The traditional method of learning often involves gathering employees in a physical classroom with an instructor present. However, technological advancements in recent years have allowed for the rise of eLearning and interactive Zoom or Teams live virtual training. In this article, we will discuss the differences between eLearning, live virtual, and in-person training, the pros, and cons of each, and how they impact accessibility, engagement, lived experience learning, understanding and more.
So, if you’re in Human Resources, Learning and Development, or EDI positions within your organisation, you may be faced with the decision of choosing between eLearning, virtual, or in-person training for your organisation. Let’s dive deeper into each point for both eLearning, live virtual, and in-person training…
Pros of eLearning:
Flexibility: eLearning provides employees with the flexibility to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule. This is particularly useful for companies looking to train hundreds or thousands of employees at the same time to ensure they all have the same baseline knowledge of a diversity and inclusion topic. eLearning allows employees to access course materials and resources whenever and wherever they want, making it easier to fit learning into their busy schedules.
eLearning eliminates the need for travel, accommodation, and venue expenses associated with live virtual and in-person training, making it a more cost-effective option. This is particularly beneficial for employees who are located far away from the office or training venue.
eLearning courses offer a consistent learning experience, ensuring that all employees receive the same high-quality education, regardless of their location or time zone. This is particularly important for organisations that have a geographically dispersed workforce or need to train a large number of employees.
eLearning courses can be customised to suit individual learning needs, such as providing additional resources, quizzes, or interactive activities. This allows employees to focus on areas where they need more support and skip topics they already know.
Efficiency: eLearning courses can be completed faster than in-person training, as employees can skip topics they already know and focus on areas where they need more support. This is particularly useful for employees who need to learn quickly or have limited time available.
Cons of eLearning:
eLearning removes the ability for greater lived-experience-learning amongst colleagues which is where a lot of pragmatic employee development takes place which live virtual and in-person training offers. This prohibits the active mission of diversity and inclusion such as confidently challenging discrimination, and supporting others as the principles and/or steps cannot be applied through eLearning.
Lack of Interaction
eLearning courses lack the face-to-face interaction that is available in in-person training, making it challenging for employees to ask questions or receive immediate feedback. This can be particularly challenging for employees who need more support or have questions.
Limited Social Interaction
eLearning courses can be isolating, with limited opportunities for employees to interact with peers or instructors. This can be particularly challenging for employees who prefer a more collaborative learning environment or need more social interaction to stay engaged.
eLearning courses require a reliable internet connection and access to a computer or mobile device, which can be a barrier for some employees. Technical issues can also arise during the course, which can disrupt the learning experience.
eLearning requires employees to be self-motivated and disciplined, as there is no external pressure to complete the course. This can be particularly challenging for employees who struggle with motivation or need external accountability to stay on track.
Limited Hands-On Learning
eLearning courses are limited in their ability to provide hands-on learning experiences, which can be a disadvantage for employees who need to practice skills. This is particularly challenging for employees who need to develop practical skills or work with physical materials.
Pros of Live Virtual and In-Person Training:
Lived Experience Learning
Live virtual and in-person training provides employees with an option to inform and educate others in relation to real-life experiences. At Mission Diverse we find that this is one of the biggest benefits to Live virtual and in-person training, as it allows employees to share in a safe space, whilst being supported to work through their thoughts and feelings with the trainer/facilitator at the same time. It also provides greater context for those hearing the experiences of others to create more understanding, empathy, and positive action.
Suitable for smaller teams
Live virtual and in-person training is often conducted in smaller groups in contrast to eLearning as it provides a more tailored and bespoke experience, as such it will go into more detail around a particular diversity and inclusion topic, making it more suitable for training staff teams, departments, management, leadership, and c-suite employees in smaller numbers.
Live virtual and in-person training provides real-time interaction with instructors and peers, allowing for immediate feedback and collaborative learning. This is particularly beneficial for employees who need more support or have questions about the training.
Live virtual and in-person have been found to increase engagement and information retention by up to 42%, with the use of interactive tools such as role play, chat rooms, polling, and breakout rooms. This can help employees stay engaged and focused throughout the training.
Live virtual and in-person can provide employees with the opportunity to practice skills in a simulated environment, providing a more immersive learning experience. This is particularly beneficial for employees who need to develop practical skills and build confidence prior to applying them in the workplace or social setting which eLearning does not offer.
Live virtual and in-person training provides instructors with the opportunity to tailor their teaching methods to suit individual employee needs both prior to and during delivery ensuring the training is bespoke. This is particularly beneficial for employees who have specific learning needs or require additional support.
Cons of In-Person Training:
In-person training will require employees to travel to the office or a specific location, which can be time-consuming. This is particularly challenging for employees who live far away from the training venue.
In-person training requires employees to attend sessions at specific times, which can be challenging for employees who have other commitments or who live in different time zones.
In-person training can be more expensive than eLearning, as it still requires the use of instructors and facilities.
Cons of Live Virtual Training (Zoom and/or Teams):
Live virtual training can be impacted by technical issues such as poor internet connectivity, software or hardware problems, or other technical difficulties. These issues can disrupt the learning experience and impact the quality of the training.
Live virtual learning can be more mentally tiring than traditional classroom learning due to the increased screen time and the difficulty in maintaining focus for extended periods.
Live virtual learning may not be accessible to all employees, particularly those who do not have access to a reliable internet connection or the necessary technology to participate in online classes.
In-person training can be more expensive than eLearning, as it still requires the use of instructors and facilities.
Successfully creating and embedding a diverse and inclusive culture requires careful planning and execution, with a focus on creating a respectful workplace. When looking to train your employees on diversity and inclusion, here are some questions you may ask yourself…
What are the learning goals and objectives of the training programme?
When considering the learning goals and objectives of a training program, it is important to determine the level of understanding that is required across the organisation. If the goal is to provide a baseline understanding of a particular topic or skill, eLearning may be a quick and cost-efficient solution. As it can provide a consistent and standardised learning experience for thousands of employees across different locations, which can be completed at their own pace. It also allows employees to revisit the material as often as needed to reinforce their understanding.
However, eLearning may not provide the same level of engagement and interaction that can be achieved through live virtual or in-person training. For example, lived experience learning, which involves hands-on experience and practical application of the concepts and processes learned to create more confident and comfortable employees, which cannot be obtained through eLearning alone.
In cases where deeper learning and engagement is required, live virtual or in-person training may be a better option. As they both allow for group discussions, role-plays, and other interactive activities that can facilitate a deeper understanding of the material. It also allows employees to learn from each other’s experiences and build relationships with their peers.
While eLearning may be a cost-effective solution for providing a baseline understanding of a topic or skill, it will not provide the same level of engagement and learning as virtual and in-person training. The decision of which mode of training to choose ultimately depends on the specific learning goals and objectives of your organisation.
Who are the employees and what are their needs?
When considering the needs of the employees, it is important to understand the specific goals and objectives of the training program. For example, if the training program is focused on sparking conversations, building confidence to challenge discrimination, or creating a more supportive work environment, live virtual or in-person training is the best option.
Both types of training provide a safe space for employees to openly discuss sensitive topics and engage in professionally facilitated conversation and other activities that allow them to practice addressing real-world situations. This type of training can help build trust and relationships among employees, which will lead to a more supportive and inclusive work environment.
On the other hand, eLearning may be more appropriate for providing a basic understanding of key concepts or skills, such as diversity and inclusion compliance awareness training. eLearning can be completed at the employee’s own pace and allows for consistent delivery of the material across different locations.
Essentially, the mode of training that is best suited to meet the needs of the employees depends on the specific goals and objectives of your organisation. Live virtual and in-person training are more effective for building relationships, sparking conversations, creating a supportive work environment, and creating confident positive action amongst employees. Whereas eLearning is more appropriate for providing a basic understanding of key concepts or skills.
What are the time and budget constraints of the training programme?
When considering the time and budget constraints of a training programme, it is important to weigh the costs and benefits of different training modalities. While live virtual and in-person training will incur a larger cost due to the need for a qualified trainer and facilitator, it will provide greater value for money in terms of facilitated conversation and nuanced understanding of the training material. As this type of training centres the employee and creates real-time discussion and other interactive abilities that allow them to apply the training in a real-life practical way. The presence of a facilitator will also help ensure that all participants have a chance to contribute, as well as ensuring the conversation stays on track.
While eLearning may be cheaper and requires less time for your employees, it provides basic understanding of key concepts, and won’t provide the same level of engagement and interaction that can be achieved through live virtual or in-person training. eLearning may also lack the nuance that can come from facilitated conversations and group activities.
When deciding between live virtual, in-person training and eLearning, it is important to consider the time and budget constraints that your organisation has, as well as the desired outcomes and level of engagement required.
While virtual in-person training may be more expensive, it can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the material and a more engaging learning experience. eLearning may be more cost-effective and time-efficient, but it won’t provide the same level of interaction and nuance as live virtual or in-person training.
What are the technical requirements for each mode of training?
When it comes to technical requirements, both eLearning, virtual and in-person training have their own unique considerations.
For eLearning, employees need access to a computer or mobile device with a reliable internet connection. Depending on the platform being used, employees may also need to download specific software or apps to access the training content. It is also important to ensure that the platform being used is accessible to employees with disabilities, such as those who are visually impaired.
Live Virtual training, on the other hand, requires more technical requirements to ensure a smooth delivery. This includes reliable video conferencing software, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, as well as a high-quality camera and microphone for both the facilitator and the participants. Employees will also need a reliable internet connection and a quiet space to participate in the training without distractions.
For In-person training, the venue for the training should be large enough to accommodate the number of employees, and should be equipped with appropriate furniture (such as chairs and tables) and equipment (such as a projector and screen) to support the training programme. The venue should be accessible to all employees, including those with disabilities, and should have appropriate parking and transportation options.
In addition to technical requirements, it is also important to consider the technical support available for both eLearning and virtual in-person training. For eLearning, employees should have access to technical support to troubleshoot any issues that may arise with the platform or software being used. For virtual and/or in-person training, a technical support team should be available to help troubleshoot any issues with the video conferencing software or other technical difficulties.
Overall, when considering the technical requirements of each mode of training, it is important to ensure that employees have the necessary technology and support to effectively participate in the training. As they all have their own unique technical considerations, and it is important to carefully evaluate these requirements before deciding on a specific training mode.
Both eLearning and virtual in-person training have their advantages and disadvantages. eLearning is flexible, cost-effective, and customizable, but lacks interaction and hands-on learning opportunities. Virtual and in-person training offers real-time interaction, engagement, and hands-on learning opportunities, but is subject to increased cost.
Ultimately, the choice between eLearning and virtual in-person training depends on the employee’s preferences, learning style, and specific learning goals of your organisation.
At Mission Diverse, we understand the importance of creating a culture of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. That’s why we offer a range of training options to meet the needs of your organisation. Whether you’re looking for e-learning, virtual training, or in-person training. Our experienced trainers and facilitators will work with you to develop a customised program that meets your unique needs and goals. And with our no-obligation, free 30-minute consultation, you can get a sense of what we offer without any pressure to commit. So if you’re looking for high-quality diversity and inclusion training, contact us today to learn more at [email protected] or call us on +44 (0)121 663 6110.
We look forward to hearing from you!