Peter Drucker was an amazing futurist who has the ability to foresee future with an incredible precision. This is what he said in 1997:
“Universities won’t survive. The future is outside the traditional campus, outside the traditional classroom. The distance learning is coming up fast.” Peter Drucker, June 16, 1997
I have been doing corporate executive training for a long time but never tried an online class. Being a big fan of Peter Drucker, his quote really touched me to the heart and I decided to give online training a try for a CFO coaching program that I have been developing for a long time.
I offered it as an online coaching program to my global network and soon we had 20 senior finance professionals enrolled from around the world including UAE, KSA, Pakistan, East Coast and West Coast in USA and we jump started the coaching with 90 minute weekly online sessions through GoToMeeting.
Frankly, I was not sure about the effectiveness of the online medium for executive coaching but now almost towards the end of the program we have realized some amazing results.
Here are the five reasons I believe online learning works better for executive education over the traditional classroom:
1. Convenience and Flexibility:
I never got a faster enrollment for my classroom trainings. The main drawback for most executives is to find time for training. To remain out of the office even for two days is a daunting challenge. With the online coaching program scheduled for 90-minute weekly calls on the weekends, it was no brainer and we got the quick enrollment. Everyone was able to participate in their pajamas from the convenience and comfort of their homes making the learning more relaxed, interesting and fun.
2. In depth Learning at Better Pace:
The coaching program I developed comprise of 12 modules to be covered in twelve 90-minute weekly sessions. That is equivalent to a 3-day (18 hour) training program. Usually in a 3-day long training session, the energy level starts to dwindle down from the second day afternoon and participants suffer from significant decline in their attention and concentration levels.
The same duration training program split into weekly online sessions was a huge productivity gain. We not only covered significantly more contents but with a higher quality of focus and attention. With the paced learning, the participants were able to test and research the topics at their own pace and convenience and digested the contents in a much better manner than in a 3-day high paced classroom learning environment.
3. Group Networking and Cross Learning:
As we progressed through the coaching sessions, the group developed more coherence and intimacy and started to share and learn ideas between themselves. A 12-week long association definitely worked better than a 3-day class for group dynamics to work in favor of participants. In addition, the quality and richness of the learning experience was significantly enhanced due to diversity of the group that comprised of senior finance professionals representing multiple industries from around the world.
4. Deeper Focus with Individual Freedom:
In an online learning environment, where the physical distractions are non-existent, everyone was bound to focus on the contents within their own privacy and personal freedom. A combination of screen sharing, audio/visual narration by the presenter, questions by the participants and chat/text messaging created a robust and high energy shared learning environment where everyone felt actively involved and in control without any anxiety.
5. Recording of Actual Sessions:
Finally, with the technology available we were able to record each session with full audio/visual features, chat logs and presentation screens. Participants were able to replay the sessions as many times as they wanted with the original quality and contents. If anybody missed a session, they really did not miss much as the complete recording of the session let them enjoy the same experience as the original one.
Have you tried online learning? Please share your experience below and let me know whether you prefer online learning over classroom.