One on One July 15, 2022

Online Training Vs. In-Person Training: Which Is Better For Your Team?

Employee Training

The type of training you choose to improve your workforce impacts the success of your training program. This article dives into both online training and in-person training so you can choose the right training option for your needs.

By Christine McLean

I worked as a high school teacher for seven years and one of the things my colleagues and I had to participate in was ongoing professional development. We sat in a room for several hours once per term and every Wednesday during the school year to get the training we needed to be better teachers.

We learned a lot of valuable lessons, but I often wondered if those training sessions would have been more effective if there were online training alternatives. I’m not sure about my colleagues but I certainly experienced learning fatigue after about an hour of sitting in these sessions. Would online employee training (or a mixture of both) have been a better choice for us?

HR professionals across public and private sector organizations often question the best approach to employee training, especially since it’s less expensive to reskill a current employee than hire a new one and 72% of organisations lack qualified talent.

This means that your employee training program should provide the best upskilling opportunities in a way that meets the learning needs of your team. It all boils down to choosing the best type of employee training (online vs. in-person), creating a learning and development culture, and executing successful training programs.

This article focuses on the first ingredient — choosing the best type of employee training. I’m breaking down in-person vs. online employee training so you can choose the medium that works best for you and your team.

In-Person Training Vs. Online Training: The Pros & Cons 

There’s one thing I need to make clear before diving into the pros and cons of each type of employee training. The type of training you choose won’t matter if the quality of the training is poor. Employees want their training to be relevant, up-to-date, and well-delivered. Keep that in mind as you go through the lists below.

 Benefits of Online Employee Training 

  • Employees can complete courses at their own time and pace.

  • Courses can be personalised to meet each employee’s needs.

  • Course completion certificates are instantly available.

  • Longer training sessions can be broken down into smaller segments for improved retention and less impact on employee productivity.

  • A wide range of course options are available to help employees learn from a variety of disciplines if you’re using an LMS.

  • The costs of running online employee training are less than the costs for in-person training. One of our clients, Lasco Financial Services Limited (LFSL), reduced their employee training costs by using our LMS. Learn more in the full case study.

  • Get instant data on employee performance that can be used to improve future training initiatives.

 Benefits Of In-Person Training 

  • Speakers relevant to the target group can be invited to present without having to create a video or full course.

  • The social aspect of in-person training is hard to replicate in a virtual context.

  • There are more opportunities for hands-on learning. This is particularly important since 64% of employees learn best through hands-on practice in an environment that resembles their job.

  • Online employee training typically uses pre-recorded content thus not leaving room for learners to ask questions in real time.  A quick fix for this though in an online setting is to use a mixture of live virtual sessions with pre-recorded lessons.

 Drawbacks of Online Employee Training 

  • Social interactions are limited to online chats which can sometimes feel impersonal.

  • There has to be a team member who follows-up to ensure employees complete all the courses.

  • The quality of the online training depends on the quality of the instructor.  Learners can feel lost if the trainer isn’t connecting with them, speaking in a way that isn’t easy to understand, or not making the content engaging.

Drawbacks of In-Person Training 

  • Participants suffer from information overload. They have to sit through lectures that last for at least 30 minutes. Therefore, information retention is low.

  • Costs more than online employee training.

  • Requires more coordination and hands-on-deck.

What About Hybrid Employee Training ?

Hybrid employee training offers the best of both worlds. Here, we’re referring to hybrid employee training as a mixture of in-person and asynchronous e-learning. Some of your training modules could be done in person while others are done online.

A hybrid approach to employee training can be great for your business for two main reasons, but the benefits will depend on how you structure the hybrid training.

  1. Your team can choose whether to complete the training in-person or online.
  2. There are some training modules that are better done in person, but doing other modules virtually can help your company save both money and time.

However, it’s important for me to pause here and remind you that your employee training program is only as good as the quality of the training you provide. The training should be current, relevant to each employee’s job function, and provide social interactions and support.

So, Which Employee Training Option Is Best For Your Team? 

According to StrategicHR, there are five key considerations when selecting the best type of employee training for a team:

    • Individual learning preferences

    • Topic and structure of the training class

    • Timeliness

    • The level of comfort employees have with technology

    • Size of the group

Employee training is not about taking what was done in person and putting it into a virtual context.

“The big mistake employers make is trying to take what they did in person and do the exact same thing online or hybrid,” says Dr. Katie Brown, the founder and chief executive officer of EnGen, a language upskilling platform that helps organizations train limited English-speaking workers. “They think we have to put everything online and do exactly what we did face to face only with Zoom.”

(Source)

If You’re Choosing Online Employee Training, Here’s A Checklist To Guide The Process 

Planning

◻ Training needs analysis completed

◻ Career planning template completed for each employee.

◻ Learning management system (LMS) purchased. (Schedule a demo with the One On One team to learn more.)

◻ Courses created and/or selected based on training needs, company goals, and career advancement

◻ LMS set up for tracking employee performance

◻ Learning and development team in place to monitor the platform and provide support to employees

◻ The organization has the right IT infrastructure to support the training

Execution 

◻ Employees given access to the LMS and taught how to use it

◻ Course completion rate effectively monitored to ensure 100% success

◻ Data frequently collected to determine where employees are having issues and what learning gaps exist

Post-Mortem

◻ Feedback survey given to employees

◻ Employee feedback and LMS data used to make adjustments to the program moving forward

◻ Managers are following up with employees to reinforce concepts learned and ensure they’re applied and retained.

Upskill Your Employees With Online Employee Training 

There are many variables to consider when choosing between in-person and online employee training. At the end of the day, let your choice be based on both the skill gaps within your organisation and the learning preferences of your team.

This is one of the facts I wish was considered when developing the professional development programs I participated in as a teacher. Don’t make the same mistake. It’s time to avoid your employees having the same thoughts I did when sitting through these training sessions.

One on One is here to help you develop online courses for your online employee training program. Book a demo with us today.