/Old Vs. New – The Pros & Cons of Traditional Training Vs. Corporate eLearning

Old Vs. New – The Pros & Cons of Traditional Training Vs. Corporate eLearning

Our world has noticed a sizeable jump in terms of technology in the past two decades, with technology permeating almost every thinkable industry. This includes the corporate training industry, where technology, in the form of eLearning is being received quite well by corporate employees and L&D trainers/managers alike. But why hasn’t eLearning completely taken over corporate training and booted out traditional classroom training? The reason behind this is the fact that like everything under the sun, both traditional training and corporate eLearning have their own pros and cons. Neither of them is perfect. In this article, we’ll discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these corporate learning models, and try to suggest what works better under which circumstances. Let’s begin with traditional classroom training first.

Traditional Classroom Training

There’s a reason eLearning hasn’t been able to replace traditional classroom completely, and if experts are to be believed, it will never be able to. The reason behind this is that as eLearning forayed into corporate training, and organizations began to incline towards eLearning, trainers began developing better techniques, better methods, better learning activities and more advanced training aids to create classroom training that is easily retained, more meaningful and at par with eLearning. An overwhelming number of companies still use traditional classroom training, even though modern trends lean towards eLearning. Let’s have a look at its pros and cons.

Pros

  1. People are familiar with classrooms, and thus the classroom training methodology. They have learnt everything so far using the same methodology. Employees do not need to ‘familiarize’ themselves with classroom training methodology, unlike eLearning.
  2. Classroom training usually takes place in an organized, quiet environment, and thus the pressures of work and hullaballoo of the working space is absent.
  3. The ‘human’ aspect of learning is present. Employees are taught by a person, a person they can talk to, ask questions and see, which is missing in eLearning. This human aspect of learning is often underestimated.
  4. Similar to the last point, classroom training is a group interaction. Employees are with their colleagues, and can communicate, share information, learn from each other and be at ease. This enhances learning.
  5. Classroom training not only teaches skills required to do one’s job efficiently, but also professionalism, productivity and co-operation. eLearning cannot provide that.

Cons

  1. Classroom training is monotonous. The information crammed in one session is too much for the brain to handle at once. As a result, retention suffers.
  2. Classroom training can be hard to schedule for employees working in unconventional shifts, for example, employees working graveyard (night) shifts.
  3. Classroom training doesn’t provide a hands-on experience involving the equipment, processes, and materials that employees actually use on the job. The learning thus provided isn’t accurately adequate.
  4. Classroom training isn’t personalized, being a group interaction, and doesn’t cater to the individual learning problems of the employees.
  5. Classroom training cannot be taken at any time the employee wishes, unlike eLearning.

Now that we have discussed the pros and cons of traditional classroom training, let’s discuss the pros and cons of its counterpart, corporate eLearning.

Corporate eLearning

Corporate eLearning is all the rage at the moment, and being hailed as the “future of education and employee training”. While we don’t know about the future, we do know that more and more organizations are replacing the traditional classroom learning model with eLearning to develop employee skills. But, corporate eLearning isn’t flawless either. So, without further ado, let’s look at its pros and cons.

Pros

  1. eLearning is extensible. While classroom training can only accommodate a hundred, two hundred max per session, eLearning can be delivered to every employee in the organization at once regardless of the number.
  2. eLearning is faster. eLearning can be deployed in real time to upskill employees, whereas classroom training requires scheduling, and as mentioned in the point above, can only accommodate a fixed number of employees in one session. eLearning saves valuable time.
  3. eLearning can be targeted. It can be modified for different groups of individuals depending on the skills they need to develop, and can even be personalized for each individual using adaptive learning.
  4. Employees can take eLearning modules anywhere anytime. These days eLearning modules are mobile-friendly as well, and thus offer employees the ease and freedom of learning like never before.
  5. eLearning saves money. As no dedicated staff or trainers need to be hired, eLearning requires at least 50% less operational costs as compared to classroom training once it has been set up.

Cons

  1. While it is said that eLearning offers much more information retention than classroom training, that’s just not true in every case. Some people just learn better the old-fashioned way, i.e. classroom training, and consider eLearning modules a hassle. One of the biggest reasons classroom training is still widely accepted.
  2. eLearning modules may get as advanced as they come, but they still cannot offer the learning edge that comes with human interaction. While a human trainer can be communicated with in every which way, an eLearning module is linear, and lacks the ‘human’ aspect.
  3. eLearning is self-paced, which means employees have the freedom to complete courses whenever and wherever they want. This can easily backfire. Employees may put off a simple module for weeks, and even months. In the end, e-learning modules become tick-box exercises that just “have to be done” because they are important.
  4. Effective eLearning is hard to come by. It’s not that it doesn’t exist, but an eLearning program that has everything you need, will likely be overpriced. This is because a good eLearning program requires time, money and expertise to build.
  5. eLearning is largely knowledge-based, and seldom practicality-based. The problem with theoretical knowledge is that when it comes to applying whatever you have learned, things may be even harder than you imagined.

As you’ve probably understood by now, both traditional training and corporate eLearning have their own niches in corporate training. So, is there a way which harnesses the power of both? Of course. Blended learning is a learning methodology that uses eLearning as well as traditional classroom training to ensure maximum learning and development for corporate employees. Blended learning helps bridge the gaps in both the methodologies by combining the benefits offered by both. It is the perfect L&D solution.

CBLPro believes in all-time learning. We are great proponents of Blended learning, and can ensure that the budget an organization puts into employee learning and development is justified. If state of the art corporate eLearning solutions, including Blended Learning is what you want, feel free to contact us!