Have you ever hit a stumbling block whilst working through a self-paced online course? Maybe you’ve been working through the instructions and guidelines and then suddenly, something just doesn’t look right. Did you miss a step somewhere? What will happen if you go back to previous steps to try and figure out the problem? Will you lose the work you have completed so far?
Or maybe you are just curious to find out what happens if you click a certain button that’s not featured in the pre-planned training course?
My name is Ricky Parkash. I am a qualified accountant and have been a consultant and trainer of finance systems for over 15 years, including SAP, IBM Cognos and Anaplan. I have a particularly keen interest in developing simple and clear methods to deliver complex scenarios to training delegates that attend my classroom based courses.
The purpose of this blog is to provide food for thought to anyone considering an online course versus a classroom based training course on the same subject.
Training and learning goes back centuries and comprises of a pupil having a teacher, master, mentor or a guide telling, explaining and showing how something is done and providing immediate feedback when it’s the students turn.
When it comes to learning a new finance system, classroom training has this same compound effect, with the trainer having the ability to assess the delegate in real time. Where online training may have the advantages of availability, it lacks the interaction, focus and most importantly eliminates the ‘human touch’.
I’ve spent many times in a classroom ‘watching the penny drop’ with a delegate when something is explained. It gives me great satisfaction to see a delegate who doesn’t know anything about the new finance system on the morning of day one, go on to build a multi-dimensional use case model by the afternoon of day three. To me, this is just further evidence of the speed at which learning can take place in the classroom.
As we all know, the goal of training is to educate the delegate, enabling them to perform their role and subsequently enhance their career. Classroom training provides a safe space, where delegates won’t feel intimidated by mistakes or lack of knowledge. When a delegate leaves a classroom course to return to work after passing the accreditation exam, it is with pride that he or she delivers the news to their colleagues and employer. They haven’t spent a few lonely days fixed to their computer screens whilst working independently through an online course, so they usually return to the office with a spring in their step and a new certification!
Classroom training can also be fun! If the trainer has a string of jokes, acronyms, memory aides or amusing war stories, this can all add to having a longer term understanding of the topic at hand. For example, I often liken the process of loading data into a multi-dimensional module to playing 3D Battleships; it requires all the co-ordinates to fire a numeric or text value in the correct cell. And all accountants will recognise their difficulty in tearing themselves away from spreadsheets and that’s supported by the fitting alternative description for the Institute of Chartered Accountants In England and Wales (ICAEW); the Institute of Calculator Addicts and Excel Worshipers.
To summarise my thoughts on why classroom training is more productive and delivers better all round results:
Unlike online self-paced courses, classroom courses won’t stop halfway through. The ultimate objective is to wave a congratulatory goodbye to delegates at the end of the course whilst handing them their certificate of completion. There are no distractions (the day job being the most common!) and delegates don’t need to worry about time management whilst in attendance. Instead they can focus fully on the task at hand.
Ample opportunity is provided for each delegate to build and rebuild or test a changed scenario with verification from the instructor on the merits of an alternative option. And if you’ve nailed it before the others on the course, you might even have time for a quick coffee before moving onto the next challenge.
Studies show that through a continuous flow of learning, delegates retain and apply their new knowledge much quicker than a ‘stop-start’ experience.
Even the instructor can benefit here!! Sharing experiences amongst the group, tips and tricks, positive or indeed negative experiences all leads to a richer overall experience. Plus of course, it’s yet another excellent opportunity to build your network of like minded peers.
Learn more about our training courses and book yourself onto our Introduction to Model Building Course or our Intermediate Model Building Course today!