The Virtues of Virtual

The Virtues of Virtual

Way, way back in the day when telephones were connected to wires and calling required the physical dialing of numbers, an advertising slogan was pressed into everyone’s head: “Long distance, the next best thing to being there.”

And, there you have it. Generations of people growing up on the belief that doing something remote is second-best to doing something in person.

Cue the digital age.

You would think after years of real-time global collaboration, Internet-based social engagement and even things like telemedicine… people would be well beyond the old-school notion that “in person” is always best. Especially when it comes to education.

I get it. Many of us have grown up getting our education through the familiar “butt-in-seat” experiences of elementary school, high school and often college. Oy!

But study after study after study shows quite the opposite. In fact, online learning is often seen as having an edge.

As an example, a 2010 U.S. Department of Education report culled more than a thousand empirical studies down to 50 that could be subjected to meta-analysis. The finding: “The meta-analysis found that, on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”

Now, while most of those studies were focused on K-12…still pretty convincing.

Stepping it up a notch, a couple of research firms, Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group, have been evaluating and reporting on online learning for a number of years now. In their most recent report published last year, they note,”…there is no agreed upon measure of education quality – either for face-to-face or for online education.” So, they went out and interviewed chief academic officers at educational institutions. Keeping in mind that institutions likely have a built-in bias toward face-to-face learning – nearly 70 percent of those interviewed said they perceived online learning outcomes to be somewhat superior to or the same as face-to-face instruction.

Now, it stands to reason, and many studies have shown, the more senses involved in learning, the higher rate of information retention.

Online learning, and especially live online learning, captures the attention of learners, and keeps it through the use of video, graphics and animation to illustrate and explain concepts, and by ensuring there is a high degree of interactivity.

Whereas the average content retention rate for a face-to-face class is said to be about 60 percent, anecdotal evidence shows the more interactive online learning experiences can increase that retention upward to as much as 80 percent.

In looking at all of the evidence and then throwing in the high cost, the length of time and huge inconvenience of face-to-face training, opting for live online training is pretty much a no-brainer.

Here at KnowledgeNet, we don’t have a budget to conduct huge national research projects to prove the point, but we can take a look at the results from learners who are taking their training through us. We think their 94 percent pass rate on the first taking of a certification exam is pretty darn compelling. Why spend more money, more time and get caught up in the hassles of face-to-face when a simple, convenient solution is as close as your computer?

If you’re still not sure… all I can say is, “try it!” You can do it for free by “sitting in” on one of our live introductions to live learning. You can CLICK HERE, and select a date and time. Just like live online learning, when it’s time – just stop what you’re doing, watch, learn and then go right back to where you left off. Indeed, it’s so much better than being there.

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