Editor’s comment

On reading his obituary in the New York Journal, American novelist Mark Twain said: “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”. I feel much the same can be said of the training room.

The latest obituary for this much-maligned institution appears in a report by HRD consultant Will Doherty who likes to muse on developments in training and learning and development. He believes that technology will become the main medium for the delivery of training and L&D within the next four years.

In this just-around-the-corner world, mobile phones will be repositories of knowledge, while podcasts will be the prime training delivery medium. So, in theory, receivers of training will download their learning from iTunes and the like, and listen to it, or watch it, at their convenience.

As for the training room, in Doherty’s view, that will metamorphose into the digital studio – an electronic gateway into repositories of knowledge, or a place where webcasts and teleconferences are delivered and accessed.

How likely is this? That will depend on content and provision of technologies.

Some compulsory training, such as induction, legal updates, health and safety and so on, may just as well be delivered electronically. But others, especially those devoted to practical skills, are far more suited to classroom-based delivery or, and in many cases more effectively, on-the-job mentoring and training.

It’s hard to see this changing. E-learning – as shown in several surveys – is viewed by many as the least effective means of delivering training and L&D.

Mobile technology will extend its reach and potential, but I doubt it will mean the demise of the training room in the next four years. Timeframes beyond that are Mystic Meg’s territory.

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