In Person Training vs Online Learning: 6 Important Differences

Options in online learning are continually increasing with more people than ever choosing to further their education through eLearning. Online learning primarily includes learning over the internet, while in-person training is a traditional experience in an actual classroom setting. In fact, studies show that 90 percent of corporations are using eLearning, compared to only 4% in 1995. There are still several benefits to learning in person in a classroom or conference setting. 

There are several important differences between in-person training and online learning that those who are looking to implement one for their employees should know. A Better Leader is proud to provide online leadership training for companies who are struggling to foster strong company culture and increase employee engagement. 

We understand that online training isn't always the best option for everyone. We've broken down the differences so you can make an informed decision for your business.

1. In-Person Training Provides More Hands-On Experience
2. Online Training Offers Greater Flexibility
3. In-Person Training Allows Several Employees to Learn at Same Pace
4. Online Training Features Greater Program Variety
5. In-Person Training Provides Greater Face to Face Interaction
6. Online Training is Often Less Expensive
Benefits of in-person learning.

1. In-Person Training Provides More Hands-on Experience

Working with instructors and other learners in person provides opportunities for greater interaction. Talking to another person face-to-face usually provides greater clarity and understanding than communicating through texting or email. Even live chats and other types of online interaction does not offer the same level of human contact. The Princeton Review points out several benefits of hands-on learning.

Although learning technologies have advanced considerably in recent years, there are still many fields in which at least some in-person training is usually necessary. For example, several medical careers, such as nursing, would require in-person training. Fields that include technical training such as automotive or electrical work may also require more hands-on education.

2. Online Training Offers Greater Flexibility

Taking classes online provides flexibility in several ways that normally aren't available with traditional learning methods. Online training is often an excellent option for individuals that work remotely or have responsibilities that make it difficult for them to attend in-person seminars. Even if the course is somewhat structured, the employee can finish work according to their time frame.

For example, if one section of a course needs to be completed each week, the employee can still finish work at any time during that previous week. An individual can log on throughout the day and even at night, from anywhere, to complete their work.

3. In-Person Training Allows Several Employees to Learn at the Same Pace

Classroom/in-person instruction keeps each employee learning on the same timeline. If more than one person from the same company wants to take and complete a course at the same time, in-person training is probably a better fit for this particular situation.

While several individuals can learn at the same pace online, it can be difficult to monitor several people independently, watching videos, finishing their daily tasks, etc., at the same time. In-person training generally provides greater structure and organization.

Is online learning as good as face to face learning?

4. Online Training Features Greater Program Variety

There are often only so many seminars available throughout the year for different businesses to attend. An individual will usually be able to jump on an online course or training program at their convenience. They don't have to worry about where or when the training takes place.

Classes and training programs are made available year-round through online learning. Specific in-person courses/training are often only available in specific areas throughout the country, and employees need to be able to attend. However, when taking online courses, it doesn't matter where the training takes place or where your employee lives and works. Remote employees that are geographically dispersed can still receive the same training.

5. In-Person Training Provides Greater Face to Face Interaction

In a classroom setting, students can connect in real-time. In person training provides greater opportunities for group activities and interactive projects. Individuals who find that they learn more working with others will likely want to take as many traditional classes as possible.

Face-to-face interaction can also provide more networking opportunities. Chat rooms and other online interactive methods are beneficial, but they're not the same as a handshake or an in-person conversation. Everyone absorbs knowledge differently, and it's important to consider how your employees prefer to learn.

online leadership training cost

6. Online Training is Often Less Expensive

Almost all types of education and training have been increasingly more expensive in recent years. With the varying costs of leadership training, it's important to understand that not all training is created equal. Online training can actually be one of the most cost-effective forms of training available. There are several ways that online training can save money.

  • Transportation Costs - Gas and wear and tear on a vehicle can add up when a person is driving to a seminar or training. A person may also spend money paying for a bus pass if they don't have access to a vehicle.
  • Housing Costs - If the person needs to stay in a specific city to complete the course or certification, this is often extremely expensive. Even going out of town for a few days for a seminar or conference can include expensive hotel bills.
  • Course Costs - Even actual classes and training are sometimes more expensive. This is because operating buildings, parking lots, and maintaining staff for on-site learning is generally more costly than operating an online program.

Is In-Person or Online Training Best For You?

There are benefits and drawbacks to both in-person training and online learning. It's important to carefully evaluate the pros and cons before making a decision that will affect a person's training and ultimately, career. Your business will need to determine what works best for their employees' schedules, learning needs, and your overall financial situation. 

If you have a large team that is geographically spread, or you are looking for the most affordable training option, online learning might be best suited for your organization. As a business owner, if online learning sounds like the right fit, and you’d like to help your leaders better be able to support and connect with their teams, A Better Leader would love to help. If your workplace has struggled with building morale, developing trust, and even motivating remote teams, look no further. Get started today with a consistent leadership training that delivers engaged employees.

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About the Author Walter Orechwa

Walter is Director of IRI's Digital Workplace Solutions Group, and the founder of A Better Leader. Walter provides expert advice, highly effective employee communication resources and ongoing learning opportunities for Human Resources and Labor Relations professionals.