Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A comparison of online and in-person tech training

After participating in online software training through lynda.com and in-person training through DoIT, I can safely say that I would choose the online training every time. While both methods had their distinctive benefits and drawbacks, I much preferred the anytime, anywhere accessibility and  customization available through the online platform.

The biggest motivator for me was that I could tailor my online training experience exactly to my skills and goals. In comparison, for the in-person instruction session I was limited to the existing curriculum for the course, and further limited by the general skill level of other students and any technical difficulties that might arise in the lab at a given moment. If the in-person session had not already been scheduled to take place during my regular class period, there would have been the additional complication of trying to find a relevant course that could also fit into my schedule.

While in-person instruction affords the option of asking questions, I vastly preferred being able to follow along with a well-paced video instruction rather than having to wait for my classmates’ questions or technical difficulties to be resolved before my own lesson could continue. I found the video transcriptions to be sufficient to answer any questions I might have had, though I realize this will not be the case for every student or every course.

Of course, there are drawbacks to online learning. Many students find that their level of attention suffers when they are faced with all the distractions of home while they are trying to complete a class; however, I found the online lessons to be quite fun and engaging, and had no problem focusing. I think a big part of that was that I got to pick the topic and the level of difficulty, so I was able to select a specific topic that interested me in the moment and go through that lesson right there, without having to try to fit a DoIT class session into my schedule or worry about having to go through any prerequisite classes.

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