The Difference Between Video and Classroom Training

A lot of organizations opt for video training for their employees, and why not? Video training is cheap and efficient. You buy the course, watch it anytime it fits into your schedule, maybe do some homework, done. Check that off the list…which is precisely why it’s a bad idea.  For just a second, think about the difference between video and classroom training as the difference between working out to a video or meeting with a Saturday morning running group.

You just don't get this from a video....

You just don’t get this from a video….

The workout video will get it done. But nobody’s there to check your form; there’s no camaraderie; nobody’s there to inspire you to push to the next level or not quit. You have to get yourself pumped up to show up for the next workout because that whole group dynamic of everybody spurring each other on just isn’t there. The video tackles one issue: you have the information. But the group activity stimulates you on so many other levels.

Every month, we hold management training sessions. The members of the group are all at the same level in their organizations, basically peers.  They learn from the trainer, sure, but they also learn from each other. One participant’s question informs everybody else. And they all come up with unique questions that the others might not have thought of on their own. They share issues with each other that they’re having and work together with the trainer to find solutions. The class becomes a support group in which they’re all helping each other become better managers and better teammates to each other. You’re not going to get any of that from a video.

Then there’s the structure of the class. We meet once a month. That gives everyone plenty of time to not only absorb but implement the suggestions, ideas and information they got from the last session. They can test it out to see what worked and come back with questions or challenges about what didn’t, knowing that other people are going to be interested in their experiences. You know what I mean: something will happen related to a principle they discussed in class last time and they think “Oh this is exactly what Jane was talking about! I can’t wait to tell her this happened and how I handled it!”

That lesson will be incorporated in the manager’s way of thinking and acting far more deeply and effectively than if it’s just an internal realization without other people to share it.

People help other people grow

There’s just a whole dynamic around pushing your performance with a team around you. There’s the competitive thing—of course—but there’s also the cooperative element. Something happens in our brains when we have others watching our progress and rooting for us. As you may have noticed, every app that comes out to help people improve their athletic performance, lose weight or catch Pokemon has a social element to it. There’s a community, and leaderboard, because research has shown that stimulates a whole different level of involvement. It makes us rise to the occasion. Videos just don’t have that same power.

And there are a couple of other crucial points. Really good training is an excellent recruiting technique. Studies show that the opportunity to develop is one of the most valued perks for working for any company. They’re not talking about the chance to watch a video. Conversely, a remarkable number of people who leave their jobs blame poor managers. Investing in good managers pays for itself several times over in employee retention, motivation and morale which translates to organizational performance.

So, yeah, videos are cheap and efficient. A great training though, can make for a great manager, who has a great community and can help build great organizations. And that’s much better.

We work with companies on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your business, with offices in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Contact me at or call (512) 420-8267.

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