Driving Forces

Whether it’s e-learning or classroom instruction, the crucial thing to keep in mind is that “Training Matters.”

I realized the other day that my husband and I are due to take a Defensive Driving course this fall so we can maintain our car insurance discount. I have to admit my heart is not wildly thumping with anticipation.

This year, we have a choice: We can take the standard classroom course (instructor lecture and videos—six hours on a Saturday or three hours for two nights during the week) or we can take the course online (exercises, text, and tests). The price is roughly the same.

I’m torn as there are pros and cons to each.

The majority of the material hasn’t changed since we took the course three years ago, while my attention span seems to shorten by the minute. Our last instructor managed to keep me interested with personal stories from his experiences as a cop. But the one before that lulled me to sleep with dry statistics and reading from the workbook.

I can take the online course from the comfort of my home, but previous attendees told me I can’t click through the screens and tests at my own admittedly fast pace—the course stays on each screen for an allotted period of time. And, unlike the classroom course, the online course requires attendees to take all the tests in the workbook.

Now, if the online course featured a game that put me in the driver’s seat of a 500-horsepower Corvette, my decision might be a whole lot easier (and the course more exciting), but I don’t know that I necessarily would retain (or put into practice) any more information than the classroom session.

After all, e-learning has the reputation of being more convenient and cost-effective than classroom training, but is it as effective when it comes to learning “stickiness” and changing behavior? Our cover story, “Online vs. In-Class Success” aims to answer that question with input from Training Top 125 winners, Training Top 10 Hall of Famers, and other experts.

Serious games are one way to bolster online learning effectiveness. Our Games & Simulations section looks at lessons the corporate training sector can borrow from military games, plus case studies from CMS Energy, Xerox Europe, Aon Hewitt, and Southwest Airlines.

The “just-in-time” aspect of e-learning is another plus. Rather than have the learning delivery dictated by trainers or executives, it often makes sense to allow learners themselves to decide when they need to access specific information or when they need quick refresher training. Discover how some companies are rolling out just-in-time learning to their workforces using the latest technology solutions.

Whether it’s e-learning or classroom instruction, the crucial thing to keep in mind is that “Training Matters”—which just happens to be the mantra for our Training 2015 Conference & Expo in Atlanta February 9-11, 2015. When training matters—when it is connected to corporate strategic goals and more than just a stand-alone event—then it converts into impact.

Visit www.TrainingConference.com to register and find out how you can turn learning into doing.

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training Top 100 and Emerging Training Leaders.