One of TECHEAD’s core lines of business is training. Our instructors teach Adobe design software, HTML5 and mobile web development, jQuery, iBooks Author, and many other technology and design-related topics, so we know skills-transfer inside and out.
There has been an explosion of self-directed learning on subjects from Apple software development to zombie-killing app development, and everything in between. We think that learning how to tune your car via a web tutorial might be a great idea, but if you’re looking to learn skills that will have a positive impact on your day-rate, your annual salary, or your company’s revenue track, getting that training in real-time, from an expert instructor, is the best path to solid knowledge transfer.
Here are the 3 ways we see instructor-led training outstripping the self-directed version:
#1: Real-time interaction drives retention
Expert instructors will break up the skills they’re teaching into easily-shared chunks, with plenty of hands-on and group interaction. In real-time. With self-directed training, the students are only interacting with the material, not the instructor. If they have a question, they have to wait for an answer, which doesn’t really burn-in the skill being taught.
Here’s an example: a group of students is learning HTML5. One student has an idea they’d like to test out, using the newly-shared material. With the instructor, and the other students, in the session – in person or live online – they can test out that idea and get immediate feedback. Learning in that “blended” model of hands-on/instructor-led training can lead to a 30-40% higher retention level, according to a US Dept. of Labor-funded study.
#2: Storytelling potential
Storytelling is a powerful information-sharing tool. Crafting a story that puts the people you’re sharing it with in the storyline guarantees attention and retention. Sure, you can build a story that’s general enough that most people will be able to see themselves within it. But a customized storyline that’s built to connect directly with the people in the learning session will drive the information home.
An expert instructor can fold role-playing into his or her storytelling, and make that role-playing highly customized, too. By building a storyline guaranteed to grab the session’s attendees, and then literally casting those attendees in a role-play of part of the story, everyone in the room gets to internalize the material.
#3: Fast learners can help their fellow students
Self-directed learning runs a constant risk of what’s called “social surfing” – students who are fast on the up-take can get bored, and wander off into internet-land. That’s a risk in live, instructor-led training, too – but savvy teachers will keep the fast learners engaged and participating by having them work with others in the session who aren’t catching on quite as quickly.
This is where the old adage “see one, do one, teach one” comes into play, and where a savvy instructor is a real gift. Show the skill. Perform the skill. Teach the skill. Lather, rinse, repeat. All TECHEAD instructors fall into that “savvy” category, by the way.
Those are the 3 ways instructor-led training beats self-directed/canned learning, hands down.