Classroom-based or E-learning:
Which is Best for Your Business?
Do you currently offer in-house continued learning opportunities for your employees? Or are you considering implementing a workforce training program? The options and available training programs for employers can seem overwhelming. And at the forefront of the debate over workplace training is the method of delivery. Technology has made a big impact on workplace training, resulting in two primary training methods being implemented today: classroom-based and e-learning.
We've compiled a list of pros and cons to decide if e-learning or classroom-based learning is best for your organization.
Traditionally, classroom-based learning is what we know and understand. It's how many of us were taught everything from history to the ABCs to algebra. We know that it works, and it's only natural to feel that it's the best method for training within your organization. Here are some of the pros and cons of classroom-based learning:
- Team spirit
When employees engage in classroom-based training, they are working together toward a common goal. Whether for new employees (who may not know anyone in the company), or ongoing training for your current employees, classroom training presents an opportunity to both share knowledge and build your team spirit.
- Increased people skills
If your organization works one-on-one with clients or customers, classroom training can be helpful. Role playing, group idea sessions and other group-oriented activities in a classroom setting can provide an opportunity for your team to bounce ideas off each other, and learn more from the training than what is on the syllabus.
If all of your team is engaged in a training session (or repeated sessions), it can temporarily eat your hourly productivity. Although the benefits of ongoing training may outweigh the short-term negatives, your organization may not be able to take the short-term hours hit of a classroom training program.
With classroom training, it can be difficult to establish consistency with the actual trainer. Differences in the trainer can lead to misinformation, confusion, or a lack of attention within the training sessions. If you elect to implement classroom training in your organization, it's important to define who will teach what, and outline the goals for each class.
- No schedule conflicts
E-learning can be completed at any time (including outside of the 9-5), and by any combination of employees, preventing any mass lack of coverage or scheduling conflicts that can occur with classroom-based training.
- Instant training plans
Most e-learning training includes a full plan. Just identify your training goals, and you'll likely be able to find an e-learning offering that encompasses the entire training plan, and not just a step or two.
What's best for your business?
E-learning is completed with a computer, and possibly a headset. Some sessions may be a few hours or more. It can get a little boring after a while! As opposed to classroom learning, where employees are encouraged to work in teams, and can work together to learn and solve problems, e-learning is more solitary. Depending on how you look at it, this can also prove to be a benefit, as distractions are minimized.
- Most are memorization based
Since e-learning is a solitary training method, the information learned tends to be memorization based. This can be a benefit for fields where many laws, regulations, or other large amounts of information are required. For other industries, it may not be a fit.
In today's workplace, many companies use a combination of in-person and computer-based interaction with their clients and employees, so the best answer may be a combination of classroom-based and e-learning opportunities. To determine the best option for your business, look at how your team learns best and what you hope to accomplish with the training.