Saturday, March 8, 2014

Training Sessions: Online vs In-Person

Like many of us, I found that the biggest difference between the online and in-person training was the flexibility. In the online training, I could choose which video I wanted to watch, pause and restart as necessary, or even leave a video in midstream and start another if I felt it wasn’t what I wanted after all. With the in-person training, I was locked into the session I had signed up for, even once I realized that it was going to be a bit less complicated than I’d hoped.

            On the other hand, the in-person training had the advantage of being in an environment where I was forced to focus. During the online training, I frequently caught myself wandering around the internet or my apartment when I was meant to be watching the video attentively. Being able to stop and start the video as I chose wasn’t always a benefit to my productivity either. But the in-person training forced me to curb my urge to multitask and pay more consistent attention. Also, our training session had two teachers, one leading the lecture, and the other wandering the room and checking on the progress of individual participants. That extra help is something that online training sessions can’t easily supply, especially when the second person can keep an eye on the computers from the back of the room, spot when someone is looking confused, and head over to them immediately.

              Another advantage of in-person training, but one that I haven’t actually had a chance to try, is the inclusion of group work. In-person training sessions could easily incorporate time for participants to work together on sections of a project and help each other with confusing or difficult tasks. Online training would have much more difficulty organizing group work, especially with the likelihood of uncooperative connections on the part of at least some participants.  Overall, I think both methods are useful, but in-person training might be best for students wanting to learn basic skills in a new area, while online training has more advantages for experienced students who have a good grasp of the basics and want to expand their skills in specific ways.

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