Does E-learning really do what it promises, and does it help to impart the essential skills of tomorrow? Or is it using computers instead of books’ or ‘what employers do when they don’t want to pay for proper training’? As we move more into a world of technology and robots, as humans shouldn’t we be learning how to be human? Surely humans can only do that in a human way – face to face!

In one of our experiential workshops recently we had been looking at 3rd generation behaviour (honest and assertive) we had shown some scenarios with business actors demonstrating the passive, aggressive and passive aggressive behaviours and the audience were really getting it.

Afterwards a woman came up to me to say that it had really touched a chord with her. She realised she was teaching her 5 year old daughter to be subservient and passive and wanted advice on how to help her know her own value and stand up for herself. Not only was she looking to change her behaviour at work, she wanted to make real behavioural changes in her life that would be passed down to her daughter. This sort of life changing light bulb moment can only happen in a face-to-face workshop, which is experiential and immersive.

E -learning is more and more popular, and I know this is controversial but in y opinion it’s not really learning and it doesn’t really work. Just because its modern and uses technology doesn’t make it effective, I am being a bit flippant but the point I am making is e -learning is good at some things and rubbish at others.

I know I am not an unbiased observer. I’m a specialist in experiential, interactive and immersive training using drama and business actors and I use this approach both because it my passion and because I have seen it work. I would be just as happy and passionate writing an article called ‘why traditional talk and chalk classroom learning is a total waste of time’ too.

What is learning?
We all have access to any amount of information on any given subject at our fingertips via the Internet, Information isn’t learning though is it? Like the web, e -learning is great for learning about things, but not to learn to do things.
“What about all the advantages of eLearning? It’s cheap right? Yes, so is the watch I bought on a beach in Gambia and that doesn’t work either.”

Think about driving – yes, the theory test is useful, but there is no substitute for lessons. Learning any skill whether it be driving, speaking French or leadership skills, takes real-world practice and bespoke human support. E -learning often misses these two critical points. However, I would add that the growing use of video, customer support and real-time “synchronous” eLearning is making this more effective – the irony is, this is making it more effective by making it more like our face to face interactive experiential training!

Lets be Human
Being able to build rapport with participants, connect with them emotionally, pick up on subtle nuances of communication and respond appropriately is the very essence of education. I believe passionately that training and coaching are not about getting something from one head to another, but are an intimate dance that transforms both parties. We are not computers and if we treat people as such they will rightly resist and rebel.