communities and forums, employers are definitely respecting – and investing in – the online option.
Myth #4 – Online students don’t get to interact with their instructor
This is not necessarily true. It very much depends on the platform being used by the instructor.
With my online training courses, I am on screen so people can see me. I have a Facebook Group where my students can come together and chat with each other, support each other. There is plenty of interaction and possibilities to interact with me.
My learning management system has a Community feature. This means my students can post their questions and I can answer them.
My students can email me and I can respond. Sometimes I will even book a 10-minute call with them, to go through it 1-2-1 to help them. I’m happy to do that if it is something covered in the course and I feel it would help to cement the learning.
Myth #5 – Online offers no interaction with other students
This ties in with Myth #4. And the answer is pretty similar.
When you have a Community built into your online learning system, students will be able to interact with each other. That social interaction is very important. It can create bonds, deepen the learning and even lead to friendships (as it might with in-person training).
Something that one person asks on the training will help answer a question another attendee has, and vice versa. That’s really important. People learn from what other people ask.
It’s the reason why all my online courses have Community built-in. They are designed for individual learning and interactive learning.
Myth #6 – You have to teach yourself when learning is online
Online courses obviously give people material to learn.
If online courses are worth their salt, they won’t just be a series of slides. They won’t just expect participants to absorb the material. That would just have people falling asleep, which is obviously NOT a good thing.
With a good online course, you will not be expected to teach yourself. The sessions are likely to be interactive. You might be given a task to go away and do, like an assignment or to read a book and comment on it. There will be things for you to do to build in the learning.
You will be led, guided and helped in being taught the topic. In my case, I show you what is going on and you will see, step-by-step, what I am doing. This means you can follow it all as we go in the relevant Microsoft 365 ‘Office’ package.
Myth #7 – Online learning is all lectures
This is simply not true.
Where there are university or university-style courses, some training might be done lecture style. But most modern online training is not done that way. That’s because trainers have usually learned or had training in how to deliver effective courses and sessions.
Which is great news for all learners.
Any decent course that I or my colleagues run will have a lot of interactivity built-in. If the training is live, via Zoom or Teams, there will be interactivity. With these tools, you can have virtual breakout rooms, provide group chat messaging, and have private chat options with the instructor.
You can set people tasks to do and time them. They go off and do them and report back to the main session when time is up. You could have 60 minutes of training delivery, for example, followed by 30 minutes for an assignment. People can go away, do the assignment then check in again and say how they have got on.
Feedback from participants in these kinds of sessions is simply off the scale. If you choose your online course sensibly, you’ll get a lot out of it.
These are 7 of the most popular myths about online training. You may have heard some of them before or even believed some of them before.
Perceptions people have are intriguing. But if their decisions are being based on incorrect information or a tainted viewpoint, they could be missing out on a valuable – and increasingly common – way of learning.
Online training is here. And it’s here to stay.
You can see the video that this article is based on – on my YouTube Channel