Study: Corporate classroom training becoming obsolete

Classroom training in corporations is expected to decline by 60 percent in 2003 as more than half of corporate training will be conducted via electronic means. These were among the findings of the Learning Xchange study conducted by the Corporate University Xchange, said Victor Magdaraog, vice president at SGV-Development Dimensions International.

In his presentation during the Human Resources in the New Economy Workplace Forum, Magdaraog said electronic learning has been overtaking traditional classroom training in the corporate setting.

The reason for this, he said, is that e-learning is more effective and deployable. "Based on a study conducted by the Training Magazine, e-learning poses 50 to 60 percent better consistency of learning than instructor-assisted training. It also showed 25 to 60 percent increased retention rate compared to classroom instruction."

Another study conducted by DDI indicated that there is no significant difference in skill proficiency between subjects exposed to technology learning and to those subjected to classroom training; although training preferences vary from topic to topic.

A focus groups' delivery platform preference showed that topics on diversity, coaching, and conflict-handling were better learned through classroom interaction; while performance planning, time management, and management skills were better learned through self-study with the use of e-courses.

Magdaraog said the shift towards e-learning is inevitable due to the globalization of business, growth of the Internet, the increase in demand for knowledge workers, the rise of the knowledge-based economy, and the pressure to reduce training costs. On the other hand, he said, there is market resistance due to learner preferences, learner motivation and attention, and access to resource centers and computers.

"Unless Human Resource (HR) trainers realize the value of e-learning -- adopt these new tools, and implement them in their organizations -- their company will be left out, and have a hard time catching up and competing," Magdaraog said.

Compared to classroom training, which is expert-centered and event-driven, Magdaraog said e-courses are learner-focused and continuous. This allows students more control in the learning process because they can focus on specific areas and on topics they only consider relevant and important at a pace they prefer. With this, learning becomes targeted and intentional too since the learners assume the active role in the entire process.

E-courses are also more pervasive in scope compared to the limited coverage of classroom courses. "E-courses do not set prerequisites, unlike classroom courses; and offer the fundamentals of the subject matter, making learning easier for those who lack background information," he said.

Learning through e-courses also offers convenience because it allows learning on demand and not as scheduled. This way, no time is wasted in going from one classroom to the next.

Learning through e-courses also offers convenience. "The virtual classroom offers the best retention for students because they can choose the place and time that they can be most comfortable and productive." he said.

"Sustaining interest and keeping the students motivated are very easy to achieve using e-courses since different topics are hyperlinked. The variety of topics available in e-courses breaks the learning monotony and makes every learning encounter fruitful and exciting," Magdaraog said.

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