E-Learning has been all the rage lately, and – let’s be honest – we’ve done our part with the launch of ReqIF.academy. We took all our knowledge of ReqIF and started to put it on-line, mostly free. And this is great for those who need this knowledge, because of the ease of use and availability.
But E-Learning did not put face-to-face training out of business, and for good reasons. There are situations where having a real group of people in one room together is superior. But the situation is not clear cut. We’d argue that face-to-face and on-line training can be complementary. But to get the most out of what’s available, it is important to understand the trade-off.
In fact, because they are complementary, we started to offer face-to-face trainings on a regular basis (the next ReqIF training on April 28, serving all of Europe). Such a training provides a great foundation for working with our on-line-library.
So why exactly should you attend a face-to-face training, if there is a comprehensive on-line-library? Here are seven reasons:
1. No Better Way for Getting Started
If you want to learn something completely new, where do you start? Your web search produces lots of hits, but you barely understand anything, due to the excessive use of technical terms? Many subjects can be overwhelming in the beginning. This is where an interactive face-to-face training can tear down the initial barriers. Every question is allowed, and a good instructor ensures that no one is left behind.
2. Engagement and Focus
Even the most engaging video is… well, sitting back and watching. Even if there are exercises or other interactive elements, it’s too easy to get distracted or to multi-task. Just being in a room with other people creates a discipline that is hard to achieve alone. Combine this with group exercises or engaged discussions in the classroom. Even the best on-line courses cannot reach out of the screen.
3. Making Sure that YOUR Questions are Answered
Did you ever look for the answer in an FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) and did not find it? Or worse, you found the answer, and it did not make sense? Assuming that you have a good instructor, you will get your questions answered. All of them. And a good teacher will find the answer for you, if necessary.
Related to this, a good workshop will be tailored to the needs of the participants. In fact, in our workshops, we leave some room for focusing in-depth on a topic of the participants’ choice. And smart participants take advantage of this all the way!
4. 1-on-1 with the Instructor
Assuming that the size of the class is kept in check, the instructor should find for every participant, if the need arises. Even the best on-line course cannot cover all eventualities to provide all the necessary background information, or explain a concept from yet a different angle. A good instructor spends the coffee break with a single attendee to clear up a topic, or to go deeper then the rest of the class is interested in.
5. Nothing Beats Networking
Networking is everywhere in business today more so than ever. Yes, there is on-line networking at LinkedIn, or on discussion forums. But it is just not as effective as real life human interaction. From handshake to body language, to the ability to quickly draw something on a flipchart (or napkin): It’s not the same. This is a huge bonus in face-to-face workshops, where you can network with the trainer and the other participants alike.
6. Discuss all the Subtleties
Did we just mention discussions? Discussions allow a depth that may otherwise not be possible. Better, discussions provide alternative viewpoints – some of which you may not yet have considered. Just the process of talking through a problem helps understand it. The power of discussion must not be underestimated and is hard to provide on-line.
7. Bonus: Increase the Value of the On-Line Material
Sometimes, the face-to-face workshop is integrated with an on-line learning system. If so, then this is advantageous for all involved: Participants can take advantage of the on-line material with a head-start, and the instructor can improve the on-line material, based on the interaction with the class.
PS: Visit or ReqIF training classes, or invite us for an in-house training, to get a quick start on ReqIF and requirements exchange. Participants will get a 3-months premium membership with their training, which provides access to valuable software and lots of additional material.
Photo: Margarida CSilva / Unsplash