Learning in the ClassroomElectronic delivery of (well-designed) training has certainly been a boon to employees who want to be able to schedule their sessions flexibly. For companies, e-learning has been a big help with cost control. What e-learning hasn't done is make training in the classroom obsolete.
This thought went through my mind most recently as I was reading an article about language study. Writing in the New York Times, Jane L. Levere reviewed the growing number of options language learners have for electronically assisted study. After describing an array of possibilities, Levere notes:
For those who have the time, a traditional classroom setting, with a teacher who can provide individual attention, is often the best way to learn a language.Levere goes on to cite advice from Mike Ledgerwood, director of the language learning and research center at the State University of New York at Stony Brook:
Classroom courses are preferable for beginners who are serious about learning a language... "CD-ROM and technology-based courses work better if someone has had exposure" to languages previously ... [Ledgerwood said].I take these comments as useful reminders of the importance of keeping training effectiveness not simply convenience and cost in mind when deciding on the best setting for a particular training effort. If you really want your training to meet its objectives which often include ancillary team-building and networking among employees bringing participants together in the classroom may be the best way of getting maximum ROI. As with any other business decision, realistic assessment of all benefits and costs is the only way to reach a sound decision.