Covid, the global trend of digitization and new communication tools, such as Teams and Zoom, are transforming the way in which corporate training is designed & delivered. Procurement training is no exception and over the past 18 months, with travel restricted, for synchronous learning, webinars have become the common solution.
So, what happens next? In the post-covid world a key question for procurement professionals is “Are instructor-led webinars effective or should I return to classroom workshops?”
The answer looks pretty straightforward. With a webinar, you can learn without taking a plane or staying overnight in an hotel and so learn without spending a great deal of time & money. Given this scenario, offline learning looks the least attractive option.
However, offline classroom-based learning, with fewer distractions meaning learners are more focussed and attentive, have more time to learn and practice than in a webinar. The key word is “practice”. The offline classroom environment is ideal for learning–by-doing; something that is much more difficult to replicate online.
So, the answer to the previous question is to develop a blended learning solution that treats online & offline as a complimentary mix. As webinars and classroom-based learning serve completely different purposes you don’t want to get rid of either.
When developing a blended learning solution it’s important to understand the objectives of each training mode and to adopt a number of best practice principles for developing and delivering each training mode.
Webinars aim to provide a good introduction and grounding in a topic. The design and delivery of webinars should be based on the following Goldilocks principles:
- The webinar length should be not too short and not too long but just right
- The number of webinar attendees should be not too few and not too many but just right, and importantly,
- The material content should be not too heavy and not too light but just right
In contrast, classroom-based learning aims to provide an environment so participants can practice using a topic through learning-by-doing (experiential learning). The design and delivery of classroom-based training should be based on the following:
- Little, if any, show and tell – that’s where webinars fit in
- Working in competitive teams leading to significant improvement in procurement competency
- Use of case studies that accurately reflect real-world scenarios
- High level of challenge from a highly experienced tutor
- Time given for reflective observation & thinking about ways to improve
Following these key principles will enable you to design and deliver a blended synchronous training programme for your team.
In the next ADR insight, we will discuss how asynchronous learning can be part of your blended learning solution.
Robin Jackson – ADR International CEO