I’m usually a fan of doing things online whenever possible. The internet frees us from the bounds of 9-5 and lets people engage when and as their schedule permits. With that said, how you “do” something online needs to be considered before the powers that be decide to make the leap from real world to electrons. It’s been my experience that unless an online class is really very well designed and engaging, it quickly becomes an exercise in clicking the “next” button until the machine rewards you with a certificate of completion. In many things this is good enough in that at least people will know where to go get information even if they don’t know exactly what information they need. That’s well and good most of the time.
When it comes to training the next generation of supervisors, I have a hard time swallowing the idea that a week-long class on the dos and don’ts of labor law, equal employment opportunity, and dealing with unions can be quite so nicely condensed. Training the people who are supposed to enforce the standards by letting them click through a set of slides on their own is a terrible idea. There are enough piss poor supervisors already and we really, really need to get this one right. Expecting the new guy to “learn on the fly” is pretty much your standard recipe for disaster. Look, I know funds are tight, but this is a pay me now or pay me later situation. By doing it right from the beginning, how much cost avoidance will you realize by preventing the inevitable increase in EEO, prohibited personnel practice, and fair labor standards settlements?
Can we please, just this once, look more than 15 feet down the road when deciding how to save budget dollars?
Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of posts previously available on a now defunct website. They are appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.