Are online trainings effective, and can they, therefore, be an alternative to classroom training? We think: Yes! We have made very good experiences with online trainings. But only if certain points are observed and implemented.
If travel or classroom training is out of the question, then the willingness to think about online training is much greater. Classroom training is usually preferred and for good reason: you are – like the other participants – deliberately taken out of your everyday environment. One is together as a “learning group” in a special situation, hopefully hardly distracted by everyday life and geared towards learning from the trainer and partly also from the questions and experiences of the other participants.
Can this be transferred to the situation of online training? Our experiences show that this is very well possible, but that it has to be wanted, planned and controlled.
Online trainings also need prioritized time and cannot be pushed into an overcrowded day somewhere in between. All participants must, therefore, reserve the time including preparation. Also, spatially a pleasant and good learning situation must be created.
Disturbances and distractions must be avoided. So, all other programs on the computer should be closed. This applies in particular to programs for emails, chats and other messages. The participant should neither be distracted from outside nor expose himself to the temptation of distraction.
Periods of breaks should be observed and actually used for relaxation. Good food during breaks – without any email stress – is very helpful.
During the trainings we pay attention to the interaction with all participants. We always communicate with everyone, actively ask about everyday experiences and involve everyone. Questions are welcome. Exercises are also carried out successfully by ensuring the right mix of individual and group work – always depending on the current learning situation. If the interruptions become too frequent and disturb the flow of learning, we can always “park” individual topics.
A great advantage of online training is that it is easier to split them up. Training courses lasting several days can sometimes be violent “pressure refueling in one piece”. On the other hand, online courses can be easily divided into several half-day online seminars. These must then have priority over other dates. Otherwise, scheduling can be at least as difficult as for present time training.
Online trainings are very effective if we plan and conduct them correctly. What we value in classroom training can also be used in a modified form to enhance online training. Reflection and above all experience in online interaction are key factors here.