If you have yet to try online training for your business, you could be missing out on its massive benefits. But is online training appropriate for every business and every training need that your company has? Read on to find out. Learn the pros and cons of online versus physical training, and get some tips on how to choose the ideal method for your business needs and how to make the most of each.
Let’s start by looking at how each works:
How Does Online Training Work?
Online training/Digital Training is delivered online. With this kind of training, you can access it anywhere and at any time. Think of the video courses you may have done or the written material, perhaps a PDF that was sent to you to take you through a course. This kind of training is also often more affordable.
How Does Physical Training Work?
In-person training is delivered by a live instructor and often takes place in a training facility, like a conference room or perhaps even a dedicated classroom (if your company has one). You would have an afternoon freed up, get your team to the training room, and provide snacks for them (is it even training if there are no snacks?)
Now each of the training has its pros and cons, as well as who it works for, where, and when. So let’s dive right into each and find out which one is better for you.
Online Training Pros and Cons
Online training is becoming increasingly popular, offering several advantages over traditional in-person training. However, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.
- Access to training anytime, anywhere: This goes without saying. But we’ll say it anyway. With online training, your team can learn on their own time and from anywhere (no need for conference hall bookings or classrooms).
- Multi-Device access: With an internet connection (and sometimes without), your team can access the learnings on their phones, laptops, and PCs – with Zydii’s services, even the people with feature phones can access SMS-based learning, so you have no limits to where people access the learnings.
- Self-paced learning: Your team progresses through the learning at their own pace. The more busy team members can learn in their free time without disrupting the learning schedule of the other team members.
- More affordable: Deduct the traveling costs to the training facility, accommodation costs, the cost of setting up, the time-cost of taking a whole day or half-day for training, and let’s not forget the snacks, and you have yourself a lot of costs saved with online training.
- Interactive and engaging: Now hear me out… With online learning, it’s possible to mix up videos, audio, simulations, quizzes, and games, all of which make for an interactive learning experience.
- Easier to track: You can find out exactly who has taken the online course, how far they are in the course, and whether or not they have grasped the content through quizzes, for instance. Zydii’s platform, in particular, also allows you to view team progress reports at any time. Win for you and the company, right?
- Can be isolating: Online learning doesn’t often provide opportunities to interact with each other or the instructor. This can be a problem for people who learn best by interacting with others.
- Lack of social interaction: Online training can also lack social interaction, depending on how it’s structured. This can be a problem for people who value the social aspect of learning.
- Can be difficult to stay motivated: You’ve probably started a course online and left it halfway because there was no one to push you along. And for those who are easily distracted or have trouble staying focused? Finishing a digital course becomes even harder.
Pro Tip: Some platforms take steps to enable high engagement by actively working to motivate learners. At Zydii, for instance, we make learning fun, have constant reminders, and provide exciting activities, including games, to keep motivation high throughout the training. Interested to hear more about our online training? Request a demo here.
So, is digital training right for you?
Ultimately, this depends on your company’s needs and preferences. If you are looking for a flexible, affordable, and self-paced learning option, digital training may be a good fit. However, if you value social interaction and the opportunity to interact with an instructor, then you may want to consider a more traditional in-person training option.
Here are some tips for making the most of digital training:
- Set goals: Before you start, set some specific goals for your training. This will help you stay motivated and focused.
- Choose a partner that allows the ability to get comprehensive progress checks on your team’s learning, so you can measure ROI more accurately.
- Incorporate multiple forms of learning. That includes video, simulations, live interactive learning (at Zydii, we call these Virtual Lives, where your team can ask questions to the expert instructors in real-time as they learn), and gamified activities to keep things interesting.
- Get involved in your team’s training. As the HR or business owner, your involvement in your team’s learning and development is critical to its success. So encourage them, consider taking a course yourself to show support, and keep tabs on their performance so you can assist.
- Seek customization where possible when choosing your digital training partners. That could be by adding your branding or getting training on specific areas key to your teams and tailored for your industry.
Physical Training Pros and Cons
Physical training/ in-person training has been around for centuries and is still very widely used to date. Here are some of the pros of in-person training:
- Engaging and Interactive: When learners are in the same room as the instructor, they can ask questions, participate in discussions, and get feedback in real-time. This can help them better understand and retain the material for longer.
- Practical: In-person training is often very practical. It is especially helpful for training on the use of machinery, for instance, that wouldn’t be possible with digital training.
- Easy to build relationships: Physical training enables the learners to grow their relationship with each other, as well as with the instructor as they get to interact and have conversations. This can create a sense of community and support that can benefit employees in the workplace.
- Customization: In-person training can be customized to the organization’s and its employees’ specific needs. This can ensure that the training is relevant and practical.
- High costs: In-person training is often more expensive than digital training. Using facilities, materials, instructors, and time away from work add up to the final costs. Let’s not forget the snacks.
- Time commitment: In-person training can require a significant time commitment from learners. Those whole-day training sessions eat into busy employees’ schedules and can become challenging. That’s inclusive of finding a time that works for everyone.
- Requires travel: Where your teams are scattered across different branches, you would need to get them all in a central location, which is often a challenge to the employees who may be late or face other challenges traveling.
- A lack of flexibility: In-person training is typically offered at specific times and locations. This can make it difficult for learners to attend if they have work or family commitments.
- Hard to measure: How can you really tell who was attentive? Or who was present throughout? Especially when you have a large team that needs training.
Here’s a snapshot of each method of training and what it offers:
|In-Person Training||Digital Training|
|Cost||High cost – materials, location, and instructor raise the cost||Low-cost|
|Time Commitment||Requires synchronized time commitment from the team||Can be taken at any time by the team|
|Flexibility||Teams must be physically present||Can be taken from anywhere|
|Progress Tracking||Can track attendance but hard to track individual progress||Can track attendance and individual progress|
|Engagement||Very engaging with the possibility of hands-on practical activities||Engaging, especially when mixed media is used, including videos, quizzes, and additions like competitions|
|Accessibility||Accessible only by physically attending the training||Accessible in multiple forms, including on mobile, computer, or laptop|
|Learning Mode||At the pace of the instructor and the rest of the team||Self-paced learning, accommodating different time commitments, availabilities, and strengths|
|Community||Creates a sense of community as people interact with each other||Hard to create a sense of community without deliberate effort|
Choosing the Right Training Approach for Your Business: Physical vs. Online Training
The industry your business is in and the specific areas your team needs training on will often determine the method of training you pick.
Physical training shines in fields and skills that demand physical presence. For instance:
- The nurse that’s learning how to perform delicate procedures would learn best under the watchful eye of an experienced instructor.
- The construction worker who needs to learn how to operate machinery will learn best by watching and trying the machine for themselves on-site.
Online training, on the other hand, is ideal for industries that:
- Require quick sharing of information and consistent updates.
- Have team members scattered across different locations.
- Don’t require hands-on learning, such as soft skills training like communication and teamwork.
So where does your company fall? What training method would be suitable for you? It all depends on the nature of your workforce.
Remember that you can always pick out a blended form of learning that combines the strengths of both in-person and online training for the most comprehensive and impactful results.
As you navigate the training landscape, choose the approach that will empower your employees, enhance their skills, and contribute to your business’s long-term success. And lastly, if you’re still unsure how to train your people, or need to compare your current training process, here’s a quick guide to effective training.