Online & Virtual Training – The Dawn of a New Era in Ireland

by Eoin Philip Kelly | April 10, 2020 | Blended ISO Training , CQI and IRCA , EU MDR , ISO 13485:2016 , ISO 22000:2018 , ISO 9001:2015 , Medical Device Regulatory Affairs , Online ISO Training , Quality , Regulatory Affairs , Virtual Training , |

Online & Virtual Training – The Dawn of a New Era in Ireland

The current crisis has certainly brought a lot into perspective, whether in one’s personal or professional life. In training in Ireland, I believe that we are starting to see the dawn of a new era.

For anyone familiar with Comply Guru, and our ‘story’, you will know that for the last 2 years we have been championing and pioneering online & blended (online & classroom) training in the areas of Quality Management (ISO 9001, ISO 13485) and we are now entering the arena of Regulatory Affairs in the Medical Device Industry (EU MDR, Risk/ISO 14971, IVDR, etc). We don’t intend to stop there and we intend to continually expand our offerings – a world of ‘limitless’ possibilities.

Online & virtual training are nothing new though – and for many familiar with these formats, this blog may sound strange to claim its the dawn of a “new” era, but in the areas I am directly talking about (in Ireland), it IS!

I believe that as a result of Covid-19, there will be a new perspective & a new dawn in training (in Ireland) – or what I would like to call, an accelerated transition to online & virtual classroom training (something I felt would ‘naturally’ happen over time – as it already has in the U.S.). Many training providers are currently adapting to the current circumstances to offer virtual classroom training – and once these unprecedented times pass (and I hope that’s soon!), I believe there will be a growing interest & demand for both online & virtual classroom training, as alternatives to traditional classroom training. The current pandemic has ‘catapulted’ online & virtual training into the spotlight (for those in need of or seeking training).

Key Differences between Online vs. Classroom/Virtual Classroom Training

  1. Format & Availability – traditional or virtual classroom training requires everyone to attend together on a specific time & date – whereas with “fully online” training, it is self-paced and available to be completed anytime, anywhere (24/7/365) offering the most convenience & flexibility! Hence online training is not the same as virtual training – so be mindful of the ‘subtle but significant’ difference!
  2. Course Design & Interactivity – not all online or classroom/virtual training courses are the same – even if they are certified! There are different ways to approach designing any course & one should look to understand the approach each Provider has taken in relation to their course design (their methodology!) or you might find yourself experiencing “Death by Video or PowerPoint” with very little interactivity & engagement during the course which are really important for learning effectiveness. A well-designed online course needs to provide a ‘self-contained’ means for Learners (of varying abilities & experience) to learn at their own pace, and on their own schedule – whereas a well designed virtual classroom course will maintain high levels of interaction & collaboration between the Learners which is really important (including regular breaks & including a ‘mix’ of self-managed and social learning activities) and as such, there are a significant number of design considerations with each approach (online or virtual or classroom), in addition to the supports that need to be in place for any format.
  3. Pricing – a ‘hot’ topic & I frequently face an expectation that online training should be cheaper than classroom or virtual classroom training. Pricing will vary based on the format – and any Provider may value or price their course differently – and I will try & explain why – by focusing on online training (one format). The cost of developing a high quality online course (incl. provision of the necessary supports that need to be in place) can be as much as 10x higher compared to designing a classroom (or virtual) training course. PLUS the ‘training delivery or hosting’ costs for the Provider for each format are different. With online training, there are notable costs with LMS Hosting & ensuring suitable Learner supports are in place (including I.T./Admin/Virtual Instructor Assistance); which make it uniquely different from classroom or virtual training!

As a small startup, Comply Guru set out to specialise in online & blended training from day 1 and we have achieved multiple accreditations through CQI & IRCA for our ‘industry-leading’ online & blended programs – and just last month, we also received approval to offer virtual training to enable us to convert the classroom portion of our blended programs to a ‘virtual classroom’. A welcome development.

In this blog, I wanted to comment on what I feel are some of the big differences between online versus virtual classroom or traditional classroom training – and some of the key considerations anyone should look for in deciding which option will work best for their learning needs.

In conclusion, each “format” has different considerations when it comes to deciding what the best option is & everyone is different. Some will prefer online training, others will prefer either classroom format. These developments should be welcomed as opening up more options for all Learners.

At Comply Guru, we are passionate about ensuring that all our online or virtual/classroom courses are highly interactive & engaging using various ways to try and cater for as many ‘learning styles’ as we can, plus ensuring we have the necessary supports in place for our customers – but also, that we maintain a competitive pricing structure.

If you are interested in trialing one of our courses, we do offer several short demo courses that you can sign up for here for FREE.


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