Face-to-face or e-learning?

If your organisation has an e-learning infrastructure you should consider if you want to deliver training and L&D online, face-to-face or a blend of both. Here we provide some key questions to help decide how the training could be delivered.

Access at work
Make sure you know which staff have desk-top access to the corporate e-learning system – provide online training to those who can’t access it is pointless. Factory-floor workers or in-store staff, for instance, may not have direct access to computers.

Access at home
Make sure homeworkers are able to access any necessary e-learning.

Consider cost
If new content has to be developed and is for a narrow audience, it may be more cost-effective to deliver it face-to-face. If content has very broad appeal, online delivery can offer access to many people at – relatively – low cost per head.

What’s the topic?
Some topics, for example compliance training or IT skills, are ideal for online delivery. Soft skills, such as in store customer relationship and change management and leadership may be better suited to face-to-face training.

Developing content
E-learning providers will have libraries of content on a subject by subject basis. If they don’t have what you want, it may be expensive and time consuming to create it. Weigh up the cost and time of bringing in a specialist trainer against that of creating online content.

People to train
E-learning will always suit some people better than others. While it might suit younger staff, those with shorter attention spans and those with a particularly ordered way of thinking, your senior management may prefer the personal touch.

Course materials
Conventional courses often demand printed materials, which will often end up languishing, unread, on candidates’ desks. While some courses will require documentation, others won’t. E-learning means employees can print what they need, if they need it. They should also be able to store soft copies of course content. As well as the convenience, this will have considerable cost savings.

With e-learning, you won’t be dependent on the availability of trainers or venues. But classroom training is a good way of seeing how staff perform under pressure – it may be a good opportunity to spot potential. And staff often find that conventional training courses a good opportunity to network with peers from across the business – they can also faciliate exchanges of ideas that would not otherwise be possible.


E-learning is covered in greater detail in the E-learning buyers’ guide


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