As a trainer, the introduction of eLearning in the early 2000’s and its subsequent growth, can seem like a significant threat to our role. Replacing facilitator led or face to face training with a cheaper and seemingly easier way of upskilling staff, has great appeal for businesses.
Training delivered online through a Learning Management System (LMS), is certainly a smart option for businesses. It is a convenient means of delivering training, allowing employees to access and complete courses through their PC, laptop, tablet or even their mobile phone.
It is also cost effective, particularly for those businesses who have outlets or offices nationally or even globally. No longer are they faced with the substantial costs involved in getting staff to a venue, which regularly includes travel expenses, accommodation and a mountain of other expenses. Learners can complete training at their own pace, in their own home or work location.
eLearning is a great way of onboarding new staff, upskilling in basic product knowledge and the introduction of simple policies and procedures. For training of more humanistic subjects such as sales and customer service however, face to face training is still ideal.
While modern eLearning platforms do provide the ability for learners to be part of discussion groups, the value participants obtain from real life group discussions, as well as hearing the experiences and insights of others, adds great depth to the learning experience. Not to mention the morale and motivation boost that comes from gathering a team in one location, who may otherwise never get the opportunity to put a face to a name or to the voice on the other end of the phone.
When staff physically attend training, a facilitator has the ability to guide learning, respond to live questions and recap or review where necessary. Although online learning has the ability to create quizzes, tests and assignments to assist learners in understanding and recalling information, there isn’t the ability to apply newly learned skills in role plays and other activities often included in live training sessions or workshops.
eLearning is certainly a great platform for businesses to upskill, refresh and develop their team however, there is still a place for face to face learning or even blended learning; with a combination of online and classroom training. Through offering an array of subjects through various training methods, both personal and business growth can be the result.