The reality is that for many people there is no debate when it comes to ITIL training in a classroom when compared to online courses. Everyone knows and accepts the benefits of classroom-based learning. However, run a poll on the topic in the Asia Pacific region and we are likely to see a preference for online programs. The reason for this is that potential students in countries where English is not a first language will often prefer an online environment where lessons can be watched multiple times.
My most recent experience of delivering training in Mongolia was that the classroom provides an excellent opportunity to interact with the instructor. Students were very keen and willing to learn, but there can be no argument that in some cases the language barrier was an issue. The majority of students in countries such as Mongolia, South Korea and Taiwan have very good English skills, but there are some that obviously did not have the same level of English understanding and they no doubt were disadvantaged when it came to some of the more challenging concepts and classroom discussions.
Having delivered ITIL classroom training in many "English as a second language" countries the experience has been fairly consistent with regard to the level of understanding and participation. When it comes to the topics of utility and warranty, along with market spaces – then even where English is your first language you could potentially struggle to understand.
So what does this mean for students in capitals such as Ulaanbaatar, Seoul and Taipei? There is still a fair amount of "fly-in" trainers who do not really understand the cultural and language issues and they deliver the training as if they were in their home country. The reality is that we have to offer flexible learning options to those wanting to start on the ITIL certification journey and this typically means a combination of face-to-face and online learning.
The real winners combine both of these approaches in the one solution offering. Video based e-Learning offers students the opportunity to see a lecturer explain the subject material, backed up with a professional workbook and the most valuable feature – the opportunity to replay sections of the course that you may have struggled with. Video based e-Learning has emerged as offering participants the "best of both worlds" when it comes to ITIL education. Having access to an actual expert presenter along with all of the relevant supporting materials (eg work book, mock exams, etc.) provides a true virtual classroom environment.