In-Person Training Or Online Training?

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In-Person Training Or Online Training?

There is no shortage of opportunities for L&D

Training is no longer a single horse race. Before the advent of automation, digital workplaces, and mobile technology, learning and development professionals had few opportunities, and almost everyone fell into the personal camp. Online learning has been on the rise in recent years, with innovations and quality of life updates almost making it harder not to incorporate it into your training delivery strategy.

But even when it comes to higher statistics for things like retention and engagement, eLearning may not always be the first choice – especially for certain skills that can only really be learned through hands-on demonstrations and tests. In situations like this, such as for a paramedic’s practical learning, online training can never fully replace its personal alternative.

I have found pros (and negatives) for each of these delivery media throughout my career, so let’s jump right into things and review a “compare and contrast” of the key differentiators.

Online training is available anywhere, anytime

Since personal learning has been around for as long as we can all remember, let’s start with the newcomer. Mobile eLearning solutions give users the freedom to choose when and where they want to learn. It also allows you to develop at a pace that is comfortable for you, the learner, and not at a pace that is comfortable for the facilitator.

Compare that to personal training, where planning a group can be a nightmare; conflicting schedules, winter weather and last minute cancellations are real considerations that organizers have to contend with. On top of that, the work sometimes gets just too busy for a group of students to be released from their work responsibilities to attend a training session.

Today, you do not have to plan your day around a certification seminar or a live training session. You can pick up your workout right in the comfort (and convenience) of your home office or personal workplace. Due to its easily accessible nature, online teaching materials actually result in more learning. But do not think that this is always a clear case of “out with the old, in with the new.” You do not have to completely drop one approach for the other. Some things are simply better taught personally.

Personal training is practical and interactive

Compared to online training, classroom-based learning is literally practical. You can usually find time either during or after the session to have your questions answered directly by the instructor, and you have a whole space filled with opinions and knowledge to draw on.

In short, you can miss the personal, practical interactivity of learning when you are online. And you can not replace the physical, practical approach to building certain skills. Take paramedics as an example. I have spent most of my professional career in emergency medical services and you can not mimic a personal placement change with online training.

When using equipment or practicing a psychomotor skill, supervision and access to certain tools are necessary for many types of jobs and positions. It is extremely difficult for educators to copy the same level of interaction and relationships in a virtual environment. Face-to-face learning also allows people to have an organic conversation and build relationships in a more traditional way, enhancing their learning experience and increasing retention.

Cost effectiveness of online training

But all of these perks like instructors, equipment, and classrooms add up to a cost that can be quite surprising. The cost of personal training must take into account transportation, dining expenses, accommodation and more.

With online training, not only the real costs are eliminated, but also countless hours of time-on-task can be recovered because the users can make progress at a speed that they are familiar with in order to achieve the goals. In group sessions, everyone progresses at the same speed. Imagine you have 100 employees, and 50 of them only need 30 minutes to learn the same material that takes others a full hour. Why not earn that time back and get them to use it more strategically?

Online training can also reach a wider audience, and the material can be reused over and over again. Instead of hiring the expensive trainers to talk to a small group, you can offer complete courses that individuals or groups in an organization can access repeatedly – whenever they want and when they need it.

Online training is flexible

You can not beat the flexibility of asynchronous learning. Online training allows students to develop at their own pace that is comfortable for them and at a time that is comfortable for them. Some people may prefer to implement a program in small segments, while another prefers to get through it all at once – and that’s fine. Some people may learn best in the morning, while others prefer to engage in learning while on a quieter evening shift – also just fine.

Traditional personal training has a more rigid, formal schedule. In the past, at some point, all coaches alienated a particular group because the timing or pace did not match the need. Those students who finish quickly often disconnect or cause distraction, while those who take longer may feel rushed.

Personal training and overload of information

Participants in training sessions may be years removed from their last formal training. This can make these marathon training sessions quite a challenge. When I run a training session, we try to stick to 45-minute lectures if we are not doing some practical activities. Short, focused lectures keep people focused and do not bury them with information. Overloading information can lead to poor retention and lack of enthusiasm to continue learning.

Some workouts are not only long and intense, but they are also often one-and-done. What happens if you get a new job a week or two after an expensive personal training? Wait until next year? Rehabilitation for only one person? This kind of learning is not sustainable.

Select and select or use only one: There is a space in both approaches to eLearning

Today, online learning is ingrained as part of the typical workday for most employees and is baked into the employee experience. Keep the classrooms booked as needed and specify the sessions to be performed in person, but make sure you make the training as accessible and accommodating as it can be by offering appropriate learning activities online.

iTacit Front-Line Employee Platform + LMS

iTacit is a frontline employee platform that places all ‘work’ in one mobile-first, easily accessible place.

Originally published on blog.itacit.com.

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