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As the internet becomes ever popular, online training is also gaining popularity, decreasing challenges and barriers while imparting increased levels of training to students around the globe. Often, this training in free (or at least perceived to be free). This article asks (and answers) the question “Why would you pay of training when it is available online for free?”, using our Google Analytics Seminars for Success course as an example.
Google is currently trying to encourage people to become “Google Certified”, therefore increasing the worldwide expertise in Google technologies, therefore gaining further long term stability for their products.
Let’s consider how people who are interested in Google Analytics might get trained and certified. In order to get certified in Google Analytics, you need to take an exam ($50 online at Google). Obviously, you need to know a thing or two about Google Analytics prior to taking the exam!
Now, how do you get to know about Google Analytics? Well, you can either take the training for free (at the Google Conversion University, using the online videos, resources and other materials available). Or, you could attend a 2 Day Google Authorised Seminars for Success course (there is one in Dublin in April). The former is free and the latter is not – the price is determined by Google – and is run by the Digital Marketing Institute in Ireland.
So, why would anybody in their right mind elect to pay to attend a course that they could sit through online?
Before I answer that particular question, let me tell you about a company that I founded in 1988. It was called Net Results and what we did was sell an “internet in a box” product. It comprised a router, connection to a PSTN/ISDN connection, an operating system and some clever software. During our year and half in business, we took many calls from “techies” who were delighted to tell us that this device could be put together for free by sourcing stuff online. And our stock answer was that this product was not for the techies – it was for the business person who did not have (a) the technical knowledge o do this, and (b) the smaller company who did not have the luxury of having a dedicated IT person to put it all together. We sold our product in shedloads and we subsequently sold our company. The moral of this story – every product is not for all the people all the time!
Now, back to our Google Analytics story. There are many, many people who will be happy to go online and sit for hours (and possibly many days and weeks) to trawl through the hours of video that Google puts online.
But then you perhaps might ask the question, if this was so easy, why did Google themselves develop the Seminar for Success program at all – surely they could have simply pointed people to the free online resource? Well, Google realized something that most other people recognise – that is that the world is made up of all kinds of people with all kinds of requirements and demands. And some of those people actually want to go and learn in a classroom and they want to learn from someone who has been through it all before and they want to meet with peers and they have a whole range of other particular demands that can only be met in a classroom environment.
Let’s have a look at a few of them.
- The Google Analyics Seminar for Success Trainer (Vicky Brock) is a highly experienced, independent Google Analytics professional. This person is a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant and a Board Director of the Web Analytics Association, the professional body for those working in understanding and optimizing online experience. She is Lecturer in Web Analytics for the University of British Columbia, Course Director of eMarketing and Web Value Optimization for the University of the Highlands and Islands, Executive in Residence for the University of Guelph Hospitality School and a trainer in online understanding and measurement for the WAA. At this point you probably realize that Vicky has more than a wealth of experience implementing and using Google Analytics and is considered one of the leading experts in Europe on the subject.
- When you are online, you do not get to ask questions (of Vicky or anyone else!)
- Your free online training at Google Conversion University comprises about 3 hours of presentations – now, why would Google put together an agenda that covered 2 full days of intensive classroom based training unless they felt that there was a lot more to the product than is available in a few hours worth of video.
- The fact of the matter is that many people simply learn better in a classroom setting. Some people thrive on the conversation of a topic with other people, which is something they feel uncomfortable with in an online situation. Typing a message or post to somebody isn’t the same as verbalizing a point of view. The classroom setting allows for real time discussion and provides interaction that isn’t easily duplicated even with the most advanced of technology.
- Many people also learn better in a one-on-one instruction session. Classroom training allows for an individualized approach that cannot easily be duplicated in an online setting. Instructors can answer questions and provide hands-on answers that should satisfy most curiosities.
- It has also been shown that the retention rate for classroom style learning is much higher than online (I am afraid that I cannot put my hand to this piece of research, so you will have to take my word for it for the moment).
- With classroom training, students are around peers. This allows for team building, as people are joining together to work out basic problems and find solutions as a group.
- Classroom learning can also allow for more time. The learning process in some people takes quite a bit of time, so a classroom setting is ideal for the patience and environment required. While e-learning can often imprison a learner in a solitary timeless existence, a classroom enables a learner to experience support from peers and instructors. This gives a sense of encouragement and belonging to the student, allowing more time to learn things properly
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