Why the McDonald's Approach to Computer Learning Doesn't Work

by HSG on Apr 19, 2013 in Articles from Software Fans

No matter what type of business you’re in, boosting your bottom line is always in the back of your mind. In a rough economy, it can be tempting to focus too much on pulling in more money and not enough on containing it from within.

That’s right, containing it. You have the potential to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars every year right under your nose from something as simple as lack of or ineffective computer training.

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How much do the employees you have working for you right now really understand about technology? How good is your IT tech department? Technology changes faster than a blink of an eye and oftentimes, businesses struggle to keep their top employees trained.

With millions of dollars being lost to Internet espionage, file corruption and other computer crimes, staying on top of changes is essential. Recently, online learning centers have been emerging as the go-to method for quick and inexpensive learning. Unfortunately, this type of computer learning isn’t always the best solution.


When it comes to learning IT skills, you don’t want cheap, you want cost-effective.


Online Learning Centers Give Your Employees False Confidence

Here’s how online learning centers work: You pay an upfront or monthly fee and are allowed to watch training videos on the skill you’re interested in learning. This is fine if you want to learn one or two specific features on a software program, but if you’re trying to learn the whole program, you can easily get lost.

A training video is a training video. Whether you watch it on the Internet or rent it free from your local library, you’re only getting a set amount of condensed information. It can be very easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’ve absorbed everything from a 2-hour course or a week-long video training session.

But there are always learning gaps.

No matter how concise your notes, there is always something missing in this type of training session. In order for learning to be effective, you need that instructor-student interaction. You need to be able to ask questions and get answers explained in the way you understand. Everybody learns differently. For example, some are more visual while others are more hands-on.

When you think of these online learning centers, imagine you’re going through a McDonald’s drive-thru. You order a main course, a side, a drink, and a dessert. Sure, it fills you up for a bit but where’s the real nutrition?

The Best, Most Efficient Way of Learning IT Skills

There are many different types of computer learning. You can even log on to YouTube and pick up a few photography tips, software skills, and some technical information, but it could never be an effective substitute for full, dynamic classroom instruction. And never is the right computer learning any more important than when your employees are learning IT skills.

With technology changing so fast, your employees need real classroom instruction, not the “McDonald’s approach” of online learning centers. Cheap computer tutorials only offer so much and when it comes to training your IT department, you do not want to cut corners.

This isn’t to say that you absolutely have to pay for brick-and-mortar classes. Far from it. Sending your entire IT department or accounting department to a class a couple towns over can really add up. What you want to do is find a company that offers combination classes; the type of institution that gives you the option to choose on-site instruction, live online instructor-lead classes, and public classes.

With online, instructor-lead courses, you get a similar feel to that of online learning centers but with real-time interaction. Students can sit down to a class and really become a part of it.

They can ask questions, take notes, interact, and learn from not only their instructor, but their peers. This type of learning is a cut above computer tutorials because it gives your employees a chance to really grow. To keep up with rapidly-evolving technology instead of just watching pre-recorded videos that can be outdated in a matter of months.

The Real Cost of Online Learning Centers

You may think that online learning centers are best because they’re less expensive but let’s look at it another way. If you had finally saved up enough money to get that vintage sports car you’d always wanted, would you try to save money by pumping it full of low-grade gasoline?

Of course not.

The same goes for your top-notch employees. You hired them for their skill and expertise. After they’ve been with you for a few years, why feed them scraps when it’s time to learn new software or new internet privacy information?

Your employees are your investment, not a place to tighten your belt. Just like that sports car, if you don’t want a mechanical breakdown, you have to put in a little more upfront. Legitimate software training programs are your best way to get a better return on investment and improve your company’s bottom line.  

Keywords: computer learning, online computer classes, computer tutorials, learning IT skills, online learning centers

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