Your boss complains that your emails are confusing and that your PowerPoint presentations are, well, boring. So you finally decided to act. The options? A. Face-to-face workshop or B. Online learning.
Which one will it be? What is the most attractive? Which one is the most effective?
A. Face to face: you are in a room without air; the coffee has no taste and you are looking for another donut you really do not need. You are trying to absorb a tremendous amount of information gathered in a day. Your mind begins to feel a bit like that pasty donut; your eyes are glassy. And it’s only half a day.
B. Online: You are at your computer in your office or your comfortable workstation (or at home). You have a cup of freshly made java on hand and your favorite snack, one that always gives you real brain energy. You can not wait to get back to your online Mentor’s mission last week so you can progress with your personal development in business communication skills.
Well done if you prefer scenario B? I rest my case.
Of course, whether you choose to take a business course face-to-face in a workshop or online in an environment of your choice is not just about coffee and better snacks! In my experience as the director of the Language Lab, people are more likely to retain information when instruction is given gradually, rather than being crammed into a shorter period. It is simply more difficult to allow real reflection and absorption of information in a short workshop than through a two-month online program.
I have had a lot of senior executives in various companies that confirm this perspective. They recognize that the information presented in a one or two-day workshop, or in a “lunch and learn” session, does not stick like the knowledge acquired over a longer period. And here is the explanation:
Why online business courses are better
Progressive practice: To integrate new ideas and concepts into your daily routine, you need to practice for at least two months, or more, to assimilate the knowledge you have learned.
Flexibility: You can take professional online courses anywhere, anytime, on a variety of electronic devices, from a desktop computer to your portable tablet.
Modernity: We live in the world of the Internet and most of us are in front of computers most of the day. Why not take advantage of our wireless electronic reality.
Mentoring: With online learning, it is easy to offer personalized and detailed comments. It is much more difficult, if not impossible, to give individual attention to each person in a workshop of 20 to 25 people.
Reflection: Online courses are structured so that you have time between lessons and homework to reflect on what you have learned, to ruminate information and to ask questions if necessary.
Personalization: Online business courses such as those offered by The Language Lab can be customized to meet the needs of specific individuals and industries.
Best coffee: Oh yes, we’ve already covered that! [See Scenario “B” at the top of the article]
But seriously, taking business courses online has obvious advantages. A few years ago, I consulted with the Ontario Ministry of Education as part of a study into the power of online courses. It is not surprising that those taking courses in remote areas of the province prefer e-learning. What surprised me was that even respondents in urban centers, who preferred face-to-face learning opportunities, said they preferred to continue taking online courses because of the flexibility offered.