Dear all,
On one of the WA groups of HRs, Administrator of the groups, Mr Rajaram Thorve, has raised the following topic for discussion:
Does online training deliver more results than class room training?
Is online training time and saving tool being used in the organization under the pretext of automation?
I have given replies to the questions. These are as below:
Dear Mr Rajaram Thorve,
The replies to your questions are as below:
1. The debate about online training Vs classroom training is going on forever. However, please note that irrespective of the type of training, results are important. On this count, no systematic study has been made as to prove that online training gives more ROI than the classroom training.
2. In online training, there is one-time investment on the purchase of the training modules, server etc. This is capital expenditure. However, later operational expenditure is far less. The repetitive use of the resources brings down the operational expenditure. In contrast, in the instructor-led training, the capital expenditure is negligible but operational expenditure is high. Possibly this could be the reason as to why online training is considered as cost-effective. But then is there any HR/Training Manager who has measured Accounting Rate of Return (ARR) or Internal Rate of Return (IRR) for their investment on online training and proved that online training is cost-effective?
3. The classroom training has edge as far as training delivery is concerned. Trainer or faculty uses the various tools of the training like games, case studies etc and it becomes engaging experience. In the group exercises, participants can relate the learning to their workplace challenges and this helps in exploration of the solutions.
4. In contrast, the online training is impersonal. To check the attention of the audience, few tests or exercises are inserted. The benefit of this training is that learners cannot blame the trainer for poor delivery or training skills. There is no feedback at the end of the session as such. Sometimes in classroom training, when other participant asks some question, because of the quality of the question other participants are benefitted as well. This provision is missing in online training as there is no group learning.
5. How to Strike Balance: - Taking benefit of the availability of the modern training methods, company can strike a balance. Not all training can be conducted online and not all the trainings need classroom training.
6. Example of an IT Company: - In the instructor-led training, in many training programmes, lot of time is consumed in teaching the theoretical part. This leaves no room for testing the knowledge absorption. To overcome this challenge, one of the IT companies of Bangalore has struck a balance between both types of trainings. First session is through online training in which complete theoretical training is given. Learners are given tests and once learners acquire the certificates, sometime later an instructor-led training is organised. In this training, trainer tests their knowledge through games, case studies, exercises etc. This method imbibes the learning in the minds of the learners.
7. Technical Training Programmes: - In some training programmes, it is impossible to organise online training. Certain things have to be learnt certain way. For this hiring faculty is unavoidable.
8. Final Comments: - Online training or classroom training or outbound training, ultimate responsibility of the HR/Training managers is to measure the training effectiveness. They need to measure (a) whether any cost was reduced (b) whether consumption resources was reduced (c) whether turnaround time of some process was reduced or (c) some ratio was increased or decreased. Their efforts on this count are not noticeably evident.
Dinesh Divekar
From India, Bangalore

Thanks Dinesh for asking me to contribute to this thread. You have given a detailed response, though the scenario posed lacks details. For example, who is being trained (The level of employees) and in which organisation (The nature of work done)?

Most of my experience is in the academia, although I have done some presentations in a textile organisation on Teamwork for managers. I concur with your observations.
Here is a link to an article on the topic
From United Kingdom
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