Online learning has gotten more and more popular in the last few years. In 2020, many businesses were forced to move live training and events online due to the global pandemic. All of this may suggest that live in-person learning is fading into irrelevance. Will all corporate learning be online in the future or is there still a place for traditional in-person learning? 

The Growth of Online Learning

Online learning has grown exponentially over the last decade. Small Business Trends revealed in 2017, 77% of companies used online learning, but 98% planned to start using it by 2020. In other words, just about all businesses either already use or plan to use some type of online training.

There are several important advantages to online learning.


What About In-Person Learning?

Traditional in-person learning was, of course, the norm throughout history. It's only relatively recently that technology allowed for eLearning to become practical on a large scale. The events of 2020 further spurred the growth of virtual learning. However, it's still premature to dismiss in-person learning completely.

Advantages of In-Person Learning

  • It allows for socialization and can help foster bonds between people
  • Lets you observe subtle cues and nuances, such as body language and facial expressions
  • Face-to-face learning can be especially beneficial for acting out scenarios, such as between customers and employees. However, this can be done using virtual tools such as interactive video and VR.

Drawbacks of In-Person Learning

These benefits must be weighed against the disadvantages of traditional learning.

  • Huge cost, time, and inconvenience of getting learners and trainers to a physical location.
  • Safety during a time of health challenges such as the pandemic of 2020.
  • Less ability to incorporate advanced technology, including tracking data in a quantifiable way.

The Future of Corporate Learning

At Knowledge Anywhere, our belief is that the future of corporate training will be a mixture of live and online learning, with an increasing emphasis on the latter. Live training will never become completely obsolete. However, there's no denying the advantages of eLearning, which will only get more pronounced as technology advances.

Blended Learning

While it's useful to contrast the pros and cons of online and offline learning, there's no reason we have to see them as opposing forces. In practice, it's often ideal to find a hybrid learning model that incorporates the best of both worlds. While there are good reasons to believe that the future will bring about an increased emphasis on eLearning, using live learning when appropriate is also helpful.

Even when the bulk of the training is conducted online, when it's practical (and safe), live training can supplement and enhance eLearning. Live sessions can foster a team spirit and let people interact in person as well as online. Live interaction can make future virtual interaction even more engaging and help trainees, employees, and instructors get to know one another better.

Transitioning to Online Learning

Many businesses are eager to embrace the advantages of eLearning but aren't always sure how to go about making this transition. In 2020, many businesses were forced to make this transition without a remote learning plan. The actual steps will vary depending on your industry and needs. It can be instructive to look at how this might look for different industries.

  • Healthcare. Employees in this growing field often work long hours and have unpredictable schedules, making online learning a convenient alternative to in-person sessions. Training in healthcare often needs to focus on compliance issues, which are frequently updated. eLearning is a useful way to keep trainees and healthcare workers up to date with the latest developments.
  • Retail. Retail businesses need to train employees quickly to adjust to high turnover rates and varying volumes of business over different times of the year. Online training can be efficient for conveying store policies to both seasonal and full-time workers. Interactive tools such as VR and gamification can help train employees on the best customer service policies.
  • IT and Technology. Technology is a fast-paced industry, and a natural match for eLearning, as workers are typically working with software and hardware in the course of their jobs. Online training can be constantly updated to reflect the latest upgrades and advances.
  • Finance. Companies in the financial sector need to keep up with rapidly changing conditions and markets as well as compliance requirements. As financial markets differ vastly depending on geography and the types of markets or investments in question, microlearning strategies can be quite useful to train workers in particular areas.

In these and other industries, eLearning techniques can target the particular topics that trainees and employees need to absorb. The advantage of working on a platform such as our LMS is that it's extremely flexible and incorporates multiple styles of learning.

In-Person Learning: Sometimes Relevant, But Fading

Just as remote work and flexible hours are replacing the 9-5 schedule at many businesses, online learning is increasingly taking the place of traditional in-person learning. In both cases, however, the traditional model is still relevant. There will always be a need for people to interact in person. Live meetings, training sessions, and social events help to solidify relationships and reinforce information. In a high tech world, not to mention one beset with a challenging health crisis, it's natural that eLearning is becoming the predominant method of training. It's more economical, flexible, and adaptable than traditional learning methods. The challenge for today's businesses is to find the right balance. Book a meeting with an eLearning expert today to talk more! 

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