Do You See Classroom Training in the Future?

Where and how will you take your next class? Will it be in a traditional classroom? In a classroom with seats spaced far apart? Online? By watching recorded videos? In a highly-interactive game-like environment? In a one-on-one coaching or mentoring setting? Have you even thought about it?

students in room using vr goggles

Like it or not, the training landscape is changing. Most corporate training has been online for the last few months and that is likely to be a delivery format for the foreseeable future. As trainers and designers are getting more accomplished in delivering and designing online (VILT - Virtual Instructor-Led) sessions, and as learners are getting more accustomed to them, the format has become increasingly popular. During the spring and early summer, many school children have learned to participate in online training, too.

Most subjects lend themselves to online learning and I have discussed it before. But we may see other formats gain in popularity. A colleague recently explained that their company was recording short just-in-time videos for many of their employees. The quick videos could be viewed on phones, tablets, or laptops. While that format is surely not new, the company was significantly expanding its efforts in that area as live classroom training been put on hold.

Another colleague is working on highly-interactive game-like training, again targeted primarily for mobile devices.

One issue, though, is choosing the correct delivery methods for particular content. Some content lends itself well to a video format where it can be repeatedly replayed in one sitting or when one wants to refresh knowledge of the topic. Highly-interactive scenario-based applications have been highly successful from award-winning training for crime-scene investigators to retail workers.

There is still room for classroom training, though, and the jury is still about viable formats. Some have suggested sparse seating arrangements, for example. Some organizations will likely choose to have some participants in a classroom and others at home or in remote locations. The need for classroom training is especially strong where hands-on with particular equipment is necessary. It is difficult to teach an aircraft mechanic how to disassemble and assemble complex systems without at least some physical experience with the actual parts.

But most likely future training will consist of blends of some of the above along with coaching and mentoring. Many organizations have used coaching and mentoring to follow up on classroom or virtual learning, but with more people staying at home and fewer in the office or traveling to other facilities, coaching - especially remotely - is likely to gain popularity. Training departments will need to hire new coaches or train existing employees to coach others.

Some of the coaching and mentoring will also need to be live. Pilots use simulators to learn many aspects of flying but there is no substitute for having an experienced pilot in the cockpit.

Many organizations are already using blended learning, coaching, and hybrid in-class/virtual events. Others are rushing to develop and mature those formats. Learning Tree's Managed Learning Services can assist with organizations wanting to ramp up their capabilities.