Learning, like many activities, has components in the real world as well as online counterparts. Navigating education in print and online still feels new to some people, and there’s a good reason for that. Reading print has been part of the human experience for a long time, while reading on a screen is relatively new. Each medium brings its own pros and cons to the table.
In a blog post published earlier this year, RealMatch.com discussed 5 Advantages to Print Advertising. Many parallels can be drawn between their conclusions about advertising and the benefits of printing your association training materials.
- Print carries gravitas: Besides Omnipress having Gravitas (Publications, as a client), print has a feeling of permanence and tangibility that screens have yet to capture. Printed materials feel more solid and valid. For best results, use online resources for a wider distribution and printed materials to signify staying power.
- Print is persuasive: In the advertising world, consumers are more likely to be swayed to buy products and services by printed advertisements. For training, active members realize the value of your course through the power of printed content. True influencers can convince others to sign up for training.
- Print readers are focused: Reading online involves many distractions, which makes learners more likely to multi-task. When readers choose print, chances are that, aside from a drinking a cup of strong coffee, that’s all they’re doing.
- Print helps us feel connected, without devices: For a growing number of people, occasionally unplugging has become appealing. When people unplug at home, they still want to “do something.” Reading print is the natural choice. With continuing education training, the act of unplugging to focus on professional development is more important. Learning a new concept in print is easier than making a conscious effort to ignore notifications and other online distractions.
- Printed advertisement offer more flexibility: Unlike some online options, printed ads can fit your budget. You can purchase a half page or a page, for example, and use targeted placement to increase visibility. Online, your ad placement is more likely to be determined by an algorithm, not a person, which takes the flexibility and customization out of the process. On the training side, flexibility is also key. Printed materials can take many forms, and careful formatting can bring attention to the most important text.
The real key is to combine initiatives in print and online, drawing on the strengths of both. Retention and learning experience are better when printed materials are used as the primary method of content delivery. Online resources can be incorporated as supplementary content to the printed materials. QR codes make it easy for learners to go online directly from a printed source.
As you think about how to deliver your training materials in 2015, use the best of both worlds to create a comprehensive learning experience. There is true value in blended learning. But remember the power of printed materials for permanence, value, focus, and flexibility.