The advent of modern internet technology and speeds means that we now have the option to train online as well as the traditional, in person route. Which one is best for you? Here are the pros and cons of both types of training for you to consider before booking that course

The advantages of online training

The largest advantage to any company is cost: online training is cheaper, because the company giving the training doesn't have to invest so heavily in training space, materials and staff - they just have to construct a one-off training site for less money, and therefore they can pass on these savings to you, the customer.

Another advantage linked to this is that you can choose the time and date that the training takes place- the web is open 24/7 after all. It also means that not all your staff have to be trained at once - they can all choose individual times. Finally, they can do the course more than once or print notes out at their leisure, removing time pressure and making sure they absorb all the training points being made.

The disadvantages of online training

When training online, the site may have a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section, but what if the query you have isn't frequent? It can be hard for a machine to guess what a human needs to know some of the time. A human floorwalker or trainer is more equipped to deal with any odd eventuality.

Another disadvantage is that online training is usually only performed one person at a time - there is no 'team' of trainees helping or socialising with each other, or exchanging knowledge. Consequently, especially if it's a long training course, it can get boring, and people's attention may slip.

The advantages of in-person training

No matter how flashy, interactive, or colourful an online course, it can never beat a human trainer for engagement, interest and intonation in delivering the training content. Also, a human is much better at treating people as individuals - if someone is struggling with a certain point or task, this can be dealt with and more time spent in-person with the trainee: a machine or website could never do this.

Additionally, there is always the option of follow-up training or further questions with in-person training that is almost impossible to replicate online.

The disadvantages of in-person training

In-person training on a one to one basis is the most expensive of all, whereas this is exactly what an online course provides for much less money. Also, with the online training, it's consistent, whereas an in-person course depends strongly on the quality of the trainer and even whether they are having an 'off day' or not! Also, an in-person training may be susceptible to call in sick at short notice, or not be as competent as you thought, depending on the company. Always check with the provider before booking.

Overall, it's your decision whether to embark on an online training course, but it usually depends on the type of training. Discuss it with your employees that have either asked or have to take a mandatory course, and see which they prefer - at least this way you will have a good idea of the pros and cons involved.