In my opinion, e-learning does have a place in Conflict Resolution Training but its not the panacea. At GoodSense we do offer a number of e-learning courses which help fill a gap and give someone a good initial grounding in conflict resolution.
To be honest it is a tool that can help with training but it’s not the magic bullet that will solve all of your training problems. However, that said it can help save money, time, resources and of course the environment – so it does have some genuine benefits.
I have pulled together a list of pros and cons of e-learning and listed them below, I have also borrowed some great points from the e-learning Guru, have a read and see what you think:
- You can get a lot of material background and guidance into documents which people can read in their own time. Materials that will help a delegate hit the ground running when they come on a blended solution training course. They already have background knowledge and this is far better than starting from scratch.
- It’s cost effective to use it.
- Learning times reduced, an average of 40 to 60 percent, as found by Brandon Hall (Web-based Training Cookbook, 1997, p. 108).
- Increased retention and application to the job averages an increase of 25 percent over traditional methods, according to an independent study by J.D. Fletcher (Multimedia Review, Spring 1991, pp.33-42).
- You can buy several different courses in bulk.
- It’s environmentally friendly.
- It comes within a learning management system.
- Proof of completion and certification, essential elements of training initiatives, can be automated. So the delegate can print off their own certificates if they so wish– again environmentally friendly.
- Flexibility – the delegate can choose their own place and time to train.
- The delegate can go into far more detail – by simply clicking on links in the copy.
- The end of each section often has a quiz to test the delegate’s knowledge and understanding.
- It saves on backfill costs (which are hidden and hardly ever measured within the public sector). This is when someone has to be paid where the other person goes off site to do the training.
- The delegate can stop in the middle of the training and pick it up when they want.
- Self-pacing for slow or quick learners reduces the stress of training and increases the delegates satisfaction.
- It can be more engaging as it using a variety of methods to capture the imagination of the delegate.
- Organisational mindset – there can be reluctance in some organisations to embrace new training methods.
- Not having the necessary IT kit that can do the job (our courses use flash for instance – so not having flash on your computer could cause problems).
- People not being organised or motivated to get the job completed when using e-learning they are doing it at their own pace, so it could take forever.
- It isn’t accredited and there is no industry standard.
- There is usually an up-front investment required, so budgets and cash flows often need to be negotiated to accommodate this.
- Technology skill levels of the learners – if they can’t use a computer this will cause the trainer real issues.
- Portability of training has become a strength of e-learning with the proliferation of network linking points, notebook computers, PDAs, and mobile phones, but still does not rival that of printed workbooks or reference material.
- Reduced social and cultural interaction can be a drawback. The impersonality, suppression of communication mechanisms such as body language, and elimination of peer-to-peer learning that are part of this potential disadvantage are lessening with advances in communications technologies.
- You can’t really learn self defence techniques using a computer. Practical application is far better in my opinion.
If e-learning is used in a blended approach, it will prepare the student by building up their general knowledge and guidance around the subject. If the delegate understands the statistics and industry issues etc, we can then take them through much more advanced strategies. This will give them a much higher level of training and give the employer a higher skilled individual.