Online training has become a large part of workplace education, and it now eclipses offline learning in measures of efficiency and engagement.
It’s not hard to understand why. Technology has by and large allowed us to eliminate a lot of redundant tasks from most of our daily lives, so perhaps it’s not surprising that we celebrate it happening to workplace training, a necessary evil.
There are many reasons why it’s taken off, some obvious, some not. The biggest is inarguably that it’s cheaper – courses online are not only priced lower to begin with, but eliminate most of the additional costs for businesses, such as venues, trainers and travel. In our technological age, it’s almost a given that there will be a computer accessible nearby. Simply logon, complete the training and head back to work.
That’s not to mention the other key benefit – you don’t need to be anywhere other than in front of a computer with an internet connection. Strictly speaking, even thatisn’t a requirement now, with so many devices having browsers and Wi-Fi being prevalent throughout many modern workplaces. But why else is online training so common now? We’ve established several reasons why.
Online training can be much more time efficient if the course content is already largely known; with a large portion of training being mandatory training or refresher courses, there’s a real sense of déjà vu that comes with repeated education. With offline training, all one can do is simply wait for the moment to pass, which can lead to disengagement on behalf of the employee.
With the advent of online learning though, the trainee can go at their own pace. If you already know it, you click once and move on. It feels much more respectful of your time and skills and therefore the chance to lose interest drops considerably, not to mention the working time spent on relearning decreasing. Similarly, the online aspect of the course means information is sent digitally; there’s no waiting for printouts of certificates or filling in various test forms. Likewise, there’s next to no waiting time for feedback on progression, with most digital teaching now featuring a simple checkbox that establishes a passing or failing grade almost instantly.
Beyond making it more accessible, we can appreciate that standards have improved – freed from the classroom and the lecturer-learner dynamic, the focus is simply on the student and the experience, and this has given rise to different ways of engaging the student. Long gone are the days where a PowerPoint presentation was lazily called “learning”; now, having audio-visual components are commonplace, to say nothing of the content sometimes available for download, such as e-books, and interactive lessons and seminars that can offer greater enjoyment and digestion of the material.
We also appreciate that sometimes learning can be as much of a chore for the trainer than the trainee – if the learner can lose interest during a single session, then the provider must feel the same boredom at some point. It must come as something of a relief, then, that online courses now can maintain the same tone and consistency in delivery regardless of when and who authored it. Once written, the message doesn’t change (unless one chooses to edit it – more proof that modern technology helps improve education standards).
And yet, it is likely to never entirely replace pen-and-paper education, simply because it’s better suited for its objective. For instance, our first aid courses greatly benefit from physical interaction, while the online element is there to reinforce communication of information, allowing for an approach that offers the best of both worlds. We believe that will be the final step for all education – a blended approach that streamlines and expands to fit the needs of the user, and it’s what we offer at The Training Initiative.