Training Classes Online? or Rather Not?

In a comment [LINK REMOVED] to my recent blog post about my upcoming Expert XPO training class [LINK REMOVED], Michael Proctor, an old acquaintance from DevExpress days, asked me whether I would consider running similar classes online. In his words:

This looks great, there has been a few of your courses that would be great to attend however there is a big bloody ocean in the way. Have you ever consider running a second online version of the course to increase your market? I’m not saying run a massive webinar where it is impersonal, do the same as your classes except over something like live meeting. I’m not sure how your course is structured but if you are a whiteboard fan like myself I have found a decent sized pen tablet Intuos Large or Extra Large is a great whiteboard substitute. I can tell you that I know of a couple of people here in Australia that have asked about if there are any courses on XPO and unfortunately nope. I reckon you would fill the seats bloody quick for online delivery too, and obviously your costs would most likely be less as you don’t have the expense of a conference room etc.

Now, I had a lot of thoughts about this, and I guess these will be interesting to others as well. This is still just a blog post and as such an opinion piece – please feel free to comment if you think I’m off track with my ideas! This is written as a reply to Michael, because I originally intended to simply reply to his comment.

Hey Michael,

Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I’ve thought about something like this… I’m not sure though. I understand that there are good reasons for this request, but I’m not sure it’s really going to work. Even for a two-day class, who’s going to sit in front of their computer for two days, watching a training class? Then there’s the lag of communication connections, everything takes longer, watching somebody typing on screen is much harder, etc… in the best of cases I’m sure the outcome, as far as a learning effect for the customer is concerned, would be much worse than an actual classroom training. Not even to mention the labs, an essential part of my classroom trainings!

Of course I also like classroom trainings. It’s a much better feeling to speak directly to a group of people and watching how they learn, than to talk to your machine for a day or two without much in the way of feedback. As a result, I really think online stuff is fine for a short time, or for direct interaction in a small group (I do quite a bit of consulting work online, for instance), but not very suitable to longer events.

Perhaps I could theoretically publish a two-day class in 12 (or so) individual pieces, but then I’d have to give it away cheaper than classroom trainings, people will pay for one and watch with their entire team, or they’ll just copy everything and give it away for free, nobody will come to the classroom trainings anymore… sure, I don’t know to what extent this is going to happen, but I’ll take any bet that it would happen.

So that’s why I’m saying “I’m not sure”. Perhaps I’ll make a different decision in the future, because I see that some people will never make it into my classes otherwise. Meanwhile, unfortunately, if you would like to see my training happening near where you are, we’ll have to talk about me coming there and doing it. Or of course you can book my consulting services [LINK REMOVED] anytime! 😃

Cheers Oliver

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