Why classroom-style training is failing you

What do you prefer: a roadmap or a GPS?

Imagine you are on a long road trip to a handful of cities you’ve never visited before. Sure, you could go the old-fashioned way and plan out your route on a paper map. However, this approach would take a lot of time, and you’d need to keep pulling over to check directions.

And this is why most modern drivers use a GPS. You simply enter the destination, the machine works out the best route and gives you real-time instructions that you can follow by while driving by flicking your eyes over the display.

Corporate technology training is just the same as this example. Unfortunately, the vast majority of companies still follow the paper roadmap strategy. They emphasize inefficient classroom learning, even when a far more effective digital approach is available.

Let’s look in more detail at why classroom-style training is failing – then see how technology is changing things for the better.

Classroom-style training is failing

Classroom-style training is any training method that involves an instructor transferring knowledge to a group of learners. It might be done using:

  • Live training sessions in a physical training center or a conference room at your offices
  • Online courses which are pre-recorded (e.g., on a platform like LinkedIn Learning)
  • Webinars where training is delivered live online

All these methods provide employees with an overview of a digital tool. However, due to time constraints, they can never enable them to be proficient.

The fact is that classroom technology training are simply not good enough for the needs of a modern digital workplace. It is not suited to helping companies achieve digital transformation, adapt to rapid innovation or meet regulatory compliance.

Here are some of the key reasons why classroom-style training fails:

  • Not human friendly

Information overload and the pursuit of proficiency in the classroom always lead to staff feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. With digital tools like SharePoint or Office 365, there is just too much to learn in a single afternoon-long classroom session. As a consequence, most people leave training sessions feeling exhausted and confused.

  • Not memory-friendly

The human brain is an incredibly powerful machine. However, it is well-established that people forget most of what they learn within 24 hours. That's why, even the next day after training, they get stuck at the moment of completing a task. Fundamentally, the classroom learning model just doesn’t match how our brains remember things.

  • Far too selective

All training sessions are limited by time, so there is no way that presenters could cover all topics or features that are relevant to all users. The training team is forced to select the topics they think are relevant to most people and leave the rest out. Unfortunately, with a comprehensive platform like Office 365, it becomes impossible for departments or teams to attend enough sessions for them to learn about all the capabilities that would be relevant to their work.

  • They are too costly

A 2017 Training Industry Report revealed that the average mid-sized company spent $1.5 million on employee training each year. This is money that they could save by simply adding a contextual help system over their business technology environments.

Furthermore, in most modern businesses, employees use more than a dozen digital tools every single day. If they do not receive ongoing contextual training for all of these different tools, they will not use any them to their full potential.

Digital workplaces need contextual training

If your organization wishes to keep up with the complexity of digital technology, your training tools need to respond to the realities of modern workplaces. And this is where contextual microlearning systems help.

Rather than training people by sending them to a classroom, digital help systems detect the application feature that an individual is currently using and delivers training content they need which is relevant to that page. The user can view snippets of relevant training content from right within the page, then continue with the task at hand.

Essentially, this is about automating training. The goal is to give everyone the ability to use a software application or web service even if they have not yet received any training. Instead, onscreen walkthroughs show them how to use a tool in moments, without needing to attend a long training session.

Stop being let down by classroom training

Is classroom training really working for you? Or is it like using a paper map in a world of GPS?

Ever more businesses are making the shift over to contextual microlearning. This approach allows them to reduce or even entirely replace costly, inefficient classroom training, with a more impactful and useful approach to IT learning.

Looking to learn more about the shift away from classroom training? Read our blog on the history of workplace learning.

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