E-learning versus classroom training: The case for an all-inclusive approach
10 Jun, 2020

How a blended approach to upskilling will reap greater rewards than an ‘either, or’ scenario.

During a time that now feels like it existed in an entirely different age, sitting down to a meal out was sometimes quite daunting. With everyone looking for the edge, you couldn’t blame restaurateurs doing the same in the menus they presented, and choosing what to eat for dinner became an onerous exercise rife with the potential for making The Wrong Choice. An entire evening’s tone would be set by your gastronomic selection, with the potential for a dud looming like a culinary Sword of Damocles.

The problem? Too much choice. But like Bilbo Baggins wrestling with relinquishing the One Ring, you were left feeling like too little butter spread thinly over bread. Returning from an inundation of food metaphors, the message is still clear – sometimes having too much from which to choose leaves one feeling as though no choice will be good enough.

Presented with just a few solid offers allows you to decide with greater consideration. Or not.

And here is where we come to the ‘meat’ of the article. Sometimes, it is in your best interests not to choose, but rather reach a compromise, where elements from everything on offer work better than abjuring whole possibilities.

We can apply this blended approach to how you decide to pursue the various training options available to you and the rest of your company, by presenting the advantages of the two main options currently most utilised – online and classroom training. Let’s dive in, shall we?

The pros of both traditional and E-Learning training

Even before the onset of COVID-19, many professionals had to weigh the different benefits of classroom versus online training, especially as we’re expected to function 24/7. The universal expectation is that a full-time job should not preclude anyone from at least attempting to improve their skills and qualifications through continued learning. But, working full-time (not to mention managing your personal life), means that you sometimes have to find creative ways to carry out your desire to study.

By providing a breakdown of the different ways both classroom and E-Learning can enhance your current skills set, you gain valuable insight on the way to proceed with future studies.

The benefits of classroom training

  • Classroom training allows learners to actively interact, engage with instructors and other fellow learners. The instructor can move the learners around, group them in different ways in order to provide the most effective learning experience.
  • Classroom training occurs in a controlled environment, with the trainer assuming the bulk of the responsibility for keeping learners involved and engaged.
  • If the number of learners is quite small, having a classroom setting allows for interaction, team bonding, and/or nonverbal communications, which are vital to achieving learning objectives. Role-play and simulations, often used in sales and management trainings, are perfect activities for live classroom trainings.
  • The group setting also teaches employees how to interact with one another in a professional, productive, cooperative way, which is something that other forms of training often don’t provide.
  • Training with a supervisor present means any mistake is corrected, even at the most fundamental level, with peer assistance also more available.
  • Discussions and debates are easier to conduct within a classroom setting.
  • The ability to clarify the doubt at the moment of need is best achieved in classroom learning.

The benefits of online training

  • When training is in a digital format, it is even more cost-effective because generating E-Learning content is cheaper than producing printed content for a traditional classroom.
  • An E-Learning environment can address far more students than the traditional, classroom environment. This is because the training can speak to any number of learners in multiple venues simultaneously, or at the students’ and facilitators’ convenience.
  • Allows time to be used more productively, as learners can use mobile devices to access learning materials, and transfer information between their devices to ensure it is always available to them.
  • Through social media and other readily available forums, E-Learning encourages interaction and collaboration between learners on an even greater level than in the traditional classroom setting. This has a lot to do with E-Learning taking place on mobile digital devices – on laptops, tablets and phones.
  • The course content and delivery is exactly the same each time. With E-Learning, you can ensure a standardised process and consistency in the delivery of content.
  • Courses are mostly delivered on Learning Management Systems (LMS), which allows automatic tracking and monitoring of learners’ progress, usage, and other parameters, and in an efficient manner.
  • An E-Learning course implements a common methodology and assessment for all learners. This ensures that universal standards are upheld for all certifications and qualifications earned through the course, regardless of where they are completed.
  • Learners are able to work at their own pace, and can take as many or as few courses as they wish. Their approach to the learning material and coursework can be tailored to suit their own particular learning style, allowing them to establish when they are most productive and empowering them to manage their own progress.
  • By allowing learners the flexibility and capability to take an individual approach to their learning, E-Learning increases learners’ retention and decreases their drop-out rates.
  • E-Learning prepares learners for a world increasingly reliant on technology, and provides them with the skills necessary to survive and thrive in such an environment. The net result of this is a more skilled and confident workforce – and a more competitive business.
  • Self-discipline and self-motivation in employees are desirable attributes, and these values will quickly become entrenched through the E-Learning platform.
  • With E-Learning, learning materials, media, and methods can be easily and cost-effectively adapted to meet specific criteria as and when they are needed, or amended to fit a particular approach when an employer or industry body requires it.

NOSA is aware of the benefits of both classroom and online training. Phase 3 of the nationwide lockdown has allowed us to reopen a selection of our physical training centres. This means whether you require training from a face-to-face perspective, or are happy to continue with a combination of Webinar sessions and E-Learning course options, NOSA’s got you covered.


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