Q: I know that social networking and virtual learning are all the latest rage, but I work with leaders who didn't grow up with this kind of technology. Do leaders really get as much out of e-learning programs as they would a traditional classroom workshop?
A: Based on our experiences at Sonoma Leadership Systems, the answer is a resounding yes. While more senior Baby Boomers may not have grown up in the swirl of online networking technology that is so familiar and comfortable to younger leaders, we have found that a carefully crafted, facilitator-led, live e-learning program delivers much of the same results as a traditional classroom experience—across multiple generations. For example, we offer an interactive, six-session web-based program based on The Leadership Challenge that provides participants with all the tools needed to start applying The Five Practices, including The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) assessment tool. Although leaders are learning in the virtual space, they are fully engaged through the use of chatting, small group discussions, polling, and video examples. At the end of each training session, participants are challenged to practice one new leadership behavior during the following week and report their results back to the group at the next training session.
In the year that we've been doing these web-based live workshops, the feedback has been very positive. We've learned that participants use the time between sessions to really practice what they have learned and, as a result, the time in the virtual classroom is well spent. Leaders value learning with people from other organizations throughout the world, and all from the comfort and convenience of their home or office. In addition, if several people from an organization participate together there is the added benefit of group discussion in the intervening time between sessions.
Jeni Nichols is Queen of Connections at FlashPoint, a leading provider of The Leadership Challenge® Workshop, training, and materials. She can be reached at www.flashpointleadership.com