Tip #911:  Why We Need to Go Back to In-Person Training

“ILT learning can adjust to the needs of the learner, it helps build personal relationships and dialogue, and develops collaborative learning.”  AllenComm

I recently read a comment that in-person training is never coming back. To me, that’s like saying in-person communication is never coming back.

We are social beings, and we need and use social and interpersonal skills, whether it’s having a conversation, resolving a conflict, making a presentation, helping a customer, running a meeting, giving performance feedback, or asking for help.

Yes, Zoom and other virtual platforms make it relatively easy to have one-on-one conversations. However, our verbal and nonverbal communication is much too complex and nuanced to be completely captured through a screen.

We’ve long been cautioned that email can be easily misunderstood because it is so difficult to determine the sender’s tone of voice. There is also much that is lost or hard to detect when people talk to people in boxes on their computer screens, whether one-on-one or in groups in breakout rooms.

Research has shown that we learn more easily together than apart. And let’s face it. We don’t live in two dimensions. There are certain social skills and abilities that need to be nurtured and tested in three dimensions to be learned effectively. VILT can approximate real life, but it isn’t real life. We need to be able to hear, see, interpret, and react to tones of voice, body language, gestures, and facial expressions.

It’s hard to learn how to manage a meeting and facilitate the group process without actually practicing it with participants in the same room. I’ll go out on a limb and say that interpersonal skills are face-to-face skills that need physical, hands-on practice with real-life simulations.

We also know a lot of learning happens during classroom breaks when participants reflect on what they learned and discuss it among themselves. This period of informal socialization can’t be easily replicated in VILT. Classroom training also offers less opportunity for participants to multi-task than VILT.

I’m biased because I am a classroom trainer. I’ve revised my programs to work in the virtual world and I enjoy the interactive options provided by the different digital platforms. But VILT does not provide the same rich learning experience provided by a classroom that engages most of the senses. Our focus needs to be on the learners, not on the technology.

This is why I believe that in-person training programs are necessary and will continue to be alive and well.

May your learning be sweet- and safe.


#ILT #inpersontraining #classroomtraining


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