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On or offline: What’s the best way to train people?

Training People Online Offline

We know that people learn in different ways, you have the kinesthetic learners who learn best with a hands on approach and ‘doing’ the task, the visual learners who prefer to visualise and react best to charts and graphics, the auditory learners who prefer to hear information and the reading/writing learners who react best to text.

But when it comes to training people in the workplace, these principles don’t come into play so much but more the concept of whether to train staff on or offline – i.e. send them away for the day on a course or encourage them to work through an online course over a prolonged period of time.

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to online and offline training, just what works best for you and your business. If you are a manager wishing to improve staff skill and knowledge here are the pros and cons of on and offline training:

Online

Pros:

  • Can be completed in employee’s own time so does not impact on their productivity in the workplace.
  • Cost – Online courses are generally cheaper because there are no course leader wages to pay, no venue fees or food to pay for and put on.
  • Easy to access – online training courses can be conveniently accessed via any computer, all you usually need is a log in and good Wi-Fi. You could undergo a training course in America if you fancied from the comfort of your desk in the UK.
  • Flexibility – You can be flexible while undergoing training, able to complete it at your desk or at home on a laptop. It also means you aren’t restricted to a certain date or time when booking onto a course.
  • Records are accurately managed – No human error can come into play when it comes to results from tests on an online training course, everything is input by you and worked out via tailor made software.

Cons:

  • No ability for those taking part to ask an expert questions and can feel impersonal.
  • People react best to human interaction and teaching, a face to face training course through Salestrong, for example, might inspire people to pick up the phone more and chase more leads than an online course because they can see how to confidently do this in person and replicate it themselves.

Offline

Pros:

  • Face to face training – This means those taking part can ask questions and get involved with discussions.
  • One-to-one opportunities – An offline course allows people to ask direct questions in private once the day is over or during a break, collaring the person in charge to pick their brain.
  • Excellent networking opportunities – Employees from all industries could turn up to a training day, which means they serve as excellent networking opportunities and could even result in leads and future co-working.

Cons:

  • Can disrupt workflow – Taking a day out of the office for a training course can impact productivity and delay projects.
  • Expenses – Offline courses are generally more expensive, lunch is usually provided and a thought leader requires payment. You also need to pay the expenses of reaching the destination the course is being held at, which can result in large train fares or petrol costs.
  • Time restriction – There’s no pause button when it comes to offline training, those taking part must attend at a certain time on a certain day and take everything in within that period. There’s no opportunity to take a break, answer a call or multi task with work.

Choose whatever works best for you and your business, research courses carefully and reap the rewards when staff return invigorated and inspired in their role the next day.

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