Procurement Training – Webinar or Classroom?

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 teams, with as much learning observation and interaction with others as possible
  • 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