Synchronous Web-Based Training
Another type of web-based training in the workplace is called synchronous WBT, which is nearly identical to classroom training. However, in synchronous web-based training, students and instructors gather virtually to learn information and discuss topics rather than in the same classroom. There might be individual, self-paced work in synchronous training, but there will always be some form of interactive component where an instructor leads or facilitates a training session or discussion through an online medium, such as a webinar, GoToMeeting, Skype, or another company-specific program.
In addition to the standard benefits of classroom training, which include the ability to read body language, tailor topics to meet audience needs, face-to-face communication, and participant interaction, there are many benefits of synchronous WBT that a company might also experience.
- A company can train a large number of employees at a single time, thus eliminating the need to schedule multiple classroom sessions. This reduces the amount of preparation time on behalf of the instructor, and it also allows a company to release confidential or sensitive information to all employees at once without having to stagger sessions due to travel or scheduling constraints.
- A company saves money by reducing the number of classrooms or facilities needed to fulfill employee training and development requirements. Although a company must purchase a license to use a web-based training/meeting software, this is often less expensive than renting facilities for classroom training sessions.
An employee is able to reap the experiential benefits of adult learning theories, which include the ability to share past experiences and ask questions, while participating from the comfort of one’s own work environment.
Unfortunately, there are also drawbacks of synchronous WBT.
- An employee is limited in his or her ability to actively participate because of software limitations. It might be difficult for an employee to have a conversation without being able to view the participants firsthand. Furthermore, greater instances of misreading tone of voice and language might inhibit the training experience.
- A company must provide ample computer workstations and software suitable to run live webinars or training sessions. The company may also need to increase the number of IT support available during synchronous training sessions because all employees are not equally technologically savvy.
- A company is limited by the inability to schedule sessions where all employees can attend. Therefore, scheduling constraints and timing issues become problematic.
Regardless of the pros and cons of web-based training in the workplace, companies can find one form of WBT that suits their needs and maximizes the benefits and minimizes the experienced drawbacks.