Compare Online & Face to Face Training 
How important is it that you find the right training provider? Often the decision can come down to one major question, should you invest in online training or the more traditional face to face training? What you pick could have a real impact on your business, especially if you’re tied into a contract. 
 
To help you decide which is right for you, were going to compare the pros and cons of both online and face to face training, arming you with the knowledge so you can make the best decision. 

       Face to Face Training 

What is it, how does it work, and how to access it? 
 
Face to face training is when someone is actually in the room with you, taking you and your staff through the course in person. This is similar but different from virtual training, where the trainer is not in the room, but present and live on a screen. 
 
Face to face training works by having the trainer in the room, educating, guiding and supporting people where staff can ask questions and interact directly with any physical learning materials the trainer provides during that session. 
 
To access face to face training, simply call a training provider and ask if they do face to face training, if so, book the training in for a particular date and time. You may need to attend their venue for training, or the trainer will turn up at yours. 
 
 
Is face to face training important? 
 
Face to face training can be very important, depending on what courses you're attending and the experience level of your staff. For example, undertaking training which develops a new physical skill, like venepuncture, catheterisation or CPR can be very difficult for the learner when its all theoretical. Holding, using and practicing with the training products and physically trying out the techniques can make a huge difference in terms of developing confidence, having success, promoting safety and reducing errors. 

What are the pros to face to face training? 

As with all training methods, face to face to training has plenty of positive aspects, these include: 
 
When people attend their face to face training session they tend to finish the session and not stop it half way through which can happen with online training. 
Face to face training can get a group of people to all learn and understand something new, this allows the company to move forward much more quickly. 
People don't need to use unpredictable internet connections or learn to use new software to complete the training. This means people tend to be able to be more comfortable as its a more common/standard environment for them to be in. 
You get to ask questions directly to the trainer and receive instant feedback. 
You get to learn from others in the room, when other colleagues are sharing their knowledge and experience, you get to learn from this as well. 
Team building is a huge part of traditional training. Group activities and tasks are perfect examples of when your staff team up to solve problems, strengthening their working relationship and bond. 
You get to practice the skills & techniques first hand and get the opportunity to develop muscle memory. I.E using fire extinguishers , preforming CPR etc. 
Learn in a more physical way which can help internalise the learning. Traditional training allows people to use the various learning styles to improve learning and the retention of that information. 
People tend to pay more attention if there is someone in the room speaking but also because there tends to be fewer distractions. 
Learners can also benefit from multiple methods of communication such as looking at people's body language, facial expressions and gestures. 
People tend to be more polite and helpful towards each other, where as if people are behind a screen, they can often become harsher and less proactive. 
The trainer can pick up when someone or a group aren't grasping a concept or having difficulty with a task. This allows the trainer to come and offer 1-1 support during the session to actively help that individual or group. 
The trainer can ask group questions and receive multiple points of view and experiences allowing others to learn and discover different concepts which aren't necessarily covered in the topic but are related. This helps learners see how different topics relate and interact with the one they are currently learning about. 

What are the cons to face to face training? 

Just like with any other training method, it has draw back too, this include: 
 
Each training session tends to cost more than online training. This is due to multiple reasons, but mainly due to the trainer's time teaching the topic. 
People have to attend in person, this can create difficulty with rotas and for people attending on time. 
If the training company aren't able to travel to your venue, your staff may have to travel & find their venue costing time & money. This also raises the issue of people not finding the venue or running into traffic and therefore arriving late to the session. 
Your staff won't be able to complete their training in their own time, when its convenient for them. This can mean that some people's training matrix always have gaps. 
With face to face training, a lot relies on the trainer. If the trainer doesn't show up, or has a poor delivery, it can prevent learning from occurring. This can be off putting for staff and result in decreased morale and disinterest for learning. 
 
Have we seen the end of face to face training? 
 
There is nothing showing the industry that face to face training will disappear, this goes for the defense, farming, manufacturing, healthcare industries and many many more. For certain training, such as first aid, it is mandatory for there to be a physical aspect to the course and therefore a direct requirement for face to face learning.  
 

       Online Training 

What is it, how does it work and how do you access it? 
 
Online training is very much the opposite of face to face training. Its when a pre-recorded video or pre written content is displayed via the internet on your computer, tablet or phone. It works by allowing the user to play, rewind or fast forward content they need to listen to or read. Accessing it is super simple, after finding a supplier, buy their course or sign the contract and then start learning. 
 
 
Is Online training important? 
 
Virtual training doesn't necessarily have the same importance as face to face training because all virtual training can be taught face to face, however not all face to face training can be or should be taught without a practical face to face element. 

What are the pros to Online training?. 

There are many pros to virtual training, some of which you've probably already experienced. These are: 
 
The training is usually cheaper as there isn't a trainer to pay for. 
The learners can access the training when they are ready to. 
The learner can also pause, rewind or fast forward any training allowing them to learn at their own pace. 
The course is accessible to everyone with the internet. This allows people to learn at work, at home or even on holiday! 
You can easily monitor when your staff have completed their training. Often online training companies also add in free software to allow you to audit, analyse and message users, allowing you to quickly see your compliance rating and remind people to complete any outstanding modules. 
Your staff don't need to worry about having a trainer who doesn't show up or arrives late. 
Your staff also don't need to worry about having an ill-mannered trainer or one who has a poor delivery. 
Online training is more consistent as everyone sees the same message, same presentation or video which is delivered in the exact same way each time. 
Online training is also more scaleable for a larger business, allowing you to train your staff across counties or countries with ease. 
Being online, it can allow people to be more relaxed, if they don't like groups or crowds of people. 

What are the cons to Online training? 

Although there are definitely many pros to online training, the cons are seriously worth considering. 
 
Often companies bind you into yearly contracts which also have price hiking for adding more users onto their training programme. 
The delivery and presentation of the courses tend not to be as engaging as face to face training. This can reduce the ability of your staff to retain the information they are learning. 
Its widely recognised that people will skip information in order to get to the end of the training without truly learning the information. 
Its also widely known that people will use Google or other methods to pass the test at the end of the course without necessarily recalling the information they should have learnt throughout the course. 
Online training unfortunately has developed a stigma of being a 'dull' or 'boring' this can decrease the uptake of learners completing their courses on time. 
Having the learning 'person-lead' can also mean it gets left to the last minute and sometimes completed late and in a rush; again compromising the learning. 
Sometimes people can experience isolation by completing their online training without anyone else present. This can also affect their ability to learn & retain the information. 
 
Is Online training new and just for COVID? 
 
Online training has been around for many years and is has not been produced because of COVID, however there has been a significant uptake in the use of online learning due to national lockdowns, preventing face to face training from happening; although first aid training and other face to face training has been allowed to remain accessible throughout the lockdowns. 
 

Is Online training free? 

Some online training is free as once it has been produced, its usually free to sell future copies of the training. However, face to face training can also be free, being delivered by private companies and councils; although this is rarer. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Compare The Two 
Now lets compare the two 
Face to face training is limited by your staff needing to be in a certain place at a certain time and the presentation is solely reliant on the trainer on the day. This is something online training definitely doesn't suffer from. However, where face to face training really holds it's own is its' ability to be more engaging, people can ask questions to learn more at that crucial time, it helps to bond teams together and allow staff to use their own experience as learning aids to others, something online training simply can't achieve. 

Which is better?  

From a sheerly learning perspective, humans learn through four key learning styles, visual, audio, writing/reading and kinesthetic. We also need to remember the information we've just learnt, having strong energy and emotions such as laughter attached to the learning process helps people retain the information. Both online and face to face training have the abilities to involve the four learning styles, however, face to face has the ability to be much more kinesthetic as learners can be physically active when learning. In terms of generating energy and positive emotions, again face to face training tends to be able to generate more through natural interactions of people together in a group sharing an experience. 
 
However for your business, maybe the difficultly of getting your staff together in one place for a day is too much, even if you have multiple dates for staff to attend. If so, online training maybe a better option for you as it provides the ultimate in flexibility of learning. 
 

I hope this article has been informative & helpful, letting you make your own decision in what training is best for you. If you have any questions, feel free to email us and we'll get back to you asap. 

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