When we talk about educational models, we must consider the guiding principles of pedagogy and, in the case of corporate learning for adults, andragogy. How can we best apply a particular type of class/course/training to achieve the goals of that specific audience? The answer involves many variables but, limiting our analysis to world of organizations, it’s necessary to fully understand the company’s values and objectives and connect any and all training actions to them.
In practice, there are many paths that lead to the end goal, but how we get there matters as much as the final result. This journey is the essence of the learning process, since it’s a trip with no end in sight (by the way, have you read the article that our CEO, Renato Gangoni, wrote about Lifelong Learning?), and we must consider the characteristics of each company and work team when deciding which approach to use.
In the midst of a pandemic, face-to-face training might seem like a questionable choice, but we have to admit there are various Training and Development actions that only work when done in person. There’s nothing quite like physical human contact and being able to look into each other’s eyes. The productivity and effectiveness of certain workshops, for example, just doesn’t compare when conducted virtually versus in-person. Despite our efforts to adapt, the dynamic, interactive nature of face-to-face training can’t be replaced and should be put at the service of your T&D program whenever possible, while obviously ensuring the health and safety of all participants.
On the other hand, virtual training offers an unrivaled range of possibilities and flexibility for Training and Development programs. It also tends to cost less. That said, there can be some technical and technological limitations with the target audience (availability of equipment, bad connections and networks, difficulty using certain platforms and software), but once these obstacles are overcome, virtual learning is almost always an ideal solution for organizations. It’s also worth noting that the choice of synchronous activities (real-time contact with the facilitator) and asynchronous activities (recorded videos, for example) must be made carefully and objectively.
Why not have the best of both worlds? Increasingly common in T&D programs, blended solutions seek to provide synergy between classroom and virtual activities. As such, they offer face-to-face activities that are enhanced with digital components and vice-versa. This is a great option for engaging audiences with different backgrounds and who have different preferences for receiving educational content and training. There are no drawbacks here: the smarter you are about combining training actions (lectures and in-person workshops + LMS platform + micro/mobile learning, for example) the faster you’ll reach your training goals.
Support for Informal Learning
Going beyond the established training formats, we should emphasize how critical it is for organizations to support informal learning. Perhaps you’ve never realized it, but most of the content and information learned and shared by work teams is done so informally within the company. The role of Learning and Development professionals isn’t necessarily to control this process (as if that were possible) or even to capture said content and “formalize” it in the classroom, but to offer real support so knowledge can circulate freely and accurately throughout the organization.
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