Online training is increasingly being seen as a viable alternative to classroom or lecture-style courses. It’s an area we’ve been involved in for quite a long time now, from our work on the Courses-on- Disk Office CDs back in the early days of the millennium through to our short lunchtime learning animations and training videos for IT Counts.
The Internet seems to be ideally suited to allowing people to give away for free what they used to be able to charge for (it will be interesting to see how the Times and Sunday Times attempt to move back from free to paid-for web content goes). Giving content away is all too easy, getting paid for it, a lot more difficult.
Accordingly the value of online training is causing us some concern. Firstly, can online training be as effective as ‘real’ training and lecturing? In all probability it depends both on the subject of the training and the individual trainee – some people will prefer the flexibility of an online course accessed when they want from where they want. For others, the discipline of attending an ‘event’ combined with ‘live’ interaction, with other delegates as much as with the lecturer, might achieve better results. On the other aspect of value, people may not be prepared to pay a similar amount for online training as for attending an event but increased ‘attendance’ might more than make up for cheaper prices.
Will there always be a place for live courses and training or will online alternatives replace them entirely in time? Any views or personal experiences would be very gratefully received