In today’s digital world, virtual training for programming languages and platforms has become all the rage, and for seemingly good reason: programming doesn’t always demand physical interaction between teacher and student, and it doesn’t normally require any expensive and unusual equipment, meaning the student can engage in training from just about anywhere. The pros are, of course, obvious: no travel overhead, no brick-and-mortar presence, and fewer requirements on class sizes and times all equate to convenience and cost savings.
What they sometimes lack, however, is crucial: Engagement and quality communication, both from the instructor and the students.
Many virtual training schools (and people in general) underestimate the connection, charisma, and general boost to communication gained from simply being in the same room as the instructor. A common complaint for many virtual students and instructors is that they simply don’t feel as connected or engaged as if they were in an actual setting with their instructor and other students physically present, oftentimes making even just the presence of instructor more important.
All of these pros are very attractive to Android developers, since Android is by its very nature mobile; a virtual school for teaching a mobile application would be very appealing due to Android’s ubiquitous, mobile nature. The big draw of onsite Android training, however, isn’t just related to the presence of an instructor (though that is, of course, a big draw): Android onsite training also greatly benefits from different sets of tools that can commonly be found on-site and may be cost-prohibitive for individual students to acquire on their own. A perfect example is different models of Android phones and tablets that each student may not have in her possession.
It is true that the Android Virtual Device (AVD) emulator is used for this purpose, but quite often the AVD is not enough to provide a completely diverse range of devices that will ensure wide compatibility. Oddly enough, in the case of the mobile world, tactile comprehension wins the day; a student who has an instructor to show him the different phones and how they interact differently in person will have a much easier time troubleshooting and developing for multiple devices than a student whose only exposure to an Android phone is their own phone and an AVD.
In the end, then, onsite Android training wins out over virtual training; it offers more and has the potential to give more back to the students who take part in a class in a brick-and-mortar classroom. Although virtual training has its perks, the tactile feel and presence of an instructor is, at least in the Android world, too good to pass up.
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