Mental Health Training

Getting the most from Training

Posted by on 15 Jun, 2022 in Mental Health |

Getting the most from Training

In the last two years we have seen some great opportunities to access learning in a flexible way. Previous face-to-face only courses have adapted to offer online alternatives. This has created some great benefits for learners and trainers alike, and has allowed messages to reach new audiences, including overseas delegates and those in different time zones, and with less cost to our carbon footprint. But is it the case that learners can still gain the same quality of learning from online training that they do from traditional face-to-face courses? We think so, but this does come with some considerations.

Over the last two years we have traversed the learning curve that was getting to grips with online technology and software, to being familiar and comfortable with it, to perhaps being too comfortable with it. For a totally engaging online learning experience, the participant must be just that, a participant. Online learning, just like face-to-face learning, allows for group discussions, whether they are brief through a chat facility, or verbally and more detailed. We are still able to offer engaging activities through creativity, and spaces for groups to work together such as breakout room facilities; all the things we might do in a training room. We still need to notice cues such as ‘when to speak’ and ‘when to let others speak’ and the interactions that allow for ‘whole group’ participation. Many readers will be familiar with the science that illustrates we communicate more through non-verbal communication than verbal, so when we are online, we are reliant on all our senses for reading the group and group dynamics. This includes visual cues, being able to observe each other. For example, we lose a great deal of input if a participant does not have their camera facility switched on. Sometimes technology and other factors are the determinant of this, but on other occasions a participant may just see fit not to put it on. Full participation needs visilbility for everyone. Without a visual we can be left wondering whether the person has lost interest or disengaged with the learning, or has gone off to put the washing in or check their emails as well as learning – in fact, they are not learning if this is the case.

The reality of the modern world is that we often have multiple demands placed on us at any given time. The thing with learning is that it requires dedicated time, focus, and attention, whether that learning is training room based, e-learning, or virtual classroom. Sometimes the best thing we can do for our learning is ‘not to learn right now,’ but to find a dedicated and protected time later down the line. That way nothing is lost from the learning experience, whether the learning experience is face-to-face or online. Technology has given us more freedom of choice, but we have an active role to play too.