Online vs face-to-face training – what’s your preference?
It’s not surprising that e-learning continues to grow in popularity. Learning online is now well-established as a valid way of gaining skills when you need them. But which do you prefer, online or face-to-face training?
In my opinion we all learn in different ways. How much time you want to dedicate to learning a new skill can be an important factor in deciding the right method. But is there one method you prefer? I think both have their merits, and below I’ve listed some of the key advantage I see in each.
Advantages of online learning
- Self paced – With work/life balance being so important to working many Australian’s, having the ability to learn in your own time and at your own pace cannot be underestimated.
- Self directed – Learn a skill when you need to learn a skill. There’s truth in the saying, you don’t know what you don’t know. Being able to spend an hour or so to learning the correct way to complete a process is satisfying, and can help save time later.
- Targeted learning – Often classroom training includes topics or sessions covering information you already know quite well. With online learning you can cherry pick courses that cover a topic you specifically need to know more about.
- Unique learning opportunities – It’s far easier for an education institution or company to provide less-popular courses online. eLearning platforms don’t have the same extensive over-head fees, such as hiring a classroom or speaker, and courses can be offered regardless of how many people attend.
Not limited by time or geography.
Advantages of face-to-face learning
- Q&A – Question time is a great way to get even more out of a course. Many times another attendee will ask a question you may not have considered that will help you gain an important insight.
- Engaging – Being face-to-face with a trainer can be far more engaging than having material displayed on a computer screen. Good trainers know how to mix up the learning experience by getting learners involved, providing visual stimulation, use good non-verbal cues and providing interesting real-life examples.
- Engage with your peers – Naturally being in a classroom environment means you’ll get to meet others who may offer interesting insights into their experiences that are incredibly valuable to your work or learning.
- Greater commitment – Dedicating a day or half a day to spend at a training session can focus your attention more acutely to the task which can help the information be more easily digested.
Have you experienced both delivery styles and prefer one over the other? I’d like to hear your experiences.