Since the eighties, the knowledge economy has grown exponentially, generating high-skilled jobs, public access to the internet, and the way we process information. With resources available from anywhere and at any time, the growth of online learning has been rapid and continues to boom.
Online training is widely used as the chosen workplace training medium. Digitization and Personalization have positively impacted the learner experience, along with the introduction of intuitive tools that provide data driven analysis for evaluating learning outcomes. We know that elearning is comparatively cheaper than face-to-face training, also presenting more flexibility to the learner.
The best of breed online courses are rich, immersive and effective learning experiences.
Is an exclusive online training experience the best approach for our workplace training?
Face-to-face or classroom style learning works better with some topics as not all are compatible with an exclusively online environment. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each training style to determine what is best.
Courses are accessed online. Learners can take a course from the workplace or from the comfort of their home and learn at their own pace with 24/7 access, that is not possible with traditional classroom structures. Many courses are now also mobile enabled and combine text, graphics and video to create a unique learning experience. The learning can reach many individuals and is consistent, everybody receives the same content. In addition, intuitive analytics tools can predict current and future learning gaps, recommendations for extending that learning as well as standard completion rates and pass marks. Credentialing is a hot topic in the elearning space and can validate the course quality, providing recognition of that learning and endorsement from professional industry bodies.
Cons of online learning
Elearning isolates the individual from their peers as there is no face-to-face interaction or a mentor at hand. This can reduce the overall value of taking the course. It also requires more self-motivation and time management skills.
If technical connection issues occur, then accessing the online learning resources can become difficult. Where there is no accreditation, the quality of the course content can come into question. There is a strong potential of additional work required and a lack of transformational power.
Pros of face-to-face training
Individuals can exchange ideas and questions with one another providing another valuable learning medium that online environments cannot replicate. Direct interaction with the educator is also highly beneficial. In particular, this mode of learning is highly suited to a young audience yet to join the workforce.
Cons of face-to-face training
A classroom setting can stifle learning by allowing dominant personalities to take the bulk of the discussion environments. Quieter individuals become limited in their communication options for exchanging ideas and information.
So, what is best?
There are both advantages and disadvantages to all types of learning environments. A combination of online and classroom learning to convey subject matter individuals will be the best training approach.
Learning also depends on the individual’s motivation and the impact of these immersions come down to the effort the individuals put into their professional development that transcends the overall experience.