Where does on-line training fall short? Despite its flexibility, face-to-computer training can fall short in building skills and transitioning them to the workplace. Organizations should consider not only the cost and convenience of training, but also its efficacy. While eLearning is appropriate for transferring facts and procedures to be used in predictable scenarios, it is less effective for transferring decision-making or problem-solving skills to be used in interactive or dynamic situations.

On-line or in the classroom? Five reasons to choose face-to-face training over face-to-computer for effective leadership development:  

1. Face-to-face training encourages meaningful discussions of difficult issues so participants can direct the conversation to the most interesting elements, improving recall, and the probability that new skills will be used in the future.

2. By listening and observing, the leader can assess both verbal and nonverbal feedback to personalize the training by adapting the pace, quantity, and depth of information.

3. After each discussion, the leader can choose role-based case studies appropriate to the learner’s progress to deepen and solidify learning, allowing participants to practice new skills with others and without risks.

4. The leader can use the shared experience to provide feedback and prepare participants for applying new skills to job-related concerns; reducing the frustration of using new skills.

5. By coaching in real-time and helping students choose job-related concerns to work through, leaders provide participants with a context for using the skills at work.

eLearning is appropriate for some learning goals and can effectively support face-to-face workshops in blended scenarios, but alone it is not sufficient to build proficiency in applying new management and leadership skills. 

By John Ager, Kepner-Tregoe 

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