Online Training for Skill Development By Randall Olson

Editor's Note: This article points out a potential advantage of using online training to develop employee skills -- the possibility of allowing learners to self-pace their learning. It remains to be seen whether online training will actually be used by employees, whether the development costs justify its use, and whether potential benefits will actually be realized.

When the purpose of corporate training is to help employees reach a particular level of skill competence, online training is often a much better choice than traditional methods of training. Online training is an excellent means of providing convenient, assessment-driven training that enables workers to move at their own pace toward accomplishing stated training goals.

Employees often have very different entry-level skills. When faced with learning a new skill that needs to be applied on the job, some workers are likely to begin training with no prior knowledge, and others may already have advanced knowledge. When students with vastly different prerequisite skills are sitting side by side in instructor-led, fixed time frame classes, it presents unique challenges for both the learners and the instructor.

When instructors begin classes at a level appropriate for those who have no prerequisite knowledge regarding the skill, those who are more advanced tend to become bored and resentful. However, when instructors begin classes assuming prior knowledge that some of the students don’t have, those learners who are most in need of instruction will not be able to achieve the learning outcomes.

In such situations, many trainers adopt a mentality of teaching to the middle, which simply results in reducing instructional effectiveness for all participants. Teaching to the middle still leaves those with no entry-level skills behind, and still bores those students who are the most advanced.

With online learning, this problem disappears. Online training programs are typically designed to allow learners to progress through training modules at their own pace. Those with advanced skills can quickly demonstrate proficiency with the basic skills and can move to the parts of the instruction they really need. Those who require remediation can spend as much time as they need getting a strong foundation on which to build.

The best e-learning systems for corporate training applications allow training managers to control which classes learners are required to complete, as well as monitor student progress through training. This results in a win-win situation for corporate trainers and learners at all levels of skills. Employees will appreciate being able to move through skill development training at a comfortable pace, at convenient times.

With corporate training, what matters in the long run with employee skill development training is whether or not employees develop skills and are able to transfer the necessary skills from training settings to the workplace. Online training options can be the most efficient solution for providing employees with the skill training they need.

Randall Olson is a career and corporate training expert who specializes in online learning and certification testing at training at Mobile Technical Institute He also works with MTI Business Solutions, providing marketing, writing, and SEO consulting services to a wide variety of clients. Stop by regularly to learn more about the benefits of online learning and continuing education.

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