The modern era has brought with it absurd notions that digital technology is always the best tool for the job, regardless of what challenge a company is facing. This has unfortunately translated over into the HR sector, too, where the prevailing consensus is that digital training initiatives are miraculously effective and the guaranteed way of the future. As a matter of fact, however, digital training initiatives often flounder early on for a myriad of reasons, and face-to-face training remains as important, if not more so, than ever before.
Here’s why you need to reconsider face-to-face training, and why it’s so crucially important to the long-term success of your business in an era defined by distant digital connections.
Humans learn best when learning face-to-face
It’s true that every individual learns different, with some excelling on certain learning platforms while struggling on others. It’s also a matter of fact, however, that most people learn best when learning face-to-face, regardless of how tech savvy they consider themselves to be. If you take some time to compare online to face-to-face training, you’ll see a number of characteristics of online training that are regularly floated as being better than traditional methods, but they’re actually hidden weaknesses.
Digital training exercises often laud themselves for being “available 24/7,” for instance, but the reality is that most human beings aren’t capable and certainly aren’t willing to be in a classroom at any hour of the day. We learn best in small, efficient increments, and struggle when we’re constantly forced into a state of adaptive reaction to new information. Recall how universities and college students focus on breaking classroom sessions apart with free time for travel, work, and leisure instead of forcing everyone to stay in a classroom all day like when they were younger, and you’ll understand how useless the claim of 24/7 learning really is.
So many things make face-to-face training more effective than its digital peer, starting with the fact that students and instructors alike can benefit from body language and more easily understandable tonal adjustments to one’s voice. Furthermore, face-to-face training initiatives are the hallmark of mentor-mentee systems, which research has demonstrated are excellent for imparting skills in workers.
It’s long past-time to embrace mentorships
Embracing mentorships is by far the most effective way to make the most advantageous use of face-to-face training. By sticking your new workers in the same room they’re not only learning from one another but actively bonding, too. It’s much harder for humans to forge meaningful connections with one another without an MBA strategy when they’re represented as digital avatars across a digital divide, rather than when they’re standing apart from one another as two equal flesh and blood beings.
Additionally, the importance of face-to-face mentoring can’t be dismissed unless you want to absorb the exuberant costs associated with digital training. Digital technology is expensive and frequently finds itself in need of replacement, whether we’re discussing hardware or software. Face-to-face training is more cost-effective, but it’s also more stable insofar as your real-life trainers won’t need to be replaced so often and at such a great cost like their digital counterparts.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that recent digital innovations have made face-to-face interactions obsolete. Human beings learn and work most effectively around one another, not when they’re forced into cramped digital environments that restrain their ability to communicate and effectively learn from one another. While many like to boast that we’re in the era of e-learning, more companies are beginning to revert to old-school face-to-face training because they realize how much more valuable it really is when it comes to delivering results.
Tanmoy is a senior consultant and a passionate speaker in the area of training and development. He has a dual MBA (Finance & Marketing) and an Electronics Engineering degree. He is married and currently lives in Toronto, Canada.