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Lifelong Learning Which Is The Best, Online Or Classroom?

Lifelong Learning Which Is The Best, Online Or Classroom?

Most of us know all about classroom learning, don’t we? And I would guess that most people know about online learning these days.

But the question that is often asked is which is best?

The answer is that it depends.

Technology has certainly revolutionised the workplace. These changes have also altered the way that we view and consume education. But, like anything that promises great things, there are also challenges.

The pandemic saw a rapid change from going into work to working from home and onto a more hybrid model.

During this period, Ligtas witnessed a rise in organisations and individuals purchasing online training.

Despite this growth, we know that any kind of learning requires flexible schedules, proper time management and a learning mindset. Plus, putting learning into action and think about where to apply their new knowledge and how to put it into action in the most effective way.

The empowered learner will grow in confidence.

Only people can learn, only people can acquire and put knowledge into action, and only people can make a difference in their working environments if they can take the right course suited to their learning style.

Where do we go from here?

The first thing to remember is that learning can never be stopped. By its very nature, it is a lifelong process for both the individual and the organisation. People love to learn and enjoy applying their learning to practical applications, which provides their organisations with many benefits.

So, which is best? Let’s start with online learning.

Online Learning

Online learning can be more convenient

Often, our working environments can make learning and ongoing personal development challenging.

Especially where employees, by the nature of their jobs, cannot get away from their work to attend on-site or off-site workshops.

The beauty of online learning is that it can be undertaken anywhere and at anytime.

The pace of learning

Online learning allows you to work at your own pace so that you absorb the training in a way that works for you. You can pick up your course when you have time and balance it with family and work life.

Greater Flexibility

One of the big pluses of online learning is that the schedule is flexible. Courses start when you want, and while there is usually a time limit for accredited courses, when you diarise the time properly, you will find that you have more than enough time to complete the course.

Easy access to materials

With online learning, the learners can always (with the internet) access their learning materials. With good time management, the learners can log in and access their learning materials where and when it suits them.

This also means that should a learner find that they need to reference some training to answer a question quickly, the information they need is at hand.

You can practice while you study

Not only can online learners fit their learning around their life and work, but they can also practice new concepts by applying them to their current job. This will help learners to understand the concepts at a deeper level,

Online learning requires discipline

While there is support for online learners, this mode of learning requires a level of discipline. Learners will only get out what they put in, and getting into the habit of scheduling time is a must if a course is to get completed on time.

Anonymity

Some learners hate being in the classroom. They feel more comfortable learning in their own environment.

Learners who are afraid to speak up or share their issues feel braver when they can’t be seen by others.

Affordability

Naturally, online courses are more affordable as the company providing them is not required to set aside classroom space and the students and their organisations do not have to additionally pay for travel and hotel expenses.

Classroom training

More social interaction

While classroom training can seem less convenient, a classroom environment is often more dynamic. This allows for active debates where students can learn a lot from the other attendees’ questions, comments, experiences and observations. This offers a sense of shared learning.

A downside to this is that some learners are too shy to ask questions and will therefore miss out on some of the learning experience.

Dynamic learning experience

Typically in a classroom, the likelihood and technical issues are rare, which means that once the lectures begin, everyone can get fully immersed.

The era when the lecturer talked, and everyone listened while taking copious notes is over.

Today courses offer work-related tasks and projects that have a practical, real-world application and are relevant to the learners’ roles.

This is especially true when you consider a course like the NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety.

Lecturer and learner interaction

A classroom environment can facilitate more interaction. Meaning that it can make the course more engaging, which helps everyone to meet their desired outcomes. Being able to ask questions in real-time is a big benefit, as is getting questions resolved on the spot.

Lecturers can easily see which students are struggling and will pace the course to ensure greater understanding.

The lecturer has the flexibility in how the room is laid out and can put students in breakout groups so that activities run better.

Of course, in an online learning model, interaction is available via live classes, chatrooms, emails and discussion forums.

Practical skills

Practical skills are often better taught in a classroom, where the learners can visibly see what is required and practice with the other learners in a safe space.

Lectures can share best practices more effectively in a classroom setting. Though, of course, this does depend on what is being taught.

Visual feedback

One of the greatest benefits of online learning is immediate feedback. For example, in a classroom, the lecturer can adapt the pace and ensure all learners are engaged by being able to monitor the room visually.

The instructor can observe body language and facial expressions, which means they get immediate feedback and can adjust for greater clarity.

Greater co-operation and teamwork

Classroom training teaches learners to work together and to co-operate with one another, which is essential back in the workplace. It also allows people from the same organisation to get to know each other better, which helps back in the workplace.

Discipline

Learners who struggle with time management and discipline will be better in a classroom environment.

With the best will in the world, online, any time, anywhere, learning will not work if someone is easily distracted and has poor time boundaries. This can result in a negative view of the online training when the learner is at fault.

Face to face could be just what the learner needs.

Some learners struggle with online

Some students find it difficult to retain information given in a digital form and would much prefer classroom training where they can take notes while visually interacting with the lecturer.

Technology

For some people, technology can be a barrier to learning. In this case, learners will be happier in a classroom environment. This means that they are more likely to engage and complete the training.

Which one is better?

There are pros and cons for all modes of learning. An effort is required for both modes of learning. It comes down to a number of things:

How a student learns best

People love to learn in different ways, and forcing a student into a way of learning that does not suit their learning style means that they are unlikely to enjoy the experience and will get less from it.

Time

Online learning can seem more time efficient with its learn anywhere model. However, taking time out might be more beneficial to allow the training to be completed in a shorter timescale. Only the learner and the organisation will know which suits them best.

Budget

If budget is a constraint, online training gives you more for your investment.

Cost

The logical costs associated with classroom courses can mount up. This cost might deter some organisations from forgoing investing in their employee skills. However, while the cost of online courses is lower, your organisation will only benefit from the cost savings if the course is actually taken.

Logistics

Where and when are the first factors, and then what is being taught. Online has an anywhere, anytime model, while classroom training is static and requires more planning.

Having said all of that…

Both delivery methods in the hands of an excellent course facilitator can achieve the same goals. It’s important to establish your training needs and then decide. Do what is right for your organisation, review and refine the model until your employees get the best learning experience and you get a good return on your investment.

Still unsure?

Please call us and let’s discuss what would give your learners the best experience and you a great return on your investment.

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