What sort of training works to stop harassment? In person or online

Which is better depends on what you are teaching and why you want to learn it.

In an age of online information it is very easy to get access to learning resources for just about any subject or discipline. But is that the best way to learn? Online learning is efficient. It’s accessible. I, personally, find it very effective. Best? If not, why? What do you (did you?) like better about a “traditional” learning experience? The next Big Question asks: What is the big difference between learning online and traditional classroom learning?

I have an online training company so I do like online for some things. But what I teach is just knowledge transmission.   It doesn’t require a lot of coaching and practice.  Whether I teach it online or in person, it’s pretty much the same. The big different is Q&A.  It is much easier to have a discussion about implementation and make sure that comprehension is clear through a discussion – when it is in person.

I view online similar to reading a book or listening to an audio book. Different people want to self-study in different ways and online can facilitate that – especially if they are a motivated learner.  It is also useful for redundant training that is really just about making sure people receive knowledge (like a harassment training).

The hybrid model, though works well. My son likes to play Minecraft. He will watch online videos related to that and then excitedly come to his computer to try out what he has learned. He self educates through online content and active practice all the time.

On the other hand – he is also learning to do wood working. His dad is teaching him. This requires hands on in the workshop learning on how to saw, or sand or whatever. These sorts of hands on skills are best taught through apprenticeship.

So – which is better? Depends on what is being taught. Some things need to be experienced, others can be transmitted through a lecture (book, audiobook, or video).

I am a big fan of using evidence based approaches. So here is a research paper on the effectiveness of bias training. https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/research-report-113-unconcious-bais-training-an-assessment-of-the-evidence-for-effectiveness-pdf.pdf

This is a really useful resource for people considering unconscious bias training in terms of finding out what works and what doesn’t.  Turns out – online and face to face – are both equally effective in terms of raising awareness. But if you want to actually change behavior, you need to take a behavioral approach. There is more in the report than that, specifically related to levels of gender bias.

This is why I teach – a behavioral approach to harassment!