In this digital age, if you need to know how to change a plug, fix a toilet, braid your child’s hair in a French plait then Youtube is usually your first port of call and there will no doubt be someone there who is more than happy to show you just how to do it. With everything now going online, has the time for face-to-face HR training passed?

Online training certainly has a number of advantages, time, cost and the ability to do it whenever and wherever being just some of them, however, don’t underestimate the power and effectiveness of human interaction. So, what are the benefits of face-to-face training?

Here’s just some of the reasons for you to consider why face-to-face HR training is still important to your business:

1. Engagement and focus – Virtual training is a great way of condensing a lot of information into a small time period. This is because you have the facility to pause, rewind and replay; however, it relies heavily on the self-discipline of the learner to remain focused and avoid distractions.

By virtue of the fact most online training can be done anywhere and at any time, there may be a tendency to cram it into an already busy schedule or indeed multi-task during the course, limiting the effectiveness of the learning which may mean that it can take longer to sink in, if at all.

Face-to-face training happens at a particular time, in a particular place, away from distractions and interruptions and a great trainer delivering face to face training will have plenty of techniques in their toolkit to ensure you stay attentive, engaged and focused. Everyone learns in a different way and so a skilled trainer will be able to adapt their training to suit their audience so that the time away from the office is really useful and will add lots of value when they return.

2. Bespoke – You can target the content with face-to-face training in a way that you can’t achieve in quite the same way with online training and other forms of pre-written face to face training, which is often pre-recorded or a ‘roll-out’ programme. Many training providers, like us here at MAD-HR, offer bespoke training to ensure the learner learns exactly what they need to learn in the way that they prefer to learn, enabling a greater return on the investment. There is nothing more demotivating than turning up to a training session thinking that you will walk away with the skills and knowledge to help you in a particular area, only to realise that the really important stuff was covered in the last 20 minutes of the session and you have taken a whole day out of your busy diary, time which you can never get back.

3. Mis-communication and Misinterpretation – It is much more likely that information can be misinterpreted or miscommunicated through virtual training. If you are unsure of the meaning of something or you need to clarify your understanding or you want to explore a concept in more detail, this is achieved much more easily through face-to-face sessions than through online programmes.

This can often be a way to tap into the expertise of the trainer and enable the learner to seek their advice on how to tackle the issue.

4. Learning style – Every person is different and so people learn, absorb and process information in different ways. For some, online learning has revolutionised their ability to make the most out of training, in the same way that face-to-face training will only ever cut it for others.

5. Networking and relationship building – If face-to-face training is available to different companies, there is a great opportunity to make some new contacts and find out what is happening in other organisations.

Unlike other networking events where you have a fleeting 60 seconds to make a great impression, training can enable you to get to know more about other organisations and build those all-important relationships. Many people go on a course to fix an issue or solve a problem and because it is face-to-face with others there is often a chance to learn from their experiences.

In conclusion, whilst virtual learning is the shiny new thing, face-to-face HR training still has a wealth of benefits which should not be overlooked. Whilst online provisions may at first look like a cost-effective, time-efficient method of upskilling your team, this may not always be the case.

A combination of the two can create great learner opportunities and deliver a greater return on your investment.

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