The way people prefer to learn workplace skills constantly evolving. From the beginning, workplace training has gone through many evolutions from not many formalized processes before World War 2 to the more formalized processes we have now thanks to instructional design and the processes behind it.
Even with technical training such as software training things have changed a lot. Learning new software used to involve low-fidelity simulations that weren’t like the real thing. Not only that but there was no story or scenarios woven in that made them memorable and easy to learn.
In-person instructor-led training used to be the gold standard for training and then it was virtual instructor-led training. That’s all been changing especially since the pandemic. Now it’s expected that training is virtual at a minimum.
But that’s not even good enough for many because the preference is switching to eLearning and for good reason, especially for technical training. There’s a reason why we don’t even venture into instructor-led training of any type for technical training.
The advantages of converting to eLearning from in-person technical training are manifold. Not only is eLearning cheaper at scale, it allows for a more flexible approach that enables easier access and more opportunities for employees to learn from anywhere.
It’s easier to offer better quality and more consistent training through eLearning than could ever be attained through instructor-led training.
eLearning offers numerous advantages over instructor-led training especially when it comes to technical training which is very process-driven. It’s very helpful when you get to do the process instead of watching someone else show you about it.
By utilizing an LMS (or maybe no LMS at all), companies can not only reduce costs, but they can also provide their employees with a better learning experience.
With eLearning, companies can make training more effective, performance-driven, and packed with value. With careful planning then it will also be more memorable and motivate employees while increasing their knowledge retention.
Plus, eLearning also makes it easier for organizations to track and measure their employee’s progress and if they can perform the process they were supposed to learn.
The Benefits of eLearning For Technical Training Compared to Instructor-Led Training
eLearning has been popular for a while but has only gained in popularity. Why? Because it’s extremely convenient for employees and at scale extremely cheap for companies.
There are tons of other benefits so let’s take a deeper look at some of them and why eLearning is superior to instructor-led training for technical topics and for certain types of technical training is the only option that should be considered.
eLearning is significantly more cost-effective than instructor-led training in most circumstances, especially at scale. No matter if you venture into virtual instructor-led or in-person instructor-led training they’re both expensive even though virtual is less expensive than in-person if everyone is in different locations.
eLearning can be rolled out into an LMS and sent out to hundreds and thousands of employees all at once and can be completed within a day as long as employees have the time. But it doesn’t have to be high pressure like that. You develop the course once and it can be taken over and over with only evaluation and updates being made.
eLearning has a relatively fixed cost since you create the course once and then it can be taken by 1,000 or 100,000 employees. With instructor-led training, companies have to bear the expenses of hiring trainers, renting training facilities, and providing printed materials in most cases.
For virtual instructor-led training, the trainer has to constantly train each group and the groups can only be so big with live streaming to everyone at the same time. eLearning saves a lot of money but also allows for scalability as more employees can be trained without incurring additional expenses.
We were able to save an organization thousands by converting one of their instructor-led classes into eLearning. The result was that it took employees less time, they all got real practice, and it can scale infinitely while incurring few additional costs.
Not to mention it’s a lot more convenient for every employee. Let’s take a look at why.
There’s nothing more convenient (and expected today) than to be able to learn on the job when it’s convenient for you. This type of flexibility is priceless as we’ve seen in the appreciation of at-home or anywhere work. It’s no longer acceptable for employees to always flex around the company’s desires, employees get a voice now too and their voice is asking for eLearning more than instructor-led training.
The modern workplace expects to be able to learn asynchronously of which eLearning is the primary way to accomplish that.
Not everyone of course prefers eLearning but the vast majority. Unlike instructor-led training which requires employees to be present at a specific time and place either online or in person, eLearning allows for self-paced learning. Employees can access the training modules whenever and wherever they want, which is particularly beneficial for those who work remotely or have busy schedules.
The best part is that it doesn’t have to be done all in one sitting as instructor-led training does. You can stop for a few minutes while you grab something to drink or visit the toilet. This flexibility ensures that employees can learn at their own pace without disrupting their work or personal commitments.
In addition to cost-effectiveness and flexibility, eLearning also offers a more personalized learning experience. With instructor-led training, the content is often delivered in a one-size-fits-all approach. However, with eLearning, it can be customized more for each employee including a custom speed.
How do you customize eLearning? A pre-test can be an extremely effective method because you can gauge what an employee knows already and then deliver only what’s relevant to them. Not only that but it’s easier to develop multiple self-paced courses that are specific to each employee’s role.
A good example of this is a set of courses we developed for a new system for keeping time and requesting time off. Field employees had one course to use an iPad, computer, or punch clock while office employees had a course that only covered the computer. There were many specifics for each course that were different for each group so we could personalize that easily with two courses that had some similar content.
This personalized approach not only enhances engagement but also improves knowledge retention as employees receive targeted training that addresses their specific needs.
There’s also the option to have employees test out so they’re not even wasting time learning something they already know.
How well an instructor-led training is ultimately up to the trainer no matter how well the class was designed by an instructional designer. If they’re having a bad day then the session will be a flop.
eLearning ensures that every employee will receive the same content from a quality and quantity standpoint. Of course, it still has to be designed well, or else you risk too much quantity which typically happens more than not enough. That’s why we always start our self-paced course design from nothing.
Tracking instructor-led training pretty much comes down to whether they attended or not and perhaps a survey at the end. But it’s still not easy to track any more than that because once instructor-led training is complete employees are out of there.
With eLearning there are a lot more tools to track how well content was learning including pre and post-testing. If an organization takes advantage of xAPI then there’s a ton of data that can be tracked.
This data-driven approach enables organizations to identify areas where additional support may be needed or make adjustments to improve the overall training experience.
Most of these benefits have been general to eLearning no matter the type. This one is specific to technical training. With a well-crafted eLearning course for software training, the practice can be realistic with simulated computer systems and realistic scenarios.
That’s why custom software training solutions can only be done effectively with eLearning. Instructor-led training only allows trainers to show people what to do and maybe occasionally allows one person to drive part of the process.
eLearning can accommodate realistic scenarios where a system is recreated in the course with a guide that helps them through it. It’s even possible to test them on the real process rather than test questions that are vague parts of a process separated from the rest.
eLearning isn’t just beneficial but the only option that should be considered for software simulations to help employees learn company systems. It’s the only method that can allow for realistic practice and for employees to do rather than passively learn and then likely forget.
Overall, the benefits of eLearning as compared to instructor-led training are clear. It offers cost savings, convenience, personalized learning, and more. By making the switch to eLearning, your company can provide a more efficient and effective training experience for your employees.
Comparing Instructor-Led Technical Training vs. eLearning
When it comes to technical training, there are specific considerations that make eLearning an even more compelling choice compared to instructor-led training.
Instructor-led technical training often requires specialized trainers who are capable of answering questions and knowing the system close to subject matter expert levels. This can be a significant barrier for companies looking to provide comprehensive technical training to their employees.
On the other hand, eLearning only needs one or a few experts on the system who works with an instructional designer to create the course(s). This means that employees can access high-quality technical training without the limitations of geographical boundaries or the availability of trainers. Companies need fewer experts who are also professional trainers which is a difficult blend to achieve without significant costs.
Technical skills are constantly evolving due to advancements in technology. With instructor-led training, it can be challenging to keep up with these changes and ensure that employees receive up-to-date information. Every time an update is made a lot of people have to be retrained.
With eLearning there’s no escaping it will need to be updated with changing technology. but even this process is a bit easier because the instructional designer works with an expert to make those changes once and simply push that update up to an LMS. This ensures that employees receive relevant and current information that is essential for them to excel in their roles.
Technical training often involves hands-on practice and simulations. While this may seem difficult to replicate in an online environment, eLearning platforms have advanced features that allow for interactive learning experiences. With a good process in place, you can make professional and realistic software simulations in rapid development tools such as Captivate and Storyline.
Instructor-led training requires a training environment and everyone either needs their own computer to follow along or they’re watching passively and occasionally maybe one person gets to try out a single step in the process.
Overall, when comparing instructor-led technical training with eLearning, it becomes evident that eLearning offers greater capabilities, up-to-date content, and interactive learning experiences that are crucial for effective technical training.
Factors to Consider Before Making the Change
Before making the switch from instructor-led technical training to eLearning, there are several factors that companies should consider.
It’s essential to assess the readiness of your employees and systems for eLearning. While it’s always nice to have an LMS, it’s not always necessary but not something you should choose lightly.
Some employees may be more comfortable with traditional instructor-led training and may require additional support or training to adapt to an online learning environment. It’s always best to survey your employees first to understand your organization’s overall desires on how they learn. While most employees today desire eLearning, that might not be the case in your company.
Companies should evaluate their existing infrastructure and technology capabilities. Reliable internet access, compatible devices, and user-friendly platforms are essential for successful eLearning implementation. Investing in the necessary infrastructure is essential to help overcome any technological barriers.
Not only that but converting instructor-led training into eLearning isn’t as simple as taking slides from training sessions and converting them to eLearning. They’re very different types of training.
The good news is that working with a good instructional design consultant can help you make that transition effective. Even better news, converting training can lead to shorter content in addition to the already huge cost savings of unlimited scalability.
Good eLearning design accounts for a lot of things including creating performance-based learning rather than information dumps. Establishing clear goals and metrics for evaluating the success of their eLearning initiatives is helpful.
Setting measurable objectives will enable organizations to identify areas for improvement. Regular evaluation and feedback from employees can also help refine eLearning over time.
Understanding the Cost Benefits of eLearning
eLearning offers significant cost benefits compared to instructor-led training. By transitioning to an online learning platform, companies can reduce expenses associated with trainers, travel costs, venue rentals, printed materials, scaling for large numbers of employees, and time wasted.
In addition to direct cost savings, eLearning also reduces indirect costs such as employee downtime during training sessions or travel time. Employees can access training materials at their convenience without disrupting their work schedules or incurring additional expenses related to travel and accommodation.
Another huge cost saving (this is the biggest one) is that eLearning allows for scalability. Traditional instructor-led training often has limitations in terms of the number of participants due to space constraints both in physical space or virtual space for live-streamed sessions.
With eLearning, companies can train a larger number of employees simultaneously with only a cost increase in server utilization which is minimal. This scalability is particularly beneficial for organizations with geographically dispersed teams or those experiencing rapid growth.
eLearning platforms often offer subscription-based pricing models, allowing companies to pay only for the courses. features, and seats they need. This flexibility ensures that organizations can optimize their training budget and allocate resources where they will have the most significant impact.
The cost benefits of eLearning make it an attractive option for companies looking to provide high-quality training while optimizing their training budget.
Tips to Help Ensure a Seamless Transition
Making the switch from instructor-led technical training to eLearning requires careful planning and execution. Here are some tips to help ensure a seamless transition:
- Communicate the benefits: Clearly communicate the advantages of eLearning to your employees. Highlight how it offers flexibility, personalized learning experiences, and less training time compared to traditional instructor-led training. Answer the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me).
- Provide support: Offer resources and support to help employees adapt to the new learning environment. Provide tutorials or workshops on how to navigate the eLearning platform and address any concerns or questions they may have. You can’t jump right into eLearning being the majority of training without managing the change and helping employees make the transition.
- Set expectations: Clearly define expectations regarding participation, completion rates, and performance metrics. Establish guidelines for checking for required training as well as accessing training materials and completing assignments within specified timeframes.
- Foster engagement: Most company changes thrive when leaders are engaged and guide employees through the change. Leadership engagement fosters employee engagement.
- Monitor progress: Have a plan for using analytics provided by the eLearning platform and don’t just let them build up. Identify areas where additional support may be needed and provide timely feedback to ensure continuous improvement. And don’t forget to also ask what employees think of the new system and the training too. Surveys can tell you a lot as long as you don’t overuse them and employees become survey blind.
These tips will help your company ensure a smooth transition from instructor-led technical training to eLearning, maximizing the benefits for both employees and the organization.
The Future of eLearning and Technical Training
The future of technical eLearning looks promising. It’s a perfect blend for delivering effective training to employees that creates value for the organization. As technology continues to advance, so does the potential for innovative learning solutions.
One trend that is gaining traction is the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in eLearning. These technologies offer immersive learning experiences that simulate real-world scenarios, allowing employees to practice their skills in a safe and controlled environment.
For certain types of training, VR and AR have the potential to revolutionize technical training by providing hands-on experiences without the need for physical equipment or specialized facilities. It’s also nice that failure can help employees learn better without causing any damage or expense.
Another emerging trend is microlearning, which involves delivering content in bite-sized modules that are easy to consume and retain. Microlearning allows employees to access information quickly and conveniently, making it ideal for just-in-time learning or on-the-job support. Both eLearning and training videos are perfectly positioned to provide employees with microlearning opportunities.
Microlearning when done right enhances knowledge retention and allows employees to apply what they have learned immediately.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is being integrated into eLearning platforms to allow algorithms to analyze user data such as performance metrics, preferences, and more to deliver customized content recommendations. This adaptive learning approach ensures that each employee receives training suggestions tailored to their individual needs, maximizing engagement and knowledge retention.
The future of eLearning and technical training holds exciting possibilities. The integration of VR/AR, microlearning, and AI will further enhance the effectiveness of online training programs, providing employees with engaging and personalized learning experiences.
That’s all on top of the tremendous benefits that eLearning already provides for technical training topics.
Whatever your reason for having instructor-led training, there are even better reasons why at least for technical training you should consider eLearning. There are numerous benefits to eLearning such s cost, convenience, personalization, consistency, tracking, and for technical training specifically practice.
When comparing instructor-led technical training to eLearning it becomes obvious that eLearning is the only real option. As long as you’ve considered all the factors before you make the change, eLearning will likely be more effective for your organization in the long run.
As with anything, though, eLearning can go wrong also. When you work with a professional instructional designer then you’re likely going to see better results as well as shorter training times. That means less cost and more effective learning for your employees.
We specialize in custom eLearning development for technical training and would love to discuss how we can help your organization realize these benefits and more. Schedule a free consultation with us to discuss your specific goals and how we can help. By making the transition from instructor-led technical training to eLearning your organization will be better aligned to take advantage of digital innovations.