Of course, the person “next to you” might just as often be consulted via email or other online tool, but it doesn’t change this fact: the amount of workplace learning done in formal training sessions is a tiny fraction of of the learning that takes place one-on-one, between coworkers.
That’s why this post from Frank Noschese is so great. He contrasts two teaching methods that involve different kinds of whiteboards: one that costs $2,000, and one that costs $2. The difference: peer-to-peer interaction.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of learner engagement when teaching complex new material, and in this case the $2 whiteboard is far more effective at gaining that engagement. Clearly this approach may not be appropriate in all cases, but large organizations would do well to carefully consider when it makes sense to let their expensive gear sit idle and instead employ lower-tech - but more effective - methods.