With our new, online presentation skills training around the corner, I’m going to lay my cards on the table here and admit that I believe live training is the best option here, because it’s often more fun and more interactive. (Yes, I know, there’s a lot of live training that’s neither of those things, but let’s pretend we’re talking about good training! ;) )
So why would we spend hundreds (and hundreds!) of hours creating an online alternative. Here are some of the pros- and cons- as we see them for our online presentations training, in no particular order…
So, what’s wrong?
The obvious starting point is that it’s not as interactive. If something’s bothering you or is particularly interesting, you can’t just let the trainer know. Any good trainer will have more material to help you at that point. We use a whole range off tools when that happens, including (usually) having a more or less a full extra day’s training up our sleeve!). It’s harder for an online trainer to do this.
What have we done about it? We’ve provided more content than you could need on any given part of the course, so that if something isn’t ringing true with you, you can find a different way of looking at it. Obviously that can’t be 100% true because if it was it would mean that most of the content was redundant: it isn’t! What we’ve done, however, is give ‘overlapping’ explanations so that you get more/different information each time we go over something but with sufficient overlap for you to go back and ‘get’ whatever is bothering you.
The second obvious problem for all online training for non-IT skills like presenting is that there’s no chance to practice and get feedback. Guilty, there isn’t.
What have we done about it? Well the first thing to remember is that on your typical face-to-face presentation skills training course this is a very inefficient way of learning anything anyway! You should be getting far, far more information than you can possibly assimilate and integrate into a presentation you develop ‘on the day’. Whatever the opposite of a ‘false economy’ is, this is it.
We’ve provided case studies and videos to look at – you can learn from watching other people more often than from just ‘having a go’ yourself.
It’s not as much fun because there are no other people around. Errrr… Yes…. but unless you want to pay us to come around to your office or home there’s not much we can do.
Well actually there is. Pretty soon we’ll be adding interactive sessions to the mix, where you can meet online with other presentation genius trainees… but not quite yet, sorry!
And what’s right?
The big turn on is that it’s more convenient. You don’t have to be in a certain place at a certain time – it’s done at your computer when you want to do it.
We strongly suggest wearing headphones if you’re in a public space though :)
Self-pacing is handy, too. There’s a useful corollary of the first point – it means that you can stop and start at any point when you need to do so… not just for convenience but to give your brain time to ‘get’ something, or assimilate the big idea you’ve just been given (trust me, each page, more or less, has at least one big idea). Unlike live training there’s no risk of your brain getting flooded!
Reference – always reference. It’s not uncommon for us to run training for people and be told “This is going to be really handy when I give the presentation to the board in X months…” or something similar. The problem, of course, is that for something like this if you don’t practice it you risk losing it. Unless you can get a magically ever-green online revision of the lesson simply by replaying it, of course!
Okay, I know there’s more to it than that, but this is a starting point…. what’s your take on the pros-andc-cons of online training?