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In-Person vs. Online Training: Which Should I Choose?

Kelsey Botne - Director of Learning, eduMe
Kelsey Botne - Director of Learning, eduMe

In today's rapidly evolving workplace, the demand for effective training methods for frontline workers has never been greater.

One question you might be contending with is "should training be in-person or online?". We don't believe it's an either/or.

With there being benefits to both in-person and online training, it’s important to leverage the strengths of both approaches to achieve exceptional results. Here's why... 👇

Hybrid learning benefits

It harnesses the best of both worlds

Both face-to-face and online training have their unique strengths. 

By opting for a hybrid approach, you marry the power of in-person interactions - that can't ever be completely replicated digitally - with the flexibility and knowledge reinforcement  capabilities online learning provides.

This allows you to optimize for all things at once - knowledge retention,  engagement, and behavior change among employees without compromising on anything. 

It's better for your bottom line

Complementing online learning with in-person training results in huge benefits to companies, as well. Research indicates that a remarkable 42% of organizations have witnessed a surge in revenue following the addition of online learning to their training programs. 

This notable statistic highlights the positive impact online learning can have on overall organizational performance and success. 

It's environmentally friendly

Online learning is purported to significantly reduce energy consumption by an astounding 90% compared to traditional face-to-face learning. 

So, by embracing digital platforms, you can not only enhance learning outcomes but also contribute to a sustainable future by minimizing your environmental footprint.

And these are just a few of the immense advantages of incorporating online learning to your existing in-person training structure, empowering learners while promoting efficiency and environmental responsibility.

As for which fits in where...

Reinforcing In-Person Training with Online Learning

To ensure effective knowledge retention and behavior change, it is essential to reinforce the information learned during in-person training sessions.

Understanding Ebbinghaus' forgetting curve, which shows that learners can lose up to 90% of new information after around a week, emphasizes the importance of reinforcement.

Online training can play a crucial role in this process by leveraging 'spaced repetition', which reinforces learning at strategic intervals to drive long-term retention (improving recall by up to 150% in one study!).

Furthermore, online training offers trackability, enabling organizations to measure engagement levels and assess employees' comprehension of the learning content.

By leveraging analytics and reporting features, you gain valuable insights into your employees' progress, identifying areas for improvement and tailoring future training initiatives accordingly.

Strategies for Reinforcing In-Person Training with Online Learning

1. Refreshers

Provide summaries of key concepts covered in the in-person training session. These materials serve as refreshers, reinforcing the knowledge acquired and promoting knowledge retention.

2. Microlearning

Breaking down the content into smaller, manageable chunks allows employees to revisit specific topics or areas they found challenging during the in-person training, promoting deeper understanding.

3. Practice and Application

Utilize interactive online learning to enable employees to apply their knowledge and skills gained during in-person training. Tools like Scenario Videos foster critical thinking and problem-solving, solidifying learning outcomes.

4. Knowledge Checks

Implement quizzes and assessments to test employees' understanding of the content covered in the in-person training. This not only identifies knowledge gaps but also reinforces key concepts.

5. Gather Feedback at Scale

Leverage surveys to gauge employees' perception of the training and their preferences for future learning topics. This valuable feedback informs future training initiatives, ensuring continuous improvement

Hybrid Training During Employee Onboarding 

What about onboarding? The same applies - combining in-person and online training during onboarding to yield numerous benefits.

The in-person sessions provide a valuable opportunity to welcome new joiners, showcase the company culture, foster personal connections, and address questions. But utilizing online training before and after in-person sessions enhances the onboarding experience further.

Before the in-person sessions, share online training modules to familiarize new joiners with the company and their role. This provides an opportunity to 'preboard' - ensuring a smoother transition into the organization, reducing time spent on basic introductions, and maximizing the value of in-person interactions.

Then, after the in-person sessions, provide a refresher course or lesson accessible at the point of need and offer additional role-related training via a platform like eduMe. This approach promotes continuous learning and enables new employees to reinforce their knowledge and skills as they settle into their roles.

Training the Trainer

To ensure consistency and effectiveness in delivering in-person training, utilize eduMe courses and lessons to provide scalable online training modules to "train the trainer."

By equipping your trainers with tips and strategies from their peers and demonstrating what exemplary training looks like, organizations can create a standardized training approach across the entire organization.

This methodology empowers trainers to deliver impactful in-person sessions, ensuring consistent knowledge transfer.

How to Choose the Appropriate Training Methodology 

Each organization has unique needs and considerations when it comes to training frontline workers.

To help you make informed decisions, here is a framework with key questions to guide your selection of the appropriate training methodology:

1. Accessibility

Consider how easily employees can access the training venue.

Are they geographically dispersed or located in one central area? Online training provides a scalable solution for reaching employees in diverse locations.

2. Scalability

Determine the number of employees that need to be trained.

Online training offers scalability, allowing organizations to train large numbers of employees simultaneously.

3. Cost

Assess the available budget for training. Consider cost considerations related to travel, accommodation, or renting training facilities associated with in-person training.

Online training can be a cost-effective alternative, minimizing expenses while maximizing reach.

4. Language 

Evaluate whether the training needs to be delivered in multiple languages. eduMe empowers learners by providing training content in the language of their choice, ensuring effective knowledge transfer.

5. Timing

Determine if there are specific deadlines for training completion. Consider the urgency of training employees and the business impact of the time required for new employees to reach productivity.

Online training enables employees to learn at their own pace and provides flexibility in meeting time-sensitive training needs.

6. Interactivity 

Assess whether the training requires hands-on practice, group activities, or real-time feedback, as these elements are well-suited for in-person training.

Online training can complement in-person sessions by providing background knowledge and preparation for hands-on activities.

7. Content Complexity

Consider the complexity of the training material. Straightforward and easily understood content, such as software usage, standard operating procedures (SOPs), or company policies, is suitable for online training delivery.

8. Knowledge Retention

Determine if it is important for employees to retain and apply the knowledge or skills learned over time. If ongoing retention is crucial, refresher training and an online repository for employees to access at the time of need become essential.

9. Regulatory Compliance

Check if there are any legal or industry requirements for training completion records or records of assessment passing. Consider whether this will be easier and more scalable to be managed in-person or online.

In conclusion...

We at eduMe recognize the value of combining in-person and online training to maximize the impact of learning initiatives for frontline workers. 

Rather than the view that in-person learning is better than online, or vice versa, we believe that by leveraging the strengths of both methods, you can reinforce knowledge, engage employees, and drive behavior change most effectively.

Through this framework, eduMe provides customers with guidance to make informed decisions about the most suitable training methodology for their specific needs.

With eduMe's expertise in learning science and commitment to empowering learners, you can unlock the full potential of your workforce and achieve outstanding learning outcomes.