Digital versus in-person training
So what does the future of learning and development hold for us? Dr Coles believes it’ll likely be a blended version that includes both virtual and physical classes. Each medium has its merits and are good for different things. Digital learning is quick, easily accessible, and can offer “informational means of learning and an essential transfer of functional skills”.
“The advantage if you’re learning something tools-based or process-based is that you can go it over and over and over again in your own way and speed, which is great,” he said about learning skills online. “But I think there needs to be better design of content. Sometimes it’s horrifying, so we really need to think about the course design.”
But there’s a time and place for in-person training. For example, the training of individuals involved in complex decision making or change management strategies. These sessions aim to help individuals develop ‘judgement-based’ skills, which means their ability to think outside the box, challenge the status quo and come up with creative ideas.
“Judgement based skills require interaction,” he said. “The best way is if we’re sitting in a room talking to each other.” Because it requires a keen understanding and psychology of managing other people – and most times that can only be learned through organic, interactive and situational circumstances. Currently, digital learning is lacking in that social element but the industry is working on ways to enable tech-based solutions, including the use of avatars or robotics.