Ending the Cold War between CBT and WBT

Ending the Cold War between CBT and WBT


Many of us coming from the old school of training find it difficult to transition from classroom based / face-to-face training (CBT for now ) to web based / online training (WBT for now).  Talk to any trainer who has been in the field of training for over a decade now and you will see how enthusiastically he / she can offer you a dossier of all the positives and pluses about a classroom based training. Check their choice of words, their body language, and their tone – every time that they speak about CBT, they actually glow, as if they are there right now in the room with an audience raring to learn from them.

But like me, if you are the kind who wishes to check for people’s reaction when they are challenged about some of their beliefs and / or way of life they are so convinced about, throw this question to CBT enthusiasts:  what is your take on the current trend of web based / online training? You invited it so now be prepared to listen for all that is impossible, unacceptable, and uncomfortable about making learning a virtual endeavor and training a disengaged pursuit. We expect a ferocious defense from the ardent CBT followers and it would be only natural for them to do so, for it is in those very classroom that many of them would have discovered their identity, passion and happiness.

However, contrary to our expectation, custodians of CBT will surprise you with their wisdom blended with their practical outlook.  Initially, their response “well we all need to move with the times” may seem as if they are hiding their dejection and indignation at the proliferation of technology especially in matters concerning learning.  However, what usually seems to go unnoticed is what they deeply and dearly hold on to – their passion for facilitating learning.  The dejection and indignation may be true about them, and maybe it is also true that they have made peace with the idea of the ubiquity of technology.  But in witnessing their willingness to make a paradigm shift to WBT, believers and lovers of CBT make it refreshingly certain that the quintessence of a professional and passionate trainer is to keep re-inventing the self.  The ability to reflect and thereby stretch one’s own potential to learn and unlearn is a mark of a true trainer.

For those who have had the computer and WWW as companions since the time they were born, it would be difficult for them to appreciate the effort Gen Xers have to make in order to acknowledge, accept and engage with a paradigm unknown to them.  Hence, ever so often Gen Y members may find Gen X’s affinity to CBT outdated, and Gen Xers may find Gen Y’s penchant for WBT too radical.  But trust the wise old Owl, who affectionately reminisces the cherished days of CBT after a successful WBT session he / she would have completed, to tell you that “Gen X and Gen Y may be divided with regard to their preferences, but they both stay united in their purpose”.

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