When someone says the words, “online training”, are you likely to give them a blank stare, or think to yourself, “Sounds boring”? Most of us have at least looked up a video explaining how to do something if we’re stuck – and guess what? That’s a form of online training!
Online training is any sort of education that happens completely on the internet (meaning learners can access the training anytime and anywhere). Most online training programs combine visual and auditory elements to teach the material, so learners can process the information in different ways. For example, if you want to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop, you probably prefer videos where someone is showing you where a certain button is located, and explaining what the button does.
However, a key element of the best online training programs is pacing. Nothing is worse than watching a tutorial, and panicking because you didn’t have enough time to understand the information before the tutorial moves on or finishes.
Online training gives users the ability to pace themselves based on their own learning ability. Do you need a few minutes to study the information before moving on? No problem! Do you already know the information, and don’t want to sit through a bunch of review? Totally fine. Pacing is up to YOU as the learner.
Another aspect of online training is the assessment of your knowledge. Anyone can skip through an hour-long PowerPoint and say they’ve “understood” the material, but online training asks learners to prove their new knowledge through interactive exercises. Don’t worry – they aren’t like boring or difficult tests that you had to take in high school or college. Instead, they’re simple – focusing on what the learner just learned, and often applying their new knowledge to real-life scenarios.
If you’re worried about whether the training is “real” like in-house training is, that’s completely understandable. However, consider the following:
- In-house training assumes everyone has an opening in their schedules at the exact same time, which may have been the case years ago, but isn’t now.
- In-house training also assumes that everyone is punctual, and has a perfect memory to remember the presented material.
- In-house training only moves as fast as the slowest learner in the room. So, if one person has a ton of questions or just doesn’t grasp the content – everyone in the room has to wait for that person to get up to speed. That puts both groups in an awkward spot – on one hand, you have a learner who might be embarrassed that they’re not grasping the material, and on the other, you have lots of bored employees who think their time’s being wasted.
Online training, since it’s stored on the internet, can be taken at any point in someone’s schedule. It can also be accessed over and over again so learners can review the material if they forget something. If you’re a manager, you can set deadlines for your staff to complete the training by a certain date, instead of trying to herd them all into one location at one time. Much less stress!
Some other cool things about online training:
- Course material can be accessed from any device that connects to the internet, whether that’s a smartphone, a desktop computer or laptop, or a tablet. It’s completely up to the learner!
- Even before “going green” was a thing, online training was helping to save the environment. Think about it: with all the material on your screen, there are no handouts or booklets to print and distribute to everyone. There’s less waste, and people are less likely to lose the material since it’s in a safe place!
There’s so many facets to online training, but this should give you a better idea of what someone is actually referring to instead of giving them that blank stare!