What is the difference between Face to Face Group Training vs Online Group Training.  They both have their pros and cons.

I’m not debating either. I am however giving a first-hand account of the actual differences I have experienced for both face to face group training and online group training.

Face to Face Group Training

Classroom style training is a great way to interact with your students/delegates, its more personal.  You can see your students/delegates.  You can gauge by body language, facial expressions whether a person is interested, bored, lost and not really following. Its an opportunity for the trainer/lecturer to give more personal attention to an individual. You can compliment the students/delegates who grasp concepts quicker which means less focus on them.  It frees up your time to better manage the days lecture content and breaks.

You can also suitably deal with a very shy person with little fuss; or the person who knows everything.  Both of these can be dealt with in a break. In a face to face scenario the student/delegate has the opportunity to approach you or vice-versa during a break or after the training/lecture.  There are many ways these challenges can be resolved.

Group On-line Training or e-Learning

Its super convenient, you can stay in your pj bottoms, track pants, shorts, pretty much anything; no-one can see (unless you forget to turn off the video before standing up). You don’t have to get up as early, there’s no travel time. Coffee (or tea) is on tap all the time or anytime. This is a boon for disabled employees.

There are also challenges with group on-line learning.  Technology and connectivity can be problematic.  The use of an online platform ie. Zoom, Microsoft Teams (among others) where the trainer is required to share their screen; the trainer cannot (cannot easily) see the attendees. You cannot see the students/delegates body language or facial expressions that may give an indication of their skill, or proficiency.  Are they managing to keep up, do they understood what’s being asked.

In an online scenario this is not always possible even if you made the offer to the group.  A big factor is the working from home. They no longer have access to the person sitting next to or near them, meet in the pause area etc. They might have had a rough week, feel stressed, any number of reasons.

The Sound of the Voice

In my own personal experience where you cannot easily see the students/delegates, its necessary to apply other skills.  Listening to the sound of the your students/delegates voice is key.  The sound of their voice tells you a lot. Are they shy, nervous, tense, hesitant, confident.  Instead of making a useless assumption, ask the person a question ie. if they sound hesitant; ask them if there was any part of the topic that you need to recap, or was unclear. If you listen carefully you’ll quickly begin to pickup on those subtle sounds.

Importantly, you also have to listen to the sound of your own voice. The sound may affect other people’s impressions of you even more than what you say. The sound of your voice strongly influences how you are perceived. The sound of your voice matters twice as much as the content of the message. You want to gain the confidence of the group, that they hear your passion knowledge and presence.

What are your thoughts? Do leave a comment!

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