The debate on whether to go for online training (e-learning) or to stick to traditional classroom learning has been going on for some time now. Organizations have been under pressure to provide their staff with high quality training but also cost effectively. With internet access at its all-time high, many organizations are considering the concept of moving their staff training online to save both money and time, and improve effectiveness. This article seeks to show that there is not a better time for organizations to migrate to online learning because of the immense benefits it offers.


Cost Effective

Training has traditionally been a very expensive undertaking. Organizations planning to train their staff had to budget for costs such as travel, accommodation, meals, training materials etc. Without these usual training costs online training is able to deliver a high quality training program with a fraction of the traditional training budget. This means you can train more staff regularly thus improving your overall performance.


Minimal Disruption to Operations

One of the key challenges with regard to staff training has been disruption to operations. In today’s fast paced world, it is very expensive to have staff out of their work stations for training. Most organizations simply can’t afford this, and sometimes this makes them choose not to train their staff. With online approach, staff do not need to leave their work for days to be trained. They just need to set aside an hour or two daily, and then continue with their daily work. Research shows that this is more than enough time for staff to learn great content.



Traditional boardroom trainings do not give an opportunity for objective assessment of what has been learned. It is therefore hard to know who has learnt what. In most cases, the participants will be trained for a say a week, and at the end of the training, the facilitator can only hope that they retained the key concepts taught. This is not the case with online training. Advanced online learning management systems like the one used by Vantage Africa School of Leadership have inbuilt assessment systems where staff can assess themselves and revisit areas they did not understand. At the end of every lesson, there is a self-assessment quiz that is automatically marked by the system. Every staff is expected to score 100%, but is allowed an unlimited number of attempts. If they score say 80% in their first attempt, they will revisit the material to see what they missed and then re-attempt the quiz. By the time they are scoring 100%, it is possible to say with a high degree of certainty that learning has taken place.


Peer Learning

The level of peer learning in the online learning approach is more effective than traditional classroom learning. Online learning management systems have an in-built discussion forum where learners post the unique aspects they learnt in each lesson, and how they will apply them in their day to day work. This is visible to all other participants, and they are required to make a thoughtful response to these post. By posting what one has learnt, and responding to what others have posted, participants are able to benefit from each other during the learning process.



Research shows that learning is more effective when it is self-paced. Traditional boardroom training limits training to a time that may not be very convenient for learning. For example, some people find it hard to concentrate in the afternoon, and this may affect how much they learn any material that is taught during this time. However, with the online approach, staff are able to set aside the time when their minds are most active to learn. For example, someone may decide they are likely to learn best very early in the morning, and therefore set aside an hour or so during that time to interact with the learning materials. Others learn better in the evening or weekend. There are those who even decide to learn as they commute to work, or when relaxing on a beach on a Sunday afternoon. Ultimately, it is the individual who chooses when to learn, provided they complete the material within the assigned period. This significantly improves learning effectiveness.


Learner Involvement

During a traditional classroom training, it is not always possible to ensure every participant is fully involved in the learning process. Some learners will wander off and miss out on important points, and it only takes an exceptional facilitator to ensure everyone is participating. Even then, regardless of how exciting a facilitator is, they will still lose some participants at one point or another. The online approach to learning, however, ensures every participant is fully involved in the learning process. This participation is not tied to factors such as time of the day, how exciting the facilitators is, weather etc (all of which affect learner involvement during a traditional classroom training). Each participant is usually given a unique account which will track their learning progress (login credentials are provided). This account will track their performance in the self-assessment quizzes, discussion forums and peer evaluations. It is also possible to tell how long they have logged in into the system, how many times they have attempted the self-assessment quizzes, the comments they have made on the discussion forum etc. Learning is fully personalized.


Learning Culture

To be effective and thrive in today’s competitive environment, organizations must ensure that learning is continuous, rather than an occasional affair. A learning culture should be embedded in every organization. Online learning approach ensures that learning is not something you do for a day or two and then resume your day to day life. Learning is a daily thing, and it is lifelong.



The above points show that online learning is an idea whose time has surely come. Regardless of size or complexity, every organization can now train their staff with minimal disruptions and in a cost effective manner. Most importantly, organizations must seek to embed a learning culture in their staff, as this will guarantee continuous improvement.





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