The Big Debate: Online/Blended Training Vs. Classroom Training

by Eoin Philip Kelly | January 14, 2019 | Blog , eLearning , Quality , |

The Big Debate: Online/Blended Training Vs. Classroom Training

One of the biggest debates in the training industry is what is better: online, blended or classroom training? The answer to that question is that it is different based on various factors. I will try to explain my views based on my experience & what I see in the Industry.

The Industry Is Changing

Online training is becoming more and more popular. Why?

There are three aspects to this: the learner, the buyer/decision maker & the training provider.

For the learner, there is generally a preference to reduce time spent away from home, work & travelling – including the associated travel expenses!

For the buyer/decision maker, who is not always the same ‘person’ that will complete the training, there are similar concerns in addition to wanting to source someone local (preferably) and to keep costs down – particularly when looking to train a group of learners.

For the training provider, the challenges include trying to ensure we can meet the preferred delivery dates, have the right Instructor available & meet the clients budgetary requirements.

So, no matter which category you fall into above, online training offers a more modern approach to training through utilization of all the advances made in technology & these factors (combined) are really driving demand for online training higher and higher.

The Resistance

Many of us grew up in a world dominated by “classroom-based” training which all started back when we first started school, through college and all the way up to any professional training we may have completed either with or for work. It is a learning format that many will be most comfortable with & trust for the simple reason: it is what they know. And of course, online training is not going to appeal to everyone.

A well-designed online course offers the flexibility of an effective learning solution that can be completed anytime, anywhere and at your own pace. The benefits over classroom training are not just in cost or convenience, but also in learning effectiveness.

Where Online Training Works Best

This type of learning solution is best suited to “knowledge” based learning. For example, if you wish to gain an understanding of the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 (Quality Management) – this is a knowledge-based learning objective – and an online course is a great way to achieve your learning objective with all the benefits an online course offers and avoid the hassle & costs of sourcing a classroom course.

In the Compliance sector, standards, rules & regulations are always changing!  A great way to either gain an understanding of any requirements/regulations or stay up-to-date with any changes is through online training. It can also be a more effective way to learn as its 1:1 training – and if well designed, it will be very engaging & highly interactive but also offer access to a real, live Expert if needed should you need more support of if you get stuck. Many people can get lost in classrooms or find the training dominated by others in classes they attend. Not with online training, it places each Learner at the center!

Where Blended Training Works Best

It is very difficult to effectively train a Learner on new skills in a solely online environment as effective learning requires human-interaction such as role plays and more direct guidance than a classroom to ensure that the new skills are effectively obtained. And that’s where blended training comes in!

So, what is blended training? Blended training is delivered both online and, in the classroom, – I call it the best of both worlds as blended training enables the training provider to cover any knowledge-based learning objectives online and reduce the onsite classroom time, but not just that. By covering the knowledge-based objectives online – you can also better prepare learners for the onsite portion & enable an improved focus on the skills-based objectives that you wish to cover in the classroom. A win-win for both the learner and the training provider!

Where Does That Leave Classroom Training

There is no question that attending a classroom training event can be really enjoyable and highly effective – we cannot underestimate the importance of human interaction in training. If there is a real subject-matter expert who is also an engaging, effective instructor – it can be a fantastic learning experience.

However, with many organizations becoming more and more cost conscious to make those training budgets stretch, classroom training is really ‘at a premium’ and out of the reach of many – either due to costs or maybe there is not a provider or course that you can avail of near you!

For short, knowledge-based training – I think online training is an ideal solution. For longer courses or skills-based training – blended training is a ‘best of both’ to enable a reduction in classroom time, without compromising on learning effectiveness & the quality of the training provided.

If you are interested in sampling online training, at Comply Guru™ we are offering some free, short online courses covering an introduction to ISO 9001:2015 Training, ISO 13485:2016 Training & ISO 22000:2018 Training. So why not give it a try and see what you think! It’s completely free and it might just surprise you!

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