Is classroom training dead?

090617-N-9610C-029If you listen to the chatter in online learning and development communities, it would seem that workplace classroom training is a thing of the past. It’s usefulness has increasingly diminished with the widespread availability of informal, social, and ad hoc learning opportunities. As “learning professionals,” we talk about scaffolding experiences, mentoring programs, and ways to embrace informal learning in the workplace.

At our professional conferences, there are virtually no sessions on how to be a better in-room learning facilitator, or how to craft more effective classroom activities for the workplace. I don’t know if such sessions aren’t accepted by conference organizers or simply not proposed. And yet when I talk with people at those conferences, many of them sheepishly admit their predominant training methods remain classroom and live online training.

Perhaps more interesting is that a recent survey of employees indicated a strong preference for live classroom training. Most cited a need to escape the distractions of the busy workplace. Many also highlighted the social activities connected with classrooms: meeting colleagues and making new connections. Others said they appreciate meeting instructors, many of whom are experts in their respective fields.

Now I’m not suggesting a return to the practice of using classroom training as the response to every performance gap. I remain firmly committed to the tenets of the 70:20:10 framework. But I do wonder if we’ve spent too much time focusing on how to revolutionize our approach to meeting those gaps and not enough time on demonstrating how to evolve traditional workplace approaches into something more effective and longer lasting.

What do you think? Should classroom training be eliminated in the workplace, or is there a time and place when it’s perfectly appropriate? How can we help our colleagues make those classroom activities more effective? Is there a way to envision an “ideal” future state and architect a plan to evolve current state to get there? Join #Chat2lrn this Thursday at 08.00PDT/11.00EDT/16.00BST and let’s chat about it!

Posted by chat2lrn crew member Tom Spiglanin

3 thoughts on “Is classroom training dead?

  1. Pingback: Is classroom training dead? | Learning | Scoop...

  2. Classroom learning is certainly not dead, but ensuring that the information learnt in the classroom is then applied to the workplace is the difficult task, which is possibly why such a time consuming and resource heavy learning method has been slightly abandoned. People enjoy time away from their desk and being ‘talked to’ by an expert, but the evidence suggests that they see it literally as time away from the desk, rather than a valid learning opportunity which can then be applied in the workplace. Learning done on the job, however, has an immediate application. I also think people see traditional classroom style as cheesy, full of PowerPoint, and at times, patronising. I would love to know how to liven it up a bit, and have a blended approach which includes work based learning which is completed after the classroom interaction.

  3. Pingback: Wake Up Your Classroom Training – The New Normal Workplace

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