Business analysts and project managers communicate virtually all the time with co-workers, clients, stakeholders and a number of other people to deliver results. Why is learning in a similar environment still thought to be sub-par to traditional classroom training? On Tuesday, the IIBA sent out its BA Connection newsletter, which had an interesting article about the benefits of virtual training by Barbara A. Carkenord, CBAP and PMP®. In the article, Carkenord describes six benefits of virtual training, and why virtual training is a valid method and alternative to instructor-led, classroom training:
- Provides an opportunity to practice virtual elicitation
- Creates an environment where you can ask questions with less risk
- Allows you to get focused training on particular skills as you need it
- Gives you a chance to meet BAs in other locations
- Provides access to experts
- Improves your certification testing skills
All of these are great benefits. ASPE instructor Billie Johnson, CBAP, particularly agreed with number four, “I have had folks outside the US that provide interesting and enriching perspectives.”
Teaching more than 1,000 students in more than 100 virtual training sessions in the past two years, ASPE has a unique perspective and some additional benefits of virtual training. The instructor-led, online training ASPE provides is usually a half-day and allows students to stay connected and still have part of their day for actual work. Jon Blevins, a business information analyst from Des Moines, Iowa, and a recent student of ASPE’s virtual Developing Requirements with Use Cases course commented, “This is the first time that I have taken an online course, and I plan to take more due to the ease of use, and the ability to stay connected to work.”
Physical location can be a hindrance of time and money. As Carkenord said, the virtual environment allows access to experts. You don’t need to fly across the country or wait for a specific course or instructor to come to you when you can get the training online, sitting right at your office desk or even on your couch at home. Not to mention it’s a lot easier to get training approved and paid for by your company if you don’t add the expense of travel.
ASPE President David Mantica also emphasizes that at ASPE, everything you get in classroom training is provided in virtual training: content, labs, interaction and a live instructor. Some people (and approving managers) have the misconception that when you take a virtual class you don’t pay attention. With the tool we use, Webex, our instructors can monitor student involvement. They can see when a person isn’t looking at the presentation window and are trained to know how to re-engage him or her.
So, is there a valid reason for people not to want virtual training? No. At least not from ASPE. It’s the same course, same instructor and same activities you would get in a physical classroom. It helps professionals work on the ever-growing need to practice electronic communication they use on-the-job every day. It’s cost effective. It gives you access to experts and colleagues outside of your geographical location. “Most people think virtual training is less effective or less valuable than the traditional brick-and-mortar learning environment, but it’s quite possibly better,” stated Mantica.