While the pandemic has generalized working from home, it has also greatly influenced the field of online training. One year after the launch of the government assistance program, we look back at the main online training methods.

 

“Problems are only opportunities in work Clothes”.

– Henry J. Kaiser, American Industrialist.

 

In early April 2020, from the first weeks of the fight against the spread of the pandemic, the Government of Quebec set up an assistance program for businesses. This PACME – French acronym for the Concerted Actions Program for the Maintenance of Employment – released an initial envelope of one hundred million dollars, which was quickly enlarged as it was requested. The key to such success? It was to offer companies to cover training costs.

 

Is the training just beneficial to the employee?

 

Undeniably considered essential, internal employee training was too often still a perilous equation between the benefits it can provide and the costs it generates. A year later, the results are clear: by facilitating their access to training, Quebec companies seized the opportunity and, following the precepts of John Rockefeller, “tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity”.

 

If government assistance has since come to an end, it is still necessary to learn a major lesson and maintain good practices: as we know, continuing training for employees brings a major productivity gain for a company and this even in the short term. Indeed, in his article on “The possible effects of training on productivity”, Amélie Bernier, professor of industrial relations, analyzed that “a 10% increase in formal training expenditure per employee would lead to a 0.6% increase in productivity in the same year“.* According to the same study, this gain would be tripled the following year.

 

But how do you find your way among the training offers?

 

We had already addressed the question a few years ago, but the evolutions linked to the pandemic and to technological advances justify to ask it again, albeit differently: which online training methods should I choose to effectively meet my needs?

 

To answer it, I focused on three major types of online training and highlighted the pros and cons. However, this involves choices to make. Therefore, I did not choose the self-study modes, such as video capsules, because this training mode has advantages and disadvantages that are too specific in relation to the subject covered and the viewing context. It is nevertheless certain that this mode of training can be completely complementary to training followed directly with a trainer.

 

The webinar: a home conference.

 

What is it? Contraction of web and seminar, this very broad term encompasses all forms of online meetings, either as part of a collaborative work or for the purpose of transmitting information.

 

How does it work? Attending a webinar training therefore consists of choosing a training course from a range of seminars offered by the organizer. It is therefore the latter who sets the date and content and conducts the training to a generally large audience and composed of participants often from different backgrounds or companies.

 

What are the benefits?

  • Clear themes. An effective webinar fills a need large enough to be shared by a wide range of people. The participant can therefore be assured that the themes addressed will be clearly announced upstream of the training.
  • Stronger interactivity than face-to-face. This is the whole virtual paradox: event specialists report that the panel of participants experiences more interactions with the speaker when they have a virtual chat tool than when they must speak in public.

 

What disadvantages can you expect?

  • Themes that are too broad. Designed to be followed by a large audience, the themes of the webinars easily tend to remain on the surface of a subject and not address the specific characteristics of each participant.
  • Imposed schedules. The webinar organizer sets the date and time for the training and, in the event of the unforeseen, there is usually no recourse available.

 

New employee, new software? The essential personalized training.

 

What is it?The webinar’s little sister, personalized training stands out for its “tailor-made” nature. This training, usually in small groups, is designed to meet the specific needs of participants.

 

How does it work? Personalized training is generally in the form of a training “menu”, from which you can build your training plan by selecting tailor-made modules. Depending on the trainer, the personalization of the training can be wide. For example, at PRIM Logix, we like to offer participants an experience that is as close as possible to their needs, by adopting a complete customization of the modules. A temporary placement and recruitment software like PRIM Logix offers a lot of features and our training courses are built to meet the needs of our customers.

 

What are the benefits?

  • Tailor-made training. Personalized training is the best way to meet specific needs, by first developing a training plan.
  • A trainer available. Whether individual or in a small group, personalized training facilitates exchanges with the trainer, who can more easily answer questions of cases or resume an explanation.
  • A controlled rhythm. Very often, if the training is personalized in its content, it is also in its rhythm. A major advantage when, for example, when the question-and-answer session goes beyond the framework.

 

What disadvantages can you expect?

  • Longer training. To be fully effective, a training plan includes several hours of training and, overall, will take up more hours than a webinar.
  • Groups of unbalanced levels. While the webinar is generally aimed at a particular type of audience (“any level” or “advanced” for example), personalized training within a company tends to bring together participants whose learning curve is not. the same. Therefore, while one will feel that the explanations are going way too fast, the other participant will on the contrary find that the pace is not suited to their skills.

 

Remote-controlled practice: the benefits of the Zeigarnik effect.

 

What is it? Almost a hundred years ago, Russian psychologist Bulma Zeigarnik gave her name to an effect well known by followers of personal development. Her thesis indicates, in a simplified way, that the fact of being personally involved in the accomplishment of a task creates a motivation of its own which will not be satisfied until the task in question is completed. It is from this observation that modern theories of learning by doing have developed, which highlight that a user learns better if he is actively involved in learning rather than staying in a passive situation. In other words, it is by forging that one learns best to forge.

 

How does it work? Unlike personalized training, guided practice starts from the experience of the participant, as well as his practices, which the trainer will observe, analyze, and comment on. If necessary, he will be able to validate uses or propose corrections, or even give tips to simplify the task as it was carried out.

 

What are the benefits?

  • As close as possible to “tailor-made”. Remote-controlled practice is the closest thing to tailor-made training. Not only is it a question of responding to a specific need, but it is the participant himself who will present this need to the trainer, who can then provide the most appropriate advice and remedies.
  • A feeling of satisfaction and undeniable efficiency. Based on the principle that learning by doing is effective for a wide level of public, the remote-controlled practice knows a high level of satisfaction.
  • A personalized rhythm, mastered themes. In the case of remote-controlled practice, it is the participant who sets the pace of progression, depending on their successes and pitfalls.

 

What disadvantages can you expect?

  • More demanding training for the participant. By being both actor and recipient of the training, the participant mobilizes more concentration.
  • A type of training incompatible with new employees. Indeed, to improve its practices, the new employee must be given the opportunity to have practiced.

 

 

In conclusion: evolving needs, complementary modes

 

Depending on whether they are a new employee in the process of apprenticeship or an experienced user seeking improvements in their practices, the needs of the participant evolve with their career in the company. It is therefore necessary that it offers him the training adapted to the situation in which he finds himself.

 

Furthermore, learning capacities are not homogeneous within a team. Discussing training methods within the team and with the trainer is a good way to ensure that each participant can find optimal satisfaction in following a training that is suitable for them.

 

Personalized training, à la carte or according to pre-established modules, but also training by remote-controlled practices and soon, dedicated webinars: PRIM Logix offers a wide range of training to its users. Contact PRIM Logix’ support to find out more.

*Bernier, A. (2014). Les effets possibles de la formation sur la productivité : l’apport de données longitudinales. Relations industrielles / Industrial Relations, 69 (2), 366–387.

 


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