Friday, February 24, 2012

E-Learning or Live Training? Tips On How To Decide

An important part of designing instruction in a corporate setting is determining what format to use- web-based e-learning, or live face-to-face training. I recently asked the Instructional Design and E-Learning Professionals Group on LinkedIn in a discussion forum for best practices and got some great responses. Below is a summary of factors that have been suggest so far, along with my interpretation of how they should be considered:
  • Stability of the material
    • If the materials will likely not change a lot over time, then it might be worth building e-learning because you won't have to constantly change the e-learning.
  • Type of learning (soft skill, technology, etc.) and the objectives of the learning
    • If a person is learning a "soft skill" (like communication skills or something) or a physical skill (like welding) it might be better to have the training be in-person. But if it is a technology skill, it might work to put it as a piece of e-learning. The third option of using a blended approach (using web-based and live components) might also be powerful- using video or multimedia to demonstrate skills or knowledge and then having the participants practice in a live setting. (I have used blended approach for a lot of what I do and it can be very powerful).
  • Available resources
    • If there are few resources available to develop the unit of e-learning, then go with a live training. (This could work the other way, too).
  • Our timeline
    • If there is no time to create a quality unit of e-learning, have it done live.
  • Number of people to be trained
    • If you are training only a few people, it is probably not worth investing resources into developing a unit of e-learning. But if you are training several thousand, it is more likely to be worth the resources.
  • Location of the people
    • If everyone is in the same building, it might be easier to just train them live. If they are spread out throughout the world, creating e-learning is likely more useful.
One of my students also pointed out this very comprehensive breakdown of how to select the appropriate medium for training, prepared by SkillSoft.

I hope these are useful. What else might you add?

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