Pros and Cons of Online Training
The debate of online versus in-person learning has been going on for several years now, and has not slowed down with the pandemic generating a need for more online learning opportunities. But how effective is online learning really? While studies show online training can be just as effective as in-person training, we’re going to explore the pros and cons!
Let’s start with the cons of online training. Contrary to what you may think, online learning doesn’t present many downsides, especially to the student. In fact, two of the more common complaints surrounding online learning are as follows:
- May not be as personal - In-person training allows you to ask questions right then and there and is guided during the designated time of training. There’s more opportunity for conversations that allow adaptations based on trainee needs. However, this often overlooks in-person, group training which is cost effective, but can lead to team members not asking questions and staggered pacing.
- May not be as professional - This is more likely to be a concern managers have. If training includes professional conduct, the trainee will be able to adapt to the professional workspace more quickly. Professional training is more challenging to ensure and enforce when the training is conducted online. In most cases though, training gives supplemental information and skill enhancement, so professionalism may not be the priority in these situations.
With the cons of online training taken care of, let’s move on to the pros. You’ll notice this list is slightly longer than the cons, but it’s up to each organization to determine where their priorities lie.
- Go at your own pace - Everyone learns in different ways and at different speeds, and online training caters to this very well. Trainees can take things at their own pace, advancing once they feel comfortable and repeating sessions as they feel necessary. Individuals can monitor their own progress and see how they’re doing without the worry of keeping up with classmates or going too far ahead of others.
- From the comfort of their own home - Or anywhere else! Online training can be completed anywhere, as long as the internet connection is sufficient. Trainees can work on their training on the side without the stress of getting somewhere on time or being busy with something else. Training can even be completed over the weekend while having your morning coffee in your pajamas!
- Online training is more modern - This doesn’t just mean the practice of online training is modern. The actual content included in online training is more likely to be up-to-date on trends. Online material is often revisited for updates and maintenance, so the content is more likely to be revised than a training presentation that has stayed in HR for the past decade.
- Increased accessibility - As alluded to when discussing training from a place of comfort, online training can be done almost anywhere, meaning it is significantly more accessible than in-person training! There are few limitations to online training and students around the world have a chance to learn together.
- You get a variety - Online training means it’s probably more up-to-date but it also means there’s more flexibility in the types of training available. Educational options can range from readings, presentations, videos, quizzes, interactive projects, and more. Trainees may have the option to pick what kind of preparation works best for them, and companies can take advantage of the ability to provide more options to be more appealing.
So why is online training so effective? For one, it’s practical for both the trainers and the trainees. Timelines are flexible and suit multiple lifestyles, whether you’re full-time, part-time, a working student or other, online training works on your schedule.
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