eLearning vs classroom: the battle of the training format…

Round 1

Measuring effectiveness

One of the major benefits of eLearning for both the learner and the organisation, is that it is much easier to measure and report on.

A learning management system provides instant, accurate reporting and the ability to track progress through a course.

An organisation using an LMS can also create individual training records for all employees in order to track progress across different training formats. The L&D manager can create a dashboard based management information (MI)report of all the training and learning activity delivered.

Although the LMS can help with measuring the effectiveness of classroom training, eLearning MI is instant and information is contain within the system on anyone enrolled on an eLearning course delivered from within the system.

Round 2

Accessibility

The clear advantage for eLearning is the fact that it can be accessed anywhere and anytime, as long as you have access to a device with an internet connection. This provides learners with the flexibility to learn in their own way and not be constrained by set times and locations. Accessibility also offers the opportunity for just-in-time learning where employees can access information as and when they need it for example with new starters or prior to access to client/contractor premises.

Round 3

Dedicated time out

One of the clear advantages of classroom training over eLearning is taking dedicated time out to learn. A scheduled time and location ensures that the learner is focusing on the training and not doing it alongside other tasks that day. This ensures that full attention is being given to the learning. Organisations can provide staff with scheduled time to study online, but the act of going to a class with other learners without distractions is beneficial to the learning experience.

Round 4

Adaptable

Classroom training can be adapted to the needs of the cohort. Questions and discussions will give a tutor a clear picture of any gaps in knowledge and what areas are of particular interest and need further/deeper discussion and support. Elearning can be adapted to the needs of the organisation, but it cannot be responsive in the same way a tutor in a classroom can. 

Round 5

Cost savings and time efficiency

eLearning can significantly reduce your training costs. According to a study by Tata Infotech, companies can save 32% in costs simply by choosing eLearning as a method of training delivery.

As well as saving money, eLearning saves time. By opting to use eLearning, users can train at a time suitable to them.

Round 6

Meeting the needs of shift/home workers

As many people now work in shifts or from home or at multiple sites, keeping track on their learning and trying to get all staff together in one place for regular training can be a headache for the L&D manager.

Allowing people to log in from any internet enabled location at any convenient time will ensure everyone is up to date with no excuses. 

Round 7

Immediate support and valuable feedback

eLearning can provide feedback to users and virtual forums; tutors and other learners can provide this valuable part of the learning experience. However, classroom learning naturally provides this environment. The tutor is able to continually assess the learning and can seek clarification from the class that they understand. Classroom sessions enhance learning by the inclusion of human interaction.

Round 8

Tackle additional subjects and questions

Classroom learning allows the tutor to tackle additional related subjects and questions that arise outside of the standard remit of the course. Although questions can be posted online and discussions can take place in forums, additional questioning happens naturally in the classroom environment.

As subject matter experts are on hand, they can give on the spot practical help and relate to their own experiences.

Round 9

Sustainability

A research study concluded that online learning produces 85% less CO2 and consumes 90% less energy per student than traditional classroom based training. eLearning only requires a device with internet access, whereas it is likely that with classroom learning, the students will all need to travel and potentially use a number of printed learning materials.

Round 10

Commitment

eLearning takes commitment, it takes a great deal of self-discipline to stick to a self-development routine and study from an eLearning portal. Classrooms, however, have the advantage that once you turn up you have little option but to participate and learn.

So which is best?

When deciding which learning method would suit, there will be a number of considerations you need may need to think about.

You’ve got to decide which method will suit your budget and the learning styles and preferences of the students. You may also need to consider shift patterns, the outcome and measurement of learning and also the flexibility of the training provider.

Both learning methods offer different experiences and benefits for both the individual learner and the organisation. It might be beneficial for some organisations to develop blended learning, which will can reduce the amount of classroom time needed and can be arrange as a tailored course to suit.

To sum up, both methods offer an organisation differing but equally important benefits. The key point for anyone organising training is to consider all the advantages and challenges of both formats and make an informed decision based on the company’s needs.

Post date: 15 Jul 2014

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