Re: QUESTION: CBT v. Training

Subject: Re: QUESTION: CBT v. Training
From: Dave McGill <david -dot- mcgill -at- SENECAC -dot- ON -dot- CA>
Date: Mon, 16 Mar 1998 20:06:48 -0500

> My department has recently taken a major hit as far as our trainers are
> concerned. The company believes that we can replace the trainers with well
> written and intuitively developed CBTs.

I think "Intuitively Developed CBTs" is one of those deceptively
simplistic phrases, sort of like "well written manual". If you want to
train for a widely used application, like Word or Win95, then there are
a variety of good off the shelf products, which are probably much better
than anything you could create in-house. Good CBTs are very difficult to
create and very expensive. If you want a good custom solution you won't
be saving any money in the short term.

> I tend to agree with my company
> that CBTs offer more than a trainer because they can present the same
> material as a trainer would but for much less money. What are some
> thoughts out there on Computer Based Training versus training in the
> flesh.

I'm a career classroom teacher and I've been developing CBT and teaching
with it for the last couple of years. In my opinion CBT may be
comparable for a well motivated good student, but students like that
make up a minority of my current audience (first year college students).

>Are we just fooling ourselves or is CBT the next wave of effective
> information transmission.

It can be effective, particularly for motivated learners. I think we are
at the end of the beginning with respect to our knowledge of what works,
and why it works. So yes, you can probably replace your trainers with
_good_ CBT, but if you're doing it by yourselves, it will take a long
time and a lot of money.


Dave McGill
Seneca College

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