Table of contents
- What is online learning?
- What is traditional learning?
- What are the differences between online and traditional learning?
- Are there any similarities?
- And the winner is …?
What is online learning?
Online learning is exactly what it sounds like: it takes place over the internet. It is a form of distance learning. It’s interchangeable with the term e-learning. An LMS typically stores the training content, which is accessible anywhere and anytime.
What is traditional learning?
Traditional learning takes place in a classroom setting
Traditional learning takes place in a classroom setting. There is a trainer who moderates and regulates the flow of information and knowledge. Then, the trainer expects the employees to deepen their knowledge through written exercises at home. Nowadays, technology is incorporated in the classroom more and more. However, in face-to-face instruction scenarios, the primary source of information is still the trainer.
What are the differences between online and traditional learning?
If you are deciding between online or traditional learning, it can be helpful to consider the below comparison:
It happens online
It happens offline
Forced in a schedule and place
Together with your colleagues
Supports an independent learning style
Learning from and with each other
The primary source of information is online content
The primary source of information is the trainer
Extensive interaction between trainers and colleagues
These are the obvious differences, but there are also differences in terms of costs and participation rates. Let’s expand a bit on these points:
Although high priority may be given to continuous education in organizations, many times, it is not fully implemented. Employees who take part in the training set up by their managers can feel rushed. Why? Because time is limited, especially given our to-do list that grows each day.
Online learning then comes to the rescue. In fact, a survey  of over 700 corporate learners, found out that 87 percent of them preferred to take online courses during work hours. It takes less time than face-to-face learning, and they can easily squeeze it into their daily tasks.
Online modules are often more affordable than in in-house training
Setting up traditional training is valuable, but also expensive. Online modules are often more affordable than in in-house training. Why? You don’t have to deal with additional costs like travel expenses, training facilities, hiring a trainer, or printing training materials that come with in-house training. In 2019, U.S. training expenses amounted to $83 billion! Of this, 29.6 billion was spent on these additional costs. The overhead to operate online training programs is much lower.
The economic argument shouldn’t be de only decisive factor in whether you choose online training over traditional training for your company. Read more about the other compelling advantages and disadvantages of online learning.
Are there any similarities?
Although there are more differences than similarities between face-to-face and online learning, what they have in common is that they are both effective.
Online learning is a full-fledged alternative for classroom training
We can’t say that online learning is more effective than traditional education, or vice versa. It certainly depends on the learning topic and how its effectiveness has been measured. But overall, it seems that online learning is a full-fledged alternative for classroom training. There is good and ample evidence that employees generally learn as much as online as they do in traditional training.
And the winner is …?
We would love to call a winner, but we can’t. It wouldn’t be fair to either of the learning methods because both have their pros and cons. Which learning method is right for your employees or organization depends on many factors:
- What’s your budget?
- What’s the learning topic? Is it practical-based or knowledge-driven?
- What do you want to achieve with the learning? Improving skills or keeping your employees up-to-date about company standards?
- How much time do you want to spend on training as an organization? And how much time can employees spend on training?
- What’s your employees’ motivation level?
- Do you have employees of various ages? Do you primarily work with millennials, or is the majority of your workforce from the baby boomer generation?
Maybe choosing one over the other is too rigid. If you want to combine the best of both worlds, then you should certainly consider blended learning.
What we do know is that we can offer you a complete LMS to set up continuous training in your organization. With Easy LMS, you can create and manage effective training courses, check their knowledge with exams, and generate custom certificates. Our tool will help you keep track of your employee’s progress, and our automation options will save you time.
- Athabasca University
- Training Mag
- Harvard University
- eLearning Industry
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