Full disclosure, I work in sales for a company specializing in employee learning and development through an online platform. This may make me seem biased considering the topic of this blog but online training has been replacing the traditional classroom style for a long time now so let’s look into why exactly that is. I’ve used insights from clients on why they want to move out of the class and onto the computer to outline the benefits of online training.
In an online setting, training can be administered instantly and anywhere. This is a massive time saver for anyone who’s had the “fun” of planning and organizing a training session for a group, it’s a lot of time invested before we’ve even gotten to the point of actually adding value for our employees. Then there comes the logistical challenge of trying to manage an entire group of individual’s schedules to minimize the number of training sessions necessary to get everyone through the process.
The simple fact is online training cuts administrative workload immensely while greatly reducing the negative impact of time lost in preparing and administering training sessions. Time is very valuable, we should not waste it!
We all learn different. That’s a simple fact people realize as they go through the education system and we each learn the ways that work best for ourselves. The pace with which we absorb and understand new information is going to be different for everyone. Some people pick up concepts very quickly and some require extra time and examples to understand information. If training is not moving at a pace that generally matches your learning speed odds are you’re either bored ahead of the group or very lost behind them. Either way, it means many learners are not engaged and without engagement, there can’t be deep learning.
People need to be taught the best way that they learn, and since we are all adults who know what works for ourselves maybe it’s best to let us handle it. Online training gives us all the tools and information we need and when we can control the pace by which we learn, information just sticks.
The majority of training managers I deal with say one of their biggest struggles is engaging employees during long classroom training sessions, such as orientation. Training is always better received when the learner is part of the process and the traditional classroom makes that difficult.
Classroom training is controlled almost entirely by the teacher, they determine the pace and attention devoted to each topic. Whereas online the learner is in the driver’s seat, they have full control over which topics they cover and can spend whatever amount of time is necessary to ensure complete understanding. With online training being repeatable anytime, employees can also always go back to training sessions to get a deeper understanding of topics covered after the fact at no cost to the organization.
Costs of training.
Online training can be expensive to develop but it takes very little time to see the payback. The more you use it the more value you receive on the initial investment. It is instantly available and repeatable while carrying virtually no variable costs (cost incurred per session). Traditional training is the complete opposite, it may require less to develop but classroom training uses a lot of financial resources and human capital for each session implemented. In an ideal situation budgets for training and development should be better allocated to broadening the various training opportunities available to develop and nurture staff as opposed to being allocated to the delivery of limited more general group training sessions.
Online > Traditional
If you belong to a forward thinking growth centered organization then employee development is crucial to your success. Online training is hands downs the easiest and most cost effective way to provide employees with the tools necessary to grow and succeed. With that said, online training needs to provide the proper support structures in place so employees have resources (training specialists, managers, etc.) to refer to for clarification or elaboration of difficult subjects.
There is a reason so many business and even educational institutions are adopting the online learning model, because when done properly it works amazingly well!
Donny McGrath, Development Solutions Strategist