The popularity of elearning as a training mechanism has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of decades. This is one business trend that is clearly not going away any time soon. Does this mean that traditional classroom learning is going away? Not likely. Although both learning styles are used frequently in the business world to train employees, companies sometimes don’t realize that elearning can provide the benefits of both.
What makes Elearning different from Traditional Learning?
An article on EZTalks describes the big difference between traditional learning and elearning as “the classroom vs. the computer”.
Traditional learning typically involves a group of people sitting in a room listening to an instructor teach certain skills with given materials. While this is still a good way to teach certain types of training, it may not be the best for most companies. This type of training is suited towards field training or other hands-on training in which an employee must use the skills quickly.
Elearning, or online learning, is training that takes place in an online setting. Most of this training is done on a computer at the employee’s leisure without an instructor present. All the necessary training materials are in the online course and easily accessible to the learner.
Both types of learning are designed in a way to benefit different areas of the corporate world. However, is one truly better than the other?
Is one better than the other?
This question is in hot debate right now with students of all ages working and learning from home. Both are effective ways for people to learn. One is not necessarily better than the other, but one may be better for certain types of training over another.
Traditional learning provides access to an instructor and other students that elearning may not. This access is ideal for students who struggle with keeping on track with a more structured learning course or with the material. However, even if the materials and instructor are present, the training is only as good as the instructor teaching the course. Plus, unless the training is interactive, it is very easy for the learners to lose focus.
As mentioned above, it is also ideal for hands-on field training in which a skilled instructor is needed and many employees need to pick up on the information quickly and at the same time. Elearning has its own advantages and is ideal for a more corporate world in which employees can pursue training while they continue with their own day to day tasks.
Advantages of Elearning
Less time commitment
In the business world, time is productivity and productivity is money. According to an article from eLearning Industry, elearning can decrease employee training time by 40-60%. With elearning, employees can complete training in their own time and still have time to focus on their own day to day tasks. Elearning allows them to fit training into their schedules to best maximize their own productivity. This way, they aren’t taking time away from the company. People want flexibility with their training, to work on their own time and at their own pace. Having training available on an elearning platform makes it easier to update content and materials quickly so that the information is always relevant.
Elearning also saves time and travel. Traveling to a classroom, whether in another location or even in their own office building takes time away from an employee’s day that they could be using to complete other important tasks.
If a company has a traditional training course, this means that they will have to employ an instructor, pay for their employees to travel, and possibly pay for instructional materials to be printed. In an elearning environment, there is no need for an instructor or travel and all the necessary materials are included in the course. This saves a company money on multiple fronts.
Employee Engagement through Elearning
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages to using elearning is employee engagement. With so many of us on our phones or on the internet, we are used to drawing information from something online. With elearning, there is more flexibility with materials that can be used to entertain while they teach. If an employee has fun while they are learning something, they are more likely to retain that knowledge for the future. In an article by Andrew Heikkila on eLearning Industry, elearning can boost employee knowledge retention by 25-60%. Elearning provides the unique opportunity for employees to learn through play and pick up on skills and information quickly.
While traditional learning is something that will never go away completely, it may not be the best choice for most companies. With the growth of new technology and ease of access to new learning methods, elearning is a tool that will only continue to grow. By using elearning in place of traditional learning, companies can train any number of employees at any time. Elearning also saves time, money, and keeps employees engaged in the content. In the age of technology, elearning is a great option for training in any industry.