If you are like 90% of organizations in North America, the pandemic has forced you to confront a quick adoption of new forms of training; specifically, a transition to online training or eLearning – particularly for OHS. I’ve long preached that a blended approach works best for effective training programs; after all, some OHS training needs to be hands on, and for cost reasons, a toolbox talk can be very effective.
However, when I talk to the vast majority of safety managers and directors who are actively trying to engage workers and move from a traditional to an online or blended model, most ask me what are the advantages and disadvantages of each – so I figured maybe I should write a quick post to help tell the story.
WHAT IS ILT?
ILT, or instructor-led training, is the type of training you’re most familiar with. It’s training that occurs in a classroom, lunchroom, or from the back of an F-150. And, for many employees for many subjects, this traditional method is the most common, and by extension, the most effective method of training.
- The biggest advantage of instructor-led training is that employees have the opportunity to ask questions to a highly qualified expert. Trainers and instructors can also adapt their presentations to the skill level and personality of the class they’re teaching.
- Instructor-led, or traditional, classes can also break off into brainstorming or role-playing groups.
- Employees get a chance to learn from each other.
- Most importantly, for complex or highly collaborative subjects, instructor-led training provides the direct immersion experience employees need to learn the material.
- High cost of implementation, both in terms of time and money
- Inconsistent messaging and teaching styles of instructors
- Time away from work and interruption to employee’s daily task
WHAT IS ELEARNING?
Since it’s delivered online, eLearning solutions can include videos, tests, activities, and images in the training; it may also include:
- Interactive videos
- Mobile learning
- Virtual or augmented reality simulations
- Personalized learning paths
A reason that more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies use eLearning. The advantages of eLearning include:
- Saving companies money, in terms of development hours, travel costs, and employee time away from work
- Taking less time away from an employee’s work day, as eLearning takes up to 40-60% less time than classroom instruction
- Allowing employees more flexibility to access training when and where they have the time to do so
- Being particularly suited for employees who are remote, traveling, or have high turnover rates
- Creating personalized custom eLearning solutions that can be tailored to better match the specific learner
- Allowing employees to pause training, reread information, or test out of information they already know
- Increasing employee retention of information, for specific subjects
These advantages are best accessed when the eLearning course is:
- Focused on a single, accessible topic, such as sexual harassment or a software demo
- Concise, to-the-point, and organized in small chunks to discourage scanning or skimming
- Enhanced, but not distracted, by visuals, animations, and activities
- eLearning solutions that rely on overly flashy graphics or animations are distracting to students.
- eLearning can also become outdated, especially for rapidly evolving fields, unless active revisions are part of the training design process.