Let me start out by saying that online training is not better than classroom training. It’s different! Both are effective ways of motivating and transferring information. You need to determine your training goals, to determine which training method is best for your organization. Here are a few factors to consider when deciding which training methods will work best for your organization:
How dispersed is your target audience? Are they in clusters or spread out individually? How much travel would be involved? Would the trainer go to them or would they come to the trainer? eLearning has an advantage in this area because geography doesn’t matter….they just need a computer.
Do you have team members that can spend time as trainers? Do they have the presentation skills and subject matter expertise to train the course? How many trainers would you need to deliver your course content? A good training can have an amazing impact however it can be expensive to send out trainers and to ensure they have the proper skills.
How often will the course change? Are you expecting system, policy, and/or process changes? An eLearning course can be changed in one central area and sent out to everyone. Paper classroom materials become nearly impossible to keep updated.
Does your target audience have computers, audio, network connections? Are they comfortable using them? Can they view video or hear audio? How’s your network bandwidth? Do you have the software needed to build the course? eLearning does have “technology” expenses and may need an initial investment.
What skill set does your design/development team need to have? What design software will you use to build your training? You will need to find someone with “eLearning authoring skills” or the ability to learn them.
Do you have training rooms? Are they equipped with the needed equipment such as PCs, projectors, whiteboards, etc.? Classroom training may require the build-out of classrooms. That can get expensive.
How many people need to be trained? How quickly does the course need to roll out? Online training can train tons of people at once.
As you think about the questions above you’ll start to better understand how classroom and online training may fit into your organization. Many organizations decide that a blended approach is the best. Some of the pre-work may be online and followed by classroom training. At times the basics may be online and followed by more advanced classroom training. There are many ways to blend the two.