Training of past, present and future

There has been much debate over the future of learning throughout 2009 and there is a belief that more traditional means of training will become the ghost of training past.  However Philippa Nicholson of Nicholson Solutions takes a particular look at the training of times gone by and what the amazing array of toys and tools for learning hold for the future.

Past – Traditional

In the past training and development has been predominantly classroom based where groups of individuals sit in the same location and listen to an expert instructor whilst referring to textbooks and manuals.  This method offered in-depth study and explanation of the subject matter, with hands-on practice to help develop skills, perhaps coupled with live demonstrations. 


‘Classroom’ learning either in groups or one-to-one is still viewed as a significant element in the provision of training to achieve people’s development needs. Although threatened by the advent of e-learning, which seemed to some the answer to everything and the death of classroom learning, we in fact see a balance between the two, with “blended learning” making use of both methods. Web 2.0 technologies now add a new and flexible element, with informal learning through blogs, webinars, video and podcasts enhancing knowledge-sharing and access to reference information.  However, having ready access to information is not always a replacement for developing skills.

Future – Evolution

Can tomorrow’s technology deliver the learning requirements of your people and add real business value?  If gaining competitive advantage from enhancing peoples’ core capabilities is of key importance to future business success, traditional training will more likely evolve than disappear.  The pace of change in technology is constant which means our learning cannot be static and whilst adopting new technological tools to support learning will provide benefits, it is through a blended approach that optimum success will be achieved. 

The power of the human element in training should never be underestimated.  Instructors can add real value by facilitating learning, developing a users’ confidence unattainable from manuals, videos and online learning.  Webinars and podcasts are great tools for delivering short, sharp, focused nuggets of information but longer or more in-depth topics require significant interaction to hold the attention of the audience.         

Whilst completely advocating the place for Web 2.0 learning there is always a role for a person to bring it alive and it is important to appreciate that people learn in different ways at different times. 

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