“Online” training and the marvel of technology | Sunday Observer

“Online” training and the marvel of technology

9 April, 2023

The Covid-19 pandemic brought the world to a complete halt during the years of 2020/21. This unexpected calamity resulted in the exploration of various alternative digital channels covering every sector directly connected to the day-to-day lives of the people.

At a time globally, when many countries were limping back towards normalcy, we in Sri Lanka got trapped to a major economic turmoil which paralysed the entire country. After successfully overcoming the natural calamity and losing many precious lives, we were caught up in a man-made calamity. Every sector had their share of the crisis and the fuel crisis brought the entire country to a standstill.

 Working From Home

 The Working From Home (WFH) concept, even though it was active in a limited way, was a new experience and gained adaptability due to the technological innovations and the marvel of technology. Every important sector of utility, notably the Banks, was in a position to provide continued service without any interruption.

 Many banks even went to the extent of providing mobile ATM facilities due to the restrictions on the movement of people which deprived access to the ATMs. Whether it is a pandemic, lockdown or fuel crisis, the Banking community provided an uninterrupted service to its stakeholders. Similar commitments were made by various other entities such as grocers, street vendors, delivery channels and supermarkets involved in providing various essential utility services  to the public. Their commitment and contributions in the midst of the crisis, especially during the life threatening pandemic, need to be commended and appreciated by all citizens of the country.

  “Online” training

 The recent calamities had a direct impact on us as trainers. We were compelled to conduct “online” training programs from the comfort of our residences in spite of certain impediments, notably the unscheduled power cuts which hampered our schedules to some extent.

It is a matter of great satisfaction and gives us tremendous contentment to note that we were able to successfully adjust to the changing environment and execute our responsibilities towards the conduct of “online” sessions without any disruption thereby sharing our expertise and experience for the greater benefit of all. Thanks of, course, to the marvel of technology.

 Let us examine the pros and cons of the “online” sessions and the impediments and the productivity of such sessions. The important aspect which should be considered by all is whether such programs add any value and are a worthy investment towards enhancing the learning curve of the participants.

The conduct of “online” sessions became a compelling necessity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, followed by the economic crisis, which resulted in frequent lockdowns and restrictions on the movements of people to prevent the spread of the pandemic. This resulted in almost everyone giving priority in conducting “online” sessions towards achieving their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in accordance with their training calendar.


 Online training programs and workshops have become immensely popular particularly after the recent disruption of the activities of the people due to the Pandemic and the fuel crisis. When we conduct “online” sessions, we are digitally connected to the participants “online” in real-time. The participants of such sessions are required to join us in the virtual classroom.

 In most of the cases, the lecturers are unable and deprived to access the view of the participants although the participants are blessed with the luxury of joining from the comfort of their residences or workplaces with a clear image of the trainer. Even with all these facilities at their disposal, the responses of the participants at most of the “online” sessions were almost zero due to the lack of enthusiasm.

 The priority of most of the participants at such sessions appears to be to obtain their certification and official recognition. I understand that due to the compelling necessity of participation, many of the participants “log in” just for the sake of participation and at times put their instruments on “silent mode” to ensure there is no disruption to their official assignments and at times their domestic commitments which take priority.

 In such “online” sessions, the participants had more flexibility and were able to attend from the comfort of their residences; in other words it was an easy and carefree way of learning. They participate just for the sake of following and the knowledge gained by them in such sessions is not up to the desired levels.

Important assignments are done in isolation and in the process, they face several distractions and impediments. The trainers have no way of ascertaining the body language of the participants and adjust their presentations in an “online” session. Assessing the body language of the participants is an important component in ascertaining the productivity and success of any session.

 Physical sessions

 On the contrary, during physical sessions, punctuality is one of the key elements and a compelling necessity. All participants are required to ensure punctuality in their attendance which is an essential component in self-discipline. Physical sessions once it is fixed, all participants have to attend on time as absenteeism is not tolerated in view of the investment.

 Physical sessions create “face to face “ interactions with the participants and the lecturers;  they could communicate with each other without any disruption, clear their doubts, seek clarifications and in addition such interactions will be beneficial to all other co-participants.

 Above all, the participants could interact with their colleagues at such forums towards enhancing their learning curve, with greater interaction with the lecturers. In an online session, the participants get connected in isolation and such an environment is not conducive to interact with the lecturer online. Human “face to face” interaction is the hallmark of the success of the physical sessions.

 Needless to say, physical sessions are costly to the organisation and cause certain inconveniences to the participants as well as the trainers. However, the most important aspect should be to ensure productivity and the value of the investment.

 At a time when the country is returning to normality, it is time for all stakeholders to reconsider their strategy in conducting “online” sessions and consider whether it is a worthy investment, or in the alternative introduce a suitable monitoring mechanism (such as online proctoring which is usually used for online exams) to ensure its productivity.

With various technological innovations available at our disposal, it will not be a difficult task to introduce such monitoring mechanisms towards the active involvement of the participants in ensuring the productivity of “online” sessions.

 I am motivated in sharing my thoughts and experience as a trainer for the greater benefit of all especially those involved in the field of Learning and Development at various entities, both public and private.

Blurb: It is a matter of great satisfaction and gives us tremendous contentment to note that we were able to successfully adjust to the changing environment and execute our responsibilities towards the conduct of “online” sessions without any disruption thereby sharing our expertise and experience for the greater benefit of all. Thanks, of course, to the marvel of technology.