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Training – Online or Not Online?

Whilst there may always be people who prefer the face-to-face experience of classroom training, there are many benefits to online training that should be considered when determining which method of training to utilize.

Here are my top considerations when determining whether to take your training online.

  1. Cost – It is far more cost effective to utilize online training (or e-Learning). For example, to get from ITIL Foundation to ITIL Expert (including examinations) can cost in the region of $17K USD in the classroom as compared with $4K USD online.  Add to this the travel costs often incurred to attend a course; accommodation costs when daily travel would be excessive; and online training becomes a lucrative alternative.
  2. Flexibility – Students can decide when they want to undertake the training. They can have access to the training for a specified period of time and can stop and start whenever they want. They do the training at their preferred time. Online training can also be scheduled around workload and therefore reduce the chances of lost productivity. Students can also schedule training around their personal commitments rather than having to schedule personal commitments around classroom training.
  3. Pace – Not only do students do the training on their time, they also do it at their own pace. People absorb information and learn at different rates, which is a significant advantage of online training. Rather than be constrained by the pace of a classroom lecturer and then forced to take an examination at the end of the course, online students can go back over training material as many times as they like before they take an exam. Comprehension questions at the end of a course tests an individual’s knowledge so they can focus on reviewing portions of a course where knowledge is lacking as many times as they like before having to undertake the examination. This dramatically increases the chances of passing the examination first time.
  4. Confidence – Taking exams is never a pleasant experience! But due to the ability to learn when you want, where you want and at your own pace with online training, it increases confidence in being able to pass the examination and makes it a less onerous experience.
  5. Pace – Online training students can study and take exams wherever they wish. This could be the office, home or any other remote location as long as they have the connectivity required. They can train and take exams in a comfortable and relaxed environment therefore enhancing the experience.
  6. Timeliness – You can get training when you need it and do not have to wait for the next available classroom-training course or for one to be scheduled. Many classroom-training providers do not have all their courses scheduled frequently due to low demand and therefore there could be a significant wait for a classroom course to be scheduled in your locality.
  7. Consistency – For organizations seeking to train a large number of people they are assured of consistency of the training and the messages delivered when using an online training option. Classroom courses delivered by different trainers, in different locations, can vary in focus, message and delivery.
  8. Next Generation. A large portion of today’s workforce gathers and source information from the Internet. Getting online is already their prime learning tool. They have most likely utilized online learning at school and college. Therefore, they are far more comfortable with online learning than the classroom experience.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, online training may not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s horses for courses. Also, some courses may not scale to online delivery due to the course content.

However, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each type of delivery. In some situations a hybrid solution may be appropriate where there is a combination of both online and classroom training within a training program.

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