Classroom-based vs Online Training: Which is Better for your Employees?

Keeping your IT team’s skills up-to-date are always valuable not just for your IT staff, but for you as an employer. When it comes to giving your employees IT training, there are two options you can choose from: classroom-based training or online training. But which is better? In this post, we will guide you through the pros and cons.

Classroom-Based Training

Classroom-based training is the traditional, face-to-face session where the students (your employees) will be meeting with the trainer in a physical classroom at a designated time and place.

Pros of Classroom-Based Training

The strength of classroom-based training lies in the potential for deep discussions and dialogues that are almost impossible to achieve online. Students can ask and get answers to their questions right away, and experienced teachers can deep dive into topics or scenarios that are most relevant to the attendees.

A classroom setting promotes high engagement and collaboration, and a good facilitator will be able to motivate students to interact and participate. Students may also be able to expand their professional networks and meet individuals they can consult with regarding shared issues or topics outside the syllabus.

For classes involving hands-on labs, the presence of a facilitator who can guide students through a step-by-step process and address questions immediately is also a big plus.

Cons of Classroom-Based Training

A classroom setting means that everyone goes at the same pace. Fast learners could feel that they are wasting their time, while some may feel that there is not enough time being spent in a particular module. Not everybody enjoys being in a class full of people.

Finally, in-person training may require that employees take a day (or several days) off in order to attend the classes, so a drop in work productivity is something the employer needs to be prepared for.

Online Training

Online training uses an online platform to deliver lessons and provide quizzes or exams and discussions for students.

Pros of Online Training

What’s best about online training is that it’s self-paced, so that students can carve out an hour from their schedule everyday over a period of time to complete the training, without having to leave the office. Second, the material is always available, which means they can learn whenever and wherever they want, even referring back to the lessons again when they need to.

Cons of Online Training

Online training doesn’t work for everyone. Students need to have a high level of self-motivation, as it is self-paced and no one is going to schedule their classes for them, nor monitor their progress.

Online training also tends to be pre-recorded, so there isn’t a lot of opportunity to have discussions outside the set content. Although a discussion can also happen in an online setting, it can’t replace a real-life discussion and real human interactions. It’s harder to spark the deep conversations -- that lead to new insights -- in an online forum.

Which one is better?

We’ve covered the pros and cons of each training type. So, have you made your decision?

The answer really depends on your employees’ training needs and learning styles, your budget and urgency of the training. Hopefully this guide helps you make the decision for your next employee IT training.

NTT DATA provides both classroom-based and online training courses or MOOCs. Contact us for inquiries.

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