Who should you look to for online training?
Online training and m-learning are here to stay. We have gone from limited choices about ten years ago to an abundance of programmes and courses on the market today. Ultimately, you the learner, need to be very concerned about value for money, quality of training, legitimacy of the programmes and the professional marketability of your training.
Value for money
Online training should be cheaper than your traditional face-to-face classroom training. Here are some of the things to look for:
1. The brand of your education and training is still very important. Go after the best brands on the market for your training needs.
2. Ensure that your package gives you access to:
b. Follow-up training and updates
c. Combo packages (for example, discounts on multiple related courses)
d. Offline feedback from trainers
e. Recognised certification (if that’s your objective).
Quality of online programmes
It is important to understand the difference between synchronous and asynchronous programmes. The former programmes are scheduled and live and the latter are on-demand. Synchronous programmes can feature live texting, live chats, video conferencing, audio conferencing and live virtual classrooms. On the other hand, asynchronous programmes feature threaded discussions, forums, bulletin boards, emailing and SMS texting.
(It’s not uncommon to see younger learners reading their books on a tablet computer).
Benefits of synchronous programmes:
* Live and real-time
* Ability to interact spontaneously with your online colleagues and trainers
* More similar to face-to-face interaction especially if there is video conferencing.
Benefits of asynchronous programmes:
* Gives you more flexibility with your scheduling
* Discussions tend to be of a higher level because you have the option to research offline and report back to the threaded conversations
* You have more opportunity to revisit and revise on-demand.
Blended learning can be a combination of face-to-face and synchronous, face-to-face and asynchronous, synchronous and asynchronous or a combo all three.
Quality checks for online training
1. Do make sure that you are training with a reputable and accredited training provider.
2. Accreditation is still very important in the virtual world.
3. Do your background checks and seek out references from persons who have done the programme before.
4. GES does not recommend live programmes with sessions that are longer than 60 to 90 minutes.
Trends to look for!
One of the biggest trends in online learning and training is what is referred to as “snack learning” or learning in small bytes. Over the next few years you are going to witness an increase in apps for smart phones. Currently there are lots of apps to help you with examination prep courses, short bytes of reading materials, short training videos (normally a maximum of five ten minutes).
This snacking trend is emerging based on research that has shown that Generations Y and Z tend to have shorter attention spans and are more in tune with digital technologies.
Here’s a typical GEN Z learner interacting with a text book and surfing the net on his phone to supplement his reading.
Sometimes the term m-learning is also used to refer to courseware and training available via mobile technologies.
The next big trend will be interactivity. Look out for apps that will talk back to you, live chat with your colleagues and trainers on your mobile phones as well as instant video, use of avatars, holograms and voice recognition. All of this technology is already available and leading training companies are busy incorporating them into their learning products.
Next week we will look at How companies can develop their own training solutions. For access to the entire series of GES articles in pdf. feel free to download them from http://www.scribd.com/GlobalExpertSystems