Tip #949: Brief Virtual Training is a Waste of Time

I’m so tired of seeing 30- and 60-minute virtual programs that promise new skills. New skills don’t happen just because someone tells you something. New skills also don’t happen just because someone asks you what you think.

New skills require immediate reinforced practice that results in changed behavior.

Virtual program platforms enable trainers to engage participants with a variety of feedback and discussion options. And I’m sure that many participants leave those brief programs feeling that they have gained new knowledge, or that their current knowledge has been validated. All of that is well and good.

But those 30 or 60 minutes are ultimately a waste of time. Why? Because knowledge is simply information. Until it is acted upon in the real world, and acted upon over and over again, no real learning has occurred.

I have nothing against edutainment or an opportunity for participants to come together to gain knowledge about a specific topic of interest. What I protest is the idea that one-shot virtual programs will make a significant difference in the participants’ lives. New skills need to be practiced, reinforced, and retained, or they will be lost.

My hat’s off to those who take notes during those few-minute sessions and then actually change their behavior in a meaningful way. But I think those individuals are rare.

You could argue that a longer training program of any length, whether virtual or in-person, that does not reinforce practice after the program is equally at fault. And I would agree with you. However, at least the longer programs often build in practice time during the session. It’s not enough, but it’s more than the brief virtual programs tend to offer.

I think one of the reasons I feel so strongly about this is that it gives organizations the wrong idea about what learning requires. Trainers have had to battle the belief that lecture is the only valid training method. We’ve always had to plead for more training time. Now we have to combat the idea that 30 or 60 minutes is a sufficient time to make a real difference in participants’ behavior.

Contact me for effective learning experiences.

May your learning be sweet- and safe.


Question: What is your position regarding 30- or 60-minute virtual training programs?


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