Yes, it’s true. Classroom training is not on the decline.
Now you might be thinking, “Hey, why all this talk about mobile and social learning?” or “How come eLearning is so popular right now?” And it’s true, training departments are discovering new methods. But that doesn’t mean the “old” methods are dying.
According to Stacey Harris, vice president of research and advisory services at Brandon Hall Group, classroom training has increased about 5% in the past year based on their Relationship-Centered Learning research. The number isn’t huge but it’s not a surprise. In my experience, I’ve found that classroom training is starting to serve more than just a training purpose. It allows companies to create reward and recognition opportunities.
Senior leadership can spend time with participants and begin to develop relationships.
I’ve also seen human resources use classroom training events as a way to solicit feedback from participants about projects they’re working on. Think of it as a very casual focus group.
I often hear that the real value in social media is when people get the chance to take their online interactions to real life. I believe we see this trend in classroom training. Virtual teams getting the chance to meet each other. Employees from all of the world connecting in person then collaborating online.
The key for training providers (whether they’re internal or external) is to understand these “additional goals” for the event. These might not be formal learning objectives as much as they are event objectives. Trainers and facilitators need to build time for these interactions to take place. And smart companies are finding ways to use trainers in the activities.
Purist training types might not like their training events being watered down with other organizational activities. Personally, I see it as a wonderful enhancement to the overall experience. It brings senior leadership into the classroom. It gets participants talking about what they’ve learned over dinner and drinks – after the session, of course. HR is brainstorming ideas with participants. All good for individuals and the company.
If this is the direction classroom training is going, let’s hope it’s alive for a very long time.1