Classroom Training vs. Online Training – Which is Better?
The value of a live, instructor-led training experience is undeniable. If the instructor is a competent teacher who knows how to engage adult students so that they understand and retain the material, live classroom training offers the most bang for your training buck.
But it’s difficult to give workers time out of the office and the price of gas will probably never drop below $3.50 per gallon again. If you need highly specialized training, there may not be a training facility anywhere near you that can meet your needs. Online training looks like the solution.
Part of what makes this decision difficult is that people are not aware of what online training really consists of or what forms it can take. Here’s a quick breakdown of the kinds of online training. Some of them might be new to you.
The 6 Types of Online Training
- Web pages with text information for learning courseware instead of a printed book. The web pages contain explanatory material, step-by-step instructions, and screenshots.
- Ebook courseware, with explanatory material, step-by-step instructions, and screenshots.
- Interactive learning with audio, video, and clickable elements onscreen like quizzes.
- Screencasts, which are recorded video of onscreen actions in a software application, usually with voice-over narration.
- Webinars, which often consist of a shared group environment online for chat, audio, video, and whiteboard. These can be participated in live when they run or watched as recordings after the live event.
- ILEs, which are interactive learning environments. ILEs offer a comprehensive learning program that often incorporate all of the above methods. Whereas the above methods are often paid for as individual products, ILEs are often purchased as a recurring membership.
Classroom training is still the most effective because of the live, dynamic interactions between the students and the instructor. Except for live webinars, this interaction does not exist in any of the other online training methods mentioned above. However, there is a solution that offers the best of both worlds.
Remote Classroom Instruction
In Remote Classroom Instruction (RCI), A student take a class where by using a regular conference call, two monitors, and some special software, the live classroom experience is gained. The student only has to travel a short distance to an RCI-enabled training facility. If such a facility is set up within a company, no travel is required at all.
So Which is Better?
One size does not fit all. It depends on your needs.
- Generally, live classroom training is better for beginners or students who are below-average in their computer and internet skills.
- For intermediate and advanced students, online learning such as can be found in an ILE is extremely cost- and time-effective.
- For advanced technical classes, the sophistication of the questions and discussions needed to learn point to remote classroom instruction as the best method.