The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way companies approach training and learning. With restrictions on in-person gatherings and a shift to remote work, organizations have had to explore new ways of training their employees. This has led to a debate on whether in-person training is still relevant or if online training has become the new norm.
As any business owner knows, training is essential to the workforce process. Whether you plan to implement new software or refine existing methodologies, accurately training your workers can be the key to efficiency and morale. Popular training methods include classroom-based teaching models, digital learning programs, on-the-job coaching from supervisors, and gamified simulations.
When developing a training program, you will need to consider not only the methodologies available, but the learning styles of trainees. You will likely be dealing with a mixture of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. You will need to review the main types of training – self-led, online instructor-led, and live, in-person training – and weigh the pros and cons of each to get the most out of your program.
Many people prefer to set their own training schedule. They learn best when given the flexibility to work at their own pace from anywhere, and benefit from the cost savings that usually accompany this method. However, without the opportunity to ask questions or get feedback from an instructor, and a diminished level (or complete absence) of accountability, it can be more difficult to stay motivated.
Visual learners will require well-organized, engaging course materials to work effectively in a self-led environment. Auditory learners may find the lack of direct guidance from an instructor hampers their focus during training.
Virtual training sessions with a live instructor provide more structure and interaction than self-led training, while still offering the flexibility of learning from anywhere. It is also often less expensive than in-person training. It still may be difficult to receive direct feedback and personalized content as online sessions can have many attendees. Technical hurdles and outside distractions threaten a learner’s focus during online training.
With the right visual aids and interactive elements, visual learners can excel in an online instructor-led training environment. Auditory learners can also benefit from the added feedback from instructors and interaction with other trainees.
In-person training is the most immersive option, allowing greater interaction with the instructor and other students. It also offers personalized one-on-one feedback for individual learners. The downside is that it can be expensive and requires a significant time commitment. Additionally, if a learner needs to reschedule or miss a session, they may have difficulty catching up.
Kinesthetic learners are likely to be at their best with live, in-person training. They can be more involved in hands-on activities and physically interact with materials and classmates. Conversely, auditory learners may experience difficulties in a live training environment where they can’t manage background noise or external distractions. They would need clear instructions from a well-spoken instructor.
When picking a training format, it is fundamental to be mindful of an individual's learning style. A well-crafted training program would serve different learning styles and allow individuals to study based on their inclinations.
What’s next for online and in-person training? Each format has its advantages and disadvantages. Organizations must determine which format is best suited for their specific training needs and objectives. The ideal solution likely lies in a hybrid format, blending self-led, online instructor-led, and in-person methods depending on the material and the individuals being trained.
In-person training may still be the preferred choice for certain types of training, such as hands-on training or team-building exercises. In-person training also offers the opportunity for participants to network and build relationships with colleagues, which can be more challenging to achieve in a virtual setting.
On the other hand, online training offers greater flexibility and accessibility, particularly for employees working remotely or in different time zones. It is also more cost-effective than in- person training, as it eliminates the need for travel and accommodation expenses.
At McQuaig, most of our employees work remotely. While it is important to us to gather together occasionally, we also need to rely on virtual learning when we onboard or develop our employees. We take a fully hybrid approach to training, leveraging live online training, self-led training, and some in-person training. We also rely on our assessments to understand individual learning styles when designing onboarding and development programs. We know everyone learns differently, and we want our employees to be able to access information and learning resources in a way that suits them!
We take the same approach when it comes to customer training. We know that not only do different people have different learning styles, but we know that different training approaches better support different learning outcomes. That's why we launched McQuaig University, a training platform designed exclusively for our customers. McQuaig University provides a seamless online learning experience covering various important topics, including the McQuaig Getting Started Learning Path, which is perfect for those new to the McQuaig platform or needing a refresher.
Through McQuaig University, customers can access self-led learning paths and live, instructor-led training sessions, allowing users to learn at their own pace or attend live training sessions hosted by our team of experts. Additionally, McQuaig offers live and in-person Certification and Team Effectiveness training because we know that sometimes, there isn't a more effective way to learn than to gather with each other and work together! This offers the best of all worlds, as our employees and customers can access training from anywhere at any time while still having the opportunity to interact with trainers and colleagues.
In recent years, we’ve seen a major shift toward online training. This doesn’t mean in-person training is becoming obsolete, as it likely never will be. Organizations must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both formats and determine which best suits their specific training needs. At McQuaig, both forms have a role to play in employee training and development. McQuaig University exemplifies this flexible approach, as we offer a comprehensive training solution that allows employees to access training in the format that ensures their continued growth and success.