Different learning modes in use today
The competition these days is so high, especially in the new age and emerging industries, that we need to constantly keep learning. For students to improve chances of a good job, and for working professionals to switch or enhance career, job-oriented skill based training courses are invariably necessary.
But the challenge comes up in terms of sparing time for a daily routine of travelling and attending physical classrooms, in addition to regular academics or job. More so if we are in any of the big cities. The problem is so big that many of us never succeed in taking up a good course, even when we know it could really help us.
If you have decided what to learn, you can seek the best learning mode that is suited to you – physical classroom, virtual/live classroom, elearning/self-learning or a combination of these models. Each of them have their own limitations, which are indicated below. Understand these and make a judicious decision – in order to ultimately put your time and money to the best use.
Standard Physical Classroom Courses
If you are learning a new skill, technically nothing can beat a physical classroom. But there are quite some limitations of this learning mode. You should have a good course near you, from a good teacher who pays personal attention, at a good facility and the class should not be over-sized. Importantly, you should have time to travel and attend classrooms. A lot to ask for, especially if you are working !
If it is a totally new subject in a new area, it is very strongly suggested NOT to go into classrooms with hundreds of people. This is because you can hardly expect the faculty to understand the individual capabilities and level of understanding. Classes go on mechanically. Students who are new to the subject are usually shy of asking questions from within such a huge crowd.
Go for classrooms with upto 20-40 students where personal attention is possible. You are more likely to ask questions within such a small group.
Virtual or Live Online Classroom Courses
Live online multimedia classroom courses allow you to access a course in real time from chosen institutions or from a globally renowned faculty, from the convenience of your home or office. These are enabled through professional training software platforms like Braincert or Webex,
This learning mode is interactive like a real classroom and is a very good alternative to a real classroom. The pre-requisite is a good un-interrupted internet connection for the entire duration of the session. In reality, there are usually breaks in video and audio for different reasons. You can attend these from mobiles too if the software allows.
The faculty can see you in some of these software platforms, monitor who has attended, share desktop, presentations and electronically ‘write’ on a ‘whiteboard’. Private chat, interactive discussions, live quizzes and tests are possible. Assignments are either submitted online, through email or through post. You are attended to, and can clear any doubts then and there.
You will need to dedicate time and motivate yourself to be regular to classes and be attentive without distractions around when at home. And bear with audio, video, power breaks !!! Choices in the market are not too many currently. If you are able to find a good and affordable live classroom course in the subject you are looking for, then grab it.
Next best are elearning courses which are close to distance learning programs. You can play and watch pre-loaded AV packages anytime you want. You have a lot of choice from global sources, and are generally very affordable. This is because institutions spend a one time effort on it and can share with an unlimited number of people technically.
It is very enticing to see that you can learn anytime at your convenience, but this is also the biggest pitfall of this learning mode ! Unless you are highly motivated and disciplined, you will never complete the course ! Be wary of this. Most of us will be always looking for another ‘tomorrow’ to go through, or the day before a test.
If the subject is complicated or not well explained, you are likely to get completely lost with no one to help. Some institutions provide options to clear queries through email. Most institutions also fix a period until which they are available online to you. If you don’t complete by that time, it will just go off and your money lost !!!
If you can manage your time and motivation, and the subject is not very new, complex and large, this is a convenient and economical method to learn. First check how you manage with a short term course before paying for an expensive course.
A combination of models
These days some good institutions, even IIMs, have a combination of physical classroom for a short period/weekends plus a live online classroom. Thus a combined learning mode may be the best for you in today’s age, if you want to learn new skills and technologies etc from top institutions.
If what you want to learn is just an upgrade to what you already know (like the newer version of a product), then utilize any of the above methods, plus learn on-the-job.
Technology to enable learning
It is certain that technology is already playing and will play an increasing role in enabling easier options. In fact, technology is the only solution to make good learning options available to the remotest and poorest people on the planet. They should not be deprived of quality education because of their location and status. We at www.addmylearning.com are also seeking to enable such features.
AddMyLearning.com : Learning Marketplace. SaaS based Course & Lead Management.
You are also invited to post guest articles on our blog.