How Do I..

How do I evaluate online learning as a training & development tool?

To evaluate online learning as your training and development tool, you must first decide upon your overall educational goals. If you’d like to pull the team together to build a cohesive unit towards learning a particular topic, then e-learning may not be the best approach.

However, if your goal is to provide education on a subject where individual learning, especially in a stop and start approach is preferred, online learning may be the right choice. Compliance knowledge or need for certain certifications such as in finance are great examples where online learning could be most effective. If you’d like to offer the same content to multiple business locations, this approach may work best as well. The cost of training through online learning can be reduced by lesser training time, travel, materials and program cost compared to classroom style learning.

Many companies have grown to depend on online learning to help educate their teams. Without the cost of travel, the assurance of standardizing education for multiple locations, and a high degree of flexibility with a self-paced stop & start learning method, online learning may be the best approach for you. Additionally, many e-learning tools afford a cloud-based Learning Management System (LMS) to help companies keep track of their employee’s progress.

Classroom learning has its advantages in learning through the exchange of information from both the facilitator as well as other participants in the room. This approach enriches the learning by sharing real-life questions, answers and events while exploring how to address them effectively. Online learning can complement the classroom through a blended learning approach. Segments of the program can be accomplished online before or after the classroom portion. This approach offers the best of both learning worlds; face-to-face interactions following online self-study or vice versa. For those on your team without access to computers, companies have successfully set-up training kiosks in quiet locations at their site.

The decision concerning online learning versus classroom style or the combination of the two is about your particular educational goals, topics and what’s best for the company regarding cost and logistics. Team building would clearly work best in a classroom approach, while your harassment prevention class might work best through an online learning approach.

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