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The difference between face-to-face training and online training

30 September 2018

E-learning has become one of the default ways by which people are trained in the digital age.


But does that mean its the only way to learn?


Online training certainly has its place, but the benefits of face-to-face training remain compelling. In fact, if you haven’t invested in face-to-face training for your business and its employees, you’re missing out.


Today, we’re going to present a few reasons face-to-face training differs positively from its online counterpart.

You can ask questions

But you can ask questions on some online courses, we hear you say! That might be true, but there’s nothing quite like asking a question during a face-to-face training session.


We live in such a rich world of digital communication, but the traditional method of conversing with someone in person enables you to see when you’re actively engaging with them; you’ll know when your question is being listened to and can gauge how well it was understood or if it was misconstrued. As we all know, that’s sometimes incredibly hard to do during a text conversation!

There are brilliant networking opportunities

Once again, it’s perfectly acceptable to network online, but it can often be rather impersonal.


Traditional networking events are still incredibly popular for this reason, and face-to-face training offers some brilliant networking opportunities of its own.


You’ll most likely share your training session with people from all manner of different professions. Some may even reside in your industry, but no matter their role or sector of choice, by taking part in a training session of this kind, you’ll have ample opportunity to get to know them.


Coffee breaks, ice-braking sessions and off-the-cuff chats in the car park before you head home may introduce you to some very useful business contacts.

Engagement is generally higher

With e-learning, you normally end up watching a video stream, be it live or pre-recorded. You’ll also read and interact with material and possibly communicate via online chat.


With face-to-face training the person heading up the session has far more opportunity to engage with trainees. The best trainers do this in such a way that you can’t help but be engaged.


Working the room is a skill, but those who do it best know that face-to-face training takes some beating when it comes to engagement and focus.


Once again, an online chat forum can certainly be used for collaborating with fellow trainees, but it can often feel like you’re simply throwing opinion or questions into the ether.


In a room full of people, discussion is always far more vibrant, engaging and productive. Detailed debates will arise from nowhere and its far easier to interact with them if you’re sat next to each other.

One-to-one time

Every great trainer knows how important it is to occasionally break off from the class and offer one-to-one assistance for those that need it.


This simply can’t happen with e-learning, because most courses are designed to be delivered en-masse and are usually pre-recorded.


In a classroom environment, trainees who need additional assistance or who might be struggling with course content don’t get left out.

Wrapping up

We’ve only scratched the surface above, but if you’ve been debating whether or not to book some face-to-face training (or invest in your ability to do so internally), we’ll hopefully have given you plenty of food for thought!

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